NCAA Tournament: Final Four Storylines
Just to put it all on the table, here’s what we’re looking at this weekend.
- The four teams combine for almost 6,900 wins, over 300 Tournament wins, 17 national titles and 51 Final Fours.
- Roy Williams will be coaching against his former team, Kansas, where he never won a national title, but made four Final Fours.
- You can make the argument that there are 19 potential NBA players playing amongst the four teams involved.
- You want a list? Okay: Kansas — Rush, Chalmers, Sasha Kahn, Darnell Jackson, Darrell Arthur; Memphis — CD-R, Joey Dorsey, Rose; UNC — Wayne Ellington, Hansbrough, Danny Green, Lawson; UCLA — Darren Collison, Josh Shipp, Love, Luc Richard Mbah Moute, Russell Westbrook
- Memphis and UCLA will be meeting for the second time in three years in The Tournament. UCLA defeated the Tigers 50-45 in the 2006 Elite Eight.
- Memphis State (the same school) and UCLA met in the title game 35 years ago, when Bill Walton scored 44 points and only missed one shot in the process. The random twist: dunking was against the rules in ‘73.
- Bill Self is coaching in his first Final Four against his predecessor, Williams. Most coaches who get there for the first time do not win it that same year. The last one: Jim Calhoun in 1999.
- John Calipari is in his second Final Four, but his first with Memphis. His UMass team fell to Kentucky in 1996.
- If UNC and UCLA meet in the final, it will be third time in Tournament history that the historic schools will have met. The Bruins defeated Carolina 78-55 in the 1968 title game.
- Every single team has a competent, Top-10-in-the-nation point guard running its offense.
- Memphis is the only team missing an inspirational white guy in its lineup.
- It’s the first time since the field expanded in 1985 that all four No. 1 seeds are playing the final three games of the season.
- UCLA is making its third consecutive trip to the Final Four. If they don’t win the national title, they will be the first school since Houston in ‘82-’84 to not win in three tries.
- With a win over UCLA, Memphis will have 38, making them the winningiest school in single-season history.
- UCLA (17), North Carolina (16) and Kansas (12) are three of the five most frequent visitors to the Final Four.
- Three of the four teams (Kansas excluded) have a player that is represented on the AP All-American team.
- The four teams are a combined 143-9 this season. The second-best field was in ‘98, when Kentucky, Utah, Stanford and UNC were 126-14.
- Best of all, this could be Billy Packer’s last Final Four broadcast.
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