Alcorn State made history in the early 1980s when it won the first-ever opening round game in NCAA tournament history. Since then, HBCUs have played in 25 out of the 34 opening round or First Four games (74 percent). From 2001-2010, an opening round, play-in game was added to the men's March Madness bracket. HBCUs played in nine of the 10 games, finishing with a 1-7 record. The First Four began in 2011. HBCU have played as the No. 16 seed in the First Four games 15 out of the 24 possible games (63 percent).
Now, let's dive in to the past performance of the HBCU programs during the First Four and opening rounds.
Texas Southern has the most First Four and opening-round appearances of any HBCU men's basketball program, winning three of its six games. The Tigers last appeared in a First Four game in 2023 and last won a First Four game in 2022.
Here's a look at the appearance of HBCUs in the First Four and opening round.
|# of Appearances||HBCU|
|3||North Carolina Central, Alcorn State|
|2||Hampton, Florida A&M, Alabama State|
|1||Southern, Prairie View A&M, North Carolina A&T,
Norfolk State, Mississippi Valley State,
Coppin State, Alabama A&M
Here's a look at the records of HBCUs, by school, in the First Four or opening rounds.
|School||Record||Win %||Last APP|
|Mississippi Valley State||0-1||.000||2012|
|North Carolina A&T||1-0||1.000||2013|
|North Carolina Central||0-3||.000||2019|
|Prairie View A&M||0-1||.000||2019|
Alcorn State won two of its games during the first two years of the opening round's addition to the men's NCAA tournament in 1983-1984. When the opening round returned from 2001-2010, HBCUs went 1-7 in opening-round games, with Florida A&M's 2004 win standing as the lone victory. HBCUs are 6-8 in First Four games since the round was added in 2011.
|First Four||2013||North Carolina A&T|
Here are the results from every First Four and opening round game from an HBCU men's basketball program.
|2023||Texas Southern||No. 16||FDU||L||84-61|
|2022||Texas Southern||No. 16||Texas A&M–Corpus Christi||W||76-67|
|2021||Norfolk State||No. 16||Appalachian State||W||54–53|
|Texas Southern||No. 16||Mount St. Mary's||W||60–52|
|2019||Prairie View A&M||No. 16||Fairleigh Dickinson||L||82–76|
|North Carolina Central||No. 16||North Dakota State||L||78–74|
|2018||Texas Southern||No. 16||North Carolina Central||W||64–46|
|North Carolina Central||No. 16||Texas Southern||L||64–46|
|2017||North Carolina Central||No. 16||UC Davis||L||67–63|
|2016||Southern||No. 16||Holy Cross||L||59–55|
|2014||Texas Southern||No. 16||Cal Poly||L||81–69|
|2013||North Carolina A&T||No. 16||Liberty||W||73–72|
|2012||Mississippi Valley State||No. 16||Western Kentucky||L||59–58|
|2011||Alabama State||No. 16||UTSA||L||70–61|
|2009||Alabama State||No. 16||Morehead State||L||58–43|
|2008||Coppin State||No. 16||Mount St. Mary's||L||69–60|
|2007||Florida A&M||No. 16||Niagara||L||77–69|
|2005||Alabama A&M||No. 16||Oakland||L||79–69|
|2004||Florida A&M||No. 16||Lehigh||W||72–57|
|2003||Texas Southern||No. 16||UNC Asheville||L||
|2002||Alcorn State||No. 16||Siena||L||81–77|
|1984||Alcorn State||No. 12||Houston Baptist||W||79-60|
|1983||Alcorn State||No. 12||Xavier||W||81-75|
Arkansas-Pine Bluff's 2010 season was vacated for NCAA violations