Sunday, March 30, 2014

Multiple Teams In The Final Four ... Again?

The 1975 tournament was the first that allowed multiple teams from one conference to qualify for the event.  The very next season, Indiana and Michigan met for the championship ... obviously both were from the Big Ten.

In the 39 tournaments since the tournament expanded like this, there have been multiple teams from one conference in the Final Four 22 times.  Amazing that more than half of the tournaments have had this occur.  Only three times have those teams gone on to play for the National Championship.

This season, the SEC sees Florida and Kentucky in the Final Four and, if both win on Saturday, would face off for the title.  The SEC last sent multiple teams to the Final Four in 1996 and 1994 ... and both years ended with an SEC team winning the title.

Also interesting is the fact that of the 21 previous times a conference sent multiple teams to the Final Four, only 10 times ... less than half ... did that conference end up winning the title.  Last year, Louisville won the title while fellow Big East member Syracuse also made the Final Four.

In 1985, three of the Final Four were made up of teams from the Big East.  With realignment, the 1976 Final Four will be made up of teams from the same conference as Rutgers will join the Big Ten next season.  The 2005 Final Four was made up of two Big Ten teams as well as North Carolina and Louisville.  Louisville will join UNC in the ACC next year.

The same could be said for 2002 (Maryland joins Indiana in the Big Ten), 1998 (Utah is now in the Pac-12 with Stanford), 1983 (Louisville will join NC State in the ACC), 1982 (Louisville, again, with UNC), 1978 (Kentucky and Arkansas are now in the SEC together; Duke and Notre Dame are in the ACC together), 1975 (Louisville and Syracuse in the ACC), 1951 (Kansas State and Oklahoma State are in the Big 12), 1948 (Kansas State and Baylor in the Big 12), 1947 (Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12), 1943 (Georgetown and DePaul in the Big East) and 1942 (Stanford and Colorado in the Pac-12).

In 1972, North Carolina, Florida State and Louisville are now all in the ACC.

Below are the 22 instances of multiple teams from one conference in a Final Four.  Teams in bold were champions that season.

2014:  SEC (Florida, Kentucky)
2013:  Big East (Louisville, Syracuse)
2009:  Big East (UConn, Villanova)
2005:  Big Ten (Illinois, Michigan State)
2004:  ACC (Georgia Tech, Duke)
2003:  Big 12 (Kansas, Texas)
2002:  Big 12 (Kansas, Oklahoma)
2001:  ACC (Duke, Maryland)
2000:  Big Ten (Michigan State, Wisconsin)
1999:  Big Ten (Michigan State, Ohio State)
1996:  SEC (Kentucky, Mississippi State)
1994:  SEC (Arkansas, Florida)
1992:  Big Ten (Michigan, Indiana)
1991:  ACC (Duke, North Carolina)
1990:  ACC (Duke, Georgia Tech)
1989:  Big Ten (Michigan, Illinois)
1988:  Big 8 (Kansas, Oklahoma)
1987:  Big East (Syracuse, Providence)
1985:  Big East (Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's)
1981:  ACC (North Carolina, Virginia)
1980:  Big Ten (Purdue, Iowa)
1976:  Big Ten (Indiana, Michigan)

Same with the realignment issue above, the 2009, 2001 and 1987 Final Fours will now be seen as schools from different conferences.

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