2013 Final Four Review:
After maneuvering through the NCAA Tournament bracket the championship game pit #1 Louisville against #4 Michigan. Michigan hit the Georgia Dome court at full throttle led by point guard Spike Albrecht. The back up guard was on another level hitting four straight from way beyond the arc to give the Wolverines an early 12 point lead. Albrecht's efforts would not go un-tested though as Louisville's Hancock started heating up around the 3 minute mark of the first half. Hancock went on to match Albrecht with four consecutive three-pointers of his own to bring his Cardinals back from a 12-point deficit before the end of the half.
The second half of play would start out to be even more exciting than the first. The lead changed five times in the first five minutes as the two teams went up and down the court matching each others baskets. Louisville took the final lead of the game at the free throw line with 13:50 left in regulation. Michigan was able to get within reach but could never get over the two point hump that led Louisville through the final plays of the game. The Cardinals went on to win their third National Title beating the Wolverines 82-76.
2014 NCAA FINAL FOUR INFO:
Date: April 5th and 7th, 2014
Location: Arlington, Texas
Venue: Dallas Cowboys Stadium
Format: 3 games, divided into 2 sessions. Saturday are the Semifinal games (Session 1), with one game in the late afternoon and one on Saturday night. The two Semifinal winners play on Monday night (Session 2) in the NCAA Final Four Championship Game. You can buy tickets for both Sessions, just Session 1 (Semis) or just Session 2 (Championship).
NCAA FINAL FOUR RECENT GAMES:
- 2013: Louisville Cardinals, Michigan Wolverines, Syracuse Orange, Wichita State Shockers
- 2012: Louisville Cardinals, Kentucky Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, Ohio St Buckeyes
- 2011: VCU Rams, Butler Bulldogs, UConn Huskies, Kentucky Wildcats
- 2010: Duke Blue Devils, Butler Bulldogs, West Virginia Mountaineers, Michigan State Spartans
- 2009: Michigan State Spartans, UConn Huskies, Villanova Wildcats, UNC Tar Heels
- 2008: Kansas Jayhawks, Memphis Tigers, UCLA Bruins, UNC Tar Heels
- 2007: Florida Gators, Ohio St Buckeyes, UCLA Bruins, Georgetown Hoyas
- 2006: Florida Gators, UCLA Bruins, LSU Tigers, George Mason Patriots
- 2005: UNC Tar Heels, Illinois Fighting Illini, Louisville Cardinals, Michigan State Spartans
NCAA FINAL FOUR EXPERIENCE:
Most Final 4 Championships: UCLA Bruins w/ 11 titles.
Most Final 4 Appearances: UCLA Bruins
Most Points (Player) in Final 4: 58 - Bill Bradley (Princeton) in 1965.
Most Rebounds (Player) in Final 4: 27 - Bill Russell (San Fran) in 1956.
Most Assists (Player) in Final 4: 18 - Mark Wade (UNLV) in 1987.
The NCAA Men's Basketball Championship has become so popular in the United States that it earned a month to call its own. "March Madness" has led to countless hours of lost productivity as people around the country fill out their brackets and check scores continuously. The tournament began in 1939 and only featured eight teams. Before 1975, only one team in each conference could reach the big dance after winning their conference tournament, but the tournament gradually expanded over the years to accommodate the rise of new basketball programs.
In its current format, there are now 68 teams, eight of which play in four games that determine the last few seeds dubbed the "First Four." Bids into the tournament are still decided by the winners of conference championships, but "Selection Sunday" has also become a major event as well. This is the time when the selection committee separates the wheat from the chaff to determine which teams will fill the rest of the slots based on strength of schedule, conference and performance in the conference tournament. The surprise contenders and snubs are always conversation starters and add a bit of intrigue and plenty of controversy to an already exciting event.
The tournament culminates in the Final Four, which is one of the most-watched events in American sports. The event is usually held at a larger venue like the Louisiana Superdome or the Georgia Dome and has an atmosphere not unlike the Super Bowl. Over the years, some teams have surprised everyone by making it to the Final Four, like George Mason University in 2006 or Marquette in 2003. However, when looking at the records, the big-time programs are on top, like North Carolina with 25 Final Four wins, Kentucky with 17 and Duke and North Carolina with 16 and 15 wins respectively. These stats reveal just how difficult and how talented a team has to be to make it through.
Over the years, the Final Four has seen the rise of new basketball powerhouses and the demise of others, and there's truly nothing like it on the collegiate or professional level. With a yearly rotation that spans many of the country's biggest sporting arenas, there's a good chance that one of America's biggest sporting events could be coming to a city near you in the near future.
Final Four Preview History