The first four in basketball is a strategy that had been devised by the committee to solve the dilemma of having 6 teams in the 16th seed line, yet having only four number 16 seed spots available for the First Round.
Held on the Tuesday and Wednesday following Selection Sunday, the First Four involves the four lowest nationally-ranked at-large teams (65, 66, 67 and 68) and the four lowest-ranked automatic-bid teams.
The four lowest nationally-ranked at-large teams will compete for two available number 16 seed spots. Teams 65 and 66 will play one game, and teams 67 and 68 will play another, and the winner of each match will earn a spot in the First Round.
The four lowest-ranked automatic-bid teams will typically compete for two available number 11 seed spots. The lowest-ranked automatic-bid team will face off against the second-lowest automatic-bid team, and the third-lowest will compete against the fourth-lowest team. The winner of each game will then advance onto the First Round.