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NCAA Final Four History - History and Format of the NCAA Basketball Tournament

NCAA Final Four Preview History

2013 Final Four Preview:
The 2013 Final Four is set and has destroyed brackets all over the nation as the #9 Wichita State Shockers lived up to their name joining Louisville, Michigan, and Syracuse as the final teams left in the NCAA Tournament. The last time Michigan was preparing for some final four play came in '93 when they were featuring one of the premier rosters in college basketball with the Fab Five. Louisville entered the tournament as a favorite and remained so maneuvering through a bracket that failed to provide the least bit of competition for the Cardinals. The Orange held up their #4 seeding beating out some of the top teams in the East including Indiana and Marquette in the regional's. Now with a week to rest and prepare the remaining four have arrived at the final stop of the 2013 NCAA Tournament with high hopes of being the last team standing.

Game 1: #1 Louisville Cardinals vs. #9 Wichita State @ 6:09pm
The first game in the 2013 Final Four semi-finals will pit Louisville and Wichita State in the most under predicted finishes of the tournament but with a name like the Shockers should anyone have expected anything less from Wichita State. The #9 seed in the West has already defeated one #1 seed in the tournament and will be looking for their second upset at the Georgia Dome come Saturday. However, Louisville is not your average #1 seed team. Breezing through the Midwest like they were in preseason play the Cardinals have not come across a team they couldn't handle thus far in the tournament and have no intention of letting up in the final four. The Shockers will have to overcome Louisville's high pressure defense and avoid turning the ball over in the process if they plan to take the next leap in the tournament.

Game 2: #4 Michigan vs. #4 Syracuse @ 8:49pm
Game two of the semi-finals in Atlanta will be a game of 4's as the #4 Wolverines try to break through the #4 Syracuse zone defense in their first final four appearance in twenty years. After sending home #1 Kansas in the first tournament game to reach OT Michigan found a rhythm that also overwhelmed the Gators in the regional finals. With a perimeter game that is among the best in the NCAA, Stauskas, Burke and Hardaway Jr. may have just the recipe to devastate the seemingly impenetrable Syracuse zone defense. The Orange were able to shut down some of the East's top scoring teams in the regional's including the #1 Hoosiers. The key to an Orange win will be in their ability to force the Wolverines inside the arc keeping the game in the paint where they have dominated all season long.

2012 Final Four Preview:
There’s no room for Cinderella teams in this year’s Final Four, as basketball powerhouses dominated the NCAA tournament to secure their spots in New Orleans. Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville and Ohio State all clinched a berth in the big dance, and these teams are no strangers to each other.

Kentucky takes on Louisville, a rematch of a 69-62 Wildcat win over the Cardinals earlier this season and Louisville coach Rick Pitino would like nothing more than to beat his old squad on the way to a National Championship. The Cardinals beat No. 1 seed Michigan State in the Sweet 16 and Florida in the Elite 8 while Kentucky bulldozed its way through Indiana and Baylor to set up the rematch. The Wildcats have won every game by double digits and is the favorite to win it all, so Louisville will have its hands full.

On the other side of the bracket sits a matchup of two No. 2 seeds in the Jayhawks and Buckeyes, who also faced off earlier in the season with Kansas coming out on top 78-67. Ohio State was missing its 6’9 star Jared Sullinger, who was dealing with back spasms and will be a different team this time around. Ohio State took care of Cincinnati in the Sweet Sixteen before knocking out No. 1 seed Syracuse in the Elite 8, with Kansas beating down perennial powerhouse North Carolina by 13 to qualify for the battle in the Big Easy.

3/31: #4 Lousiville vs #1 Kentucky at 5:09pm
3/31: #2 Kansas vs #2 Ohio State at 7:49pm

4/2: #2 Kansas vs #1 Kentucky at 8:23pm

2011 Final Four Results:
Butler defeats VCU in a battle of Cinderella teams to move on to the championship game. UConn ends Kentucky's championship hopes, setting up the the championship game which ends with a 53–41 UConn victory over Butler.

2011 Final Four Previews: VCU Rams vs. Butler Bulldogs; Connecticut Huskies vs. Kentucky Wildcats
This year’s edition of college basketball’s biggest stage comes in two flavors: Underdog and Legacy. On one side of the bracket you have the awe-inspiring Virginia Commonwealth University Rams, who were widely scoffed at by TV analysts when they were included in the tournament and made a run from the First Four set of games to the Final Four (at 820-1 odds). They beat Purdue by 18 and knocked off the Southwest 1 seed Kansas by ten in what many are calling the biggest upset in tournament history.

Not as improbable, but as amazing, is their competition Saturday night in the Butler Bulldogs. Last year’s Cinderella team came within a few inches of an upset of Duke in the 2010  championship game. Most thought they would make it back to the tournament, but few envisioned a return to the Final Four. Other than the ’90-’91 UNLV Running Rebels, no other mid-major school has gone to back-to-back championship semi-finals. If there’s anything wrong with this match-up, it’s this: the seeding didn’t allow for these teams to take on the teams from the other side of the bracket. Instead, we will see at least one team in the Championship game that will be an underdog to a team that will surely be favored, but not by much.

That’s because the other teams are legacies: Connecticut and Kentucky have nine titles between them and are always in the conversation when talking about who’s going to the Final Four. Except this time, they didn’t do it as a number one or two seed, but as a four (Kentucky) and three (Connecticut). That has meant more of a struggle for the teams to get to Houston, especially on the Kentucky side where they had to knock off the number one overall seed in Ohio State and North Carolina over two days.

Connecticut’s Kemba Walker has carried his team through nine wins in 18 days, a feat that saw them win the Big East tournament and carry that momentum into Houston. As Jim Calhoun goes for his third title as Connecticut head coach, you can imagine a Huskies win will allow the players, coaches, school and entire state to finally breathe a sigh of relief.

The 2010 Men's NCAA Final Four will be played April 3rd & 5th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 2010 Final Four will be the first Final Four held at Lucas Oil Stadium, but the 5th time the city of Indianapolis has hosted the college basketball championship. Indy's RCA Dome hosted Final Four's in 1991, 1997, 2000 and 2006 - and the Final Four will return to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2015. So Indianapolis has a rich history as host city of the NCAA Final Four, which should help to make the 2010 Final Four even more special. The 2010 NCAA Final Four will match up the 4 winners of the 2010 NCAA Tournament Regional Finals: East, Midwest, South & West. The 4 teams that advance to the Final Four will play for the right to be crowned as champions of college basketball in 2010. The two national semifinal games (i.e.- Session 1) will be played on Saturday, April 3rd in the afternoon and evening. The 2010 Final Four Championship Game will be played on Monday night.

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