NCAA Tournament 2011: 30 Quick, Interesting Facts About the Final Four Teams

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIMarch 29, 2011

NCAA Tournament 2011: 30 Quick, Interesting Facts About the Final Four Teams

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The teams that made the Final Four in the 2011 NCAA tournament have produced quite a few historical coaches, players, performances, etc.

    With so much history going on, I thought it would be nice to list 30 quick, interesting and historical facts about this year's Final Four.

    Whether you use these just for your own knowledge or to impress your friends, it doesn't matter. But these 30 facts are all interesting enough to know.

    I would just like to remind you that with 30 facts, I am only writing a quick blurb about each, even though I could talk about these for hours.  These are all important and I would rather have them all be read than have about five be read in depth.

    Also, please bear in mind that these are not listed in any order.

    With that, here are 30 of the most interesting facts about the 2011 Final Four. Enjoy.

Kemba Walker Is the Third Player to Average 25-5-5 in a Single NCAA Tournament

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    While it’s very impressive, we need to keep in mind that the NCAA only started keeping track of assists in 1983…just something to keep in mind.

Butler Has Beaten a No. 1 Seed and a No. 2 Seed in Two Straight Years

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Last year it was No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Kansas State. This year it was No. 1 Pittsburgh and No. 2 Florida.  Butler has proven that seedings and conferences do not factor into how the games are played.

Calipari Has Taken His Third Team to the Final Four

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    John Calipari has taken Massachusetts in 1996, Memphis in 2008 and Kentucky in 2011.  Kentucky is the only one not to have any disputes over recruiting, cheating, etc.  Hopefully he has learned the right way to do things…

Butler Is the Only Team Returning to the Final Four

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Butler and Kentucky were the only ones returning to the Elite Eight, and they both advanced.  Butler is back after a loss in the title game against Duke, and the Bulldogs are seeking revenge.

VCU Is the First Play-in Team to Win in the Round of 32, Sweet 16, Elite 8

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    This year, there were four play-in games, and No. 11 VCU beat USC to get into the field of 64.  Then the Rams beat No. 6 Georgetown, No. 3 Purdue, No. 10 Florida State and No. 1 Kansas to make it this far.  I’d say that’s pretty good history for the Rams.

Shaka Smart Is the First Coach to Start 4-0 in the Tourney for over Two Decades

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Bill Guthridge of UNC was the last one to do it, and it was in 1989!  With a last name like Smart, we figured he’d be good, but not this good!

VCU Is First No. 11 Seed to Reach Final Four Since George Mason in 2006

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    George Mason had arguably the best Cinderella story in history, and the Patriots did not even have a play-in game like VCU.  The Rams look to be the greatest Cinderella ever, but they aren’t done.  VCU has a legitimate shot at winning the national championship.

VCU Is the Third No. 11 Seed to Reach the Final Four

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    VCU joins the 2006 George Mason and 1986 LSU teams as the third to reach the Final Four as an 11th-seeded team.  I’d say that’s pretty darn impressive, wouldn’t you?

No Team Has Won the Tourney After an Overtime Game in the Elite Eight Since 1997

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Arizona was the last team to do it, but the last seven teams could not get it done in the Final Four. That is bad news for Butler, but hey, the Bulldogs have never listened to history before have they?

Brad Stevens Is the Youngest Coach to Reach Two Final Fours Before the Age of 35

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Stevens is the fastest by days, but three others did it before the age of 36, and they all went on to be pretty successful.  Bob Knight did it, and he reached a total of five Final Fours, along with Forddy Anderson and Harry Combes, who reached three each.  Look for more success from Stevens’ in the future.

This Is Only UConn’s 4th Final Four Appearance

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Surprisingly enough, the Huskies have come out of the West all four times.  The other three times the Huskies made it this far, they were led by notable guards, including Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon.  Walker is doing better than both of those guys, and we’ll keep an eye on him for the rest of the tournament, and then in his time in the NBA.

Butler Is the 10th Team in History to Win 3 Tournament Games by 3 Points or Less

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Considering this is the 73rd NCAA tournament, I’d say that’s pretty impressive.

UConn Is 12-0 in Tournament Games This Season

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The Huskies were 3-0 in Maui Invitational tournament, 5-0 in Big East conference tournament, and they are 4-0 in the NCAA tournament.  UConn steps it up when the season is on the line, and the Huskies have a good shot at winning the tournament.

Butler Is 9-1 in Last 10 Tournament Games

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Butler's last nine tournament wins were by a combined 30 points, and the largest margin was seven points.  Butler keeps it close, and appears to win all the time, but the one loss came in the championship against Duke.  Could the Bulldogs suffer the same fate this year?

Butler Is the First Mid-Major to Make It to Two Straight Finals Fours Since UNLV

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    UNLV completed the feat in 1990-91, but UNLV was a powerhouse, and Butler was never a favorite to reach the Final Four.  The magnitude of the accomplishment is magnified by the fact that the Bulldogs were a No. 5 seed and a No. 8 seed.

Walker and Lamb Have Scored 70 Percent of UConn’s Points in the Last Three Games

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    Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

    These two guys are absolute monsters, but 70 percent is utterly insane.  The duo is arguably the best left in the tournament, and they were one of the best from the beginning, but UConn will need someone else to step up to beat Kentucky.

It Is the First Time That There Is Not a No. 1 or No. 2 Seed in the Final Four

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    While it is only the third time zero No. 1 seeds have reached the Final Four, there has always been a No. 2 seed.  There is only one No. 3 seed and only one No. 4 seed in the Final Four, and the seeds seem to mean nothing to anyone in the tournament.

No. 11 VCU and No. 8 Butler Have the Highest Combined Seed for a Final Four Game

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    A combined total of 19 is pretty darn high, and this record could be untouchable.  Enough said.

VCU’s High for Three-Pointers in a Game Is 12 This Season, Done Three Times

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    VCU has dazzled us in the NCAA tournament with their long-range shots, and every single one of their games with 12 three-pointers was in the NCAA tournament.  Shaka Smart has got his guys firing on all cylinders, and at just the right time.

No. 4 Kentucky Is the Current Favorite to Win the Tournament

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Kentucky, a No. 4 seed, is the current favorite despite being a lower seed than No. 3 Connecticut.  This Final Four matchup may decide the tournament, but we absolutely cannot say that VCU or Butler won’t steal it away.

VCU Went from 175-1 Odds to Win the Tournament to 13-2

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    VCU getting into the tournament was heavily disputed, but the Rams have proved their worth. 

    Just to put their old odds into perspective, if you bet $1,000 on every team in the tournament (from the field of 68), you would have a net gain of $107,000 if the Rams win it all. 

    I’m not saying that they are going to, but hey, I can still dream.  VCU is given some respect, although they do not have 4-1 odds, which are the odds without weighting.

Kentucky Passed Kansas on Final Four Lists with 14 for the 4th Most in History

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    With the Wildcats beating UNC and Kansas falling to VCU, Kentucky passed Kansas for fourth.  If you make it to 14 Final Fours, you are doing something.

Only One No. 8 Seed Has Ever Reached the Championship Game

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The only one to do it was Villanova in 1985, but that record will either be tied or broken on Saturday.  No. 8 Butler and No. 11 VCU have already guaranteed a tie of the record, but VCU wants to break it by winning a historic game.

VCU Is the First Play-in Team to Win in the Round of 64

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Before 2011, play-in games were reserved solely for two No. 16 seeds that played for a chance to play a No. 1 seed.  Since a No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed, a play-in team never won two games in the NCAA tournament.  In the first year when they changed it to four play-in games, one won in the Round of 64.

Calipari Could Become the Fifth Kentucky Coach to Win a National Title

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Calipari could join Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith if he wins the championship, but he’ll have to beat a fierce UConn team, and then either Butler or VCU.

Butler Has Won More Games in the NCAA Tournament Than 8 Top 10 Teams Combined

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Pitt, Missouri, Nova, Georgetown, New Mexico, Texas, Texas A&M and Notre Dame combined have not surpassed the mid-major Butler in tournament wins over the last two seasons.  Butler is still going strong  and could add a few more teams to this list if it keeps winning.

Butler Has the Most Wins Against Top 5 Seeds over the Last 5 Years

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Butler is a true Cinderella story, and the Bulldogs have beaten the best of the best in the NCAA tournament.  UConn is tied for third in that category, and the Huskies could be alone in third with a win over No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday.

Kentucky, Butler and UConn Won Their Conference Tournaments

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Three of the Final Four teams won their conference titles.

5th Consecutive Year with a Repeat Team in the Final Four

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Butler Bulldogs have made it the fifth-straight year that a team has made it to the Final Four in consecutive seasons, coming back from a heart-breaking loss against Duke in the championship game and the loss of Gordon Hayward to the NBA.  The streak looks like it could be in jeopardy next season, however, with two mid-majors in the Final Four, and the other two losing big talent, but that’s another time.

VCU Held Kansas to 4-for-30 Shooting Outside the Paint

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Kansas was leading the nation in field-goal percentage at over 54 percent, but the Jayhawks were held to incredibly poor shooting outside of the paint against the Rams.  VCU’s exterior defense is great, and Butler could be in trouble if the Bulldogs don’t shoot well from outside.