Expect the Unexpected When the Final Four is in Indianapolis
With Indianapolis getting set to host its sixth Final Four, another unusual quad descends on the Circle City. Every year the Final Four has been in Indianapolis, something memorable or out of the ordinary has occurred. This is the first one that will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Butler, making its first appearance, is the first team since 1972 to play in a Final Four in its home city. The Bulldogs and MSU make it only the second time ever that two teams seeded fifth or lower advanced to the Final Four.
Keeping with the unexpected theme, the only other time was when both Wisconsin and North Carolina made the Final Four as eighth seeds.
West Virginia is making its first Final Four appearance since 1959. That team was led by Jerry "The Logo" West.
Duke's Final Four appearance ends their longest drought under Mike Krzyzewski since he made his first trip to College Basketball's promise land in 1986. This is Duke's first trip since 2004.
Here are a few other unexpected but historic nights.
Louisville and Dr. Dunkenstein Capture first title-1980
The 1980 Final Four was staged in Nap town. It was also the first time that no number one seed reached the Final Four. Number one seed DePaul lost to UCLA in the West Region's second round, Syracuse and Kentucky lost in the Sweet 16 and LSU in the Elite Eight.
After many years of getting close, Denny Crum and number two seed Louisville captured its first title over number eight seed UCLA. Six seeded Purdue and Fifth seeded Iowa were the other teams that made it to Indy.
Duke Unseats UNLV and Dean Smith Gets Ejected-1991
The talk of the 1991 season was whether or not anyone could beat UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels returned the majority of their 1990 National Championship team. In the 1990 National Championship game, UNLV defeated Duke 101-71. That was the largest margin in Championship game history.
Duke returned superstars Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner and added another in freshman Grant Hill. The Blue Devils were a double digit underdog and behind Laettner's 28 points and two free throws with 11 seconds remaining, Duke pulled a monumental 79-77 upset. Duke's win ended UNLV's 45 game winning streak.
They went on to defeat Kansas 72-65 to gain Duke and Mike Krzyzewski win their first National Championship.
Kansas had defeated North Carolina in the other semifinal to ruin the dream tobacco road Championship game. In keeping with the weirdness in Indy, the usually mild mannered Dean Smith was ejected in the semifinal with 35 seconds remaining.
The 1997 Final Four was unusual for being only the second Final Four ever to have three number one seeds (the other one was in 1993). Arizona was the only school to crash the top seeded party. Minnesota, North Carolina and Kentucky were all the Kings of their region that advanced to Naptown.
Arizona knocked out overwhelming favorite Kansas in the Sweet 16. Arizona then defeated North Carolina in the semifinal in the game that wound up being Dean Smith's final game as a collegiate Head Coach.
The Championship game was a Cat fight between defending National Champion Kentucky and the precociousness of Arizona. Behind the F4 Most Outstanding Player Miles Simon and his 30 points, Lute Olson and Arizona capture their first ever national championship. Arizona became the first team to defeat three number one seeds in the same tournament.
Flintstones, meet the Flintstones-2000
Michigan State was led by three starters from Flint, Michigan on their 2000 National Championship team. Point Guard Mateen Cleaves was an outstanding player, Charlie Bell joined Cleaves in the backourt and Morris Peterson was Tom Izzo's leading scorer. Cleaves and Bell were the second leading scorers.
The 2000 Final Four was noteworthy as the highest seeded Final Four ever. Joining top seeded MSU was fifth seeded Florida and eight seeds North Carolina and Wisconsin. It was also the first time that two seeds lower than a five reached college basketball's pinnacle. UNC and Wisconsin became only the second and third number eight seeds to reach a Final Four.
By George...It Must be the Gators-2006
The 2006 Final Four will be remembered as the first of Florida's back to back National Championships and George Mason's improbable run to the National Championship.
Florida began the 2005-06 season 17-0 behind one of the best recruiting classes in the history of College Basketball. After losing six of eleven in the middle of the season, the Gators closed with a two game winning streak followed by winning the SEC Tournament Championship and the run through the NCAA to its first title.
George Mason might be the most improbably Final Four team ever. The Patriots began the NCAA Tournament without starting guard Tony Skinn. They defeated NCAA giants Michigan State, North Carolina, fellow Cinderella Wichita State and loaded UConn to advance to Indy. UConn's 2006 team had six players picked in the NBA draft, the most ever.
UCLA and LSU were the other two teams to make it to Indianapolis. The Bruins were appearing in their first Final Four since 1995 and LSU pulled off their own upset over top seeded Duke in the Sweet 16.
The 2006 Final Four was only the second without a number one seed. Of course, the other one was in Indianapolis as well.
Can the Butler do It? Will I belong WVA? Will Dukie or Sparty Party?
2010 marks the sixth time the Final Four has ventured into the NCAA's hometown. In keeping with the themes of the previous five, the unexpected has happened. Butler is in their first Final Four. Their advancement is the first time since 1992 that a team will be playing the Final Four in their hometown. With fellow five seed Michigan State making their way to Indy, it's the first time since 2000 that two teams seeded fifth or lower have made the Final Four.