Thursday, March 31, 2016

Multiple Teams In The Final Four ... Yet 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 41 tournaments since the tournament expanded like this, there have been multiple teams from one conference in the Final Four 24 times.  Amazing that much more than half of the tournaments have had this occur.  Only three times have both those teams gone on to play for the National Championship.

This season, the ACC sees North Carolina and Syracuse in the Final Four and, since they face off on Saturday, one will play for the title Monday night.  The ACC last sent multiple teams to the Final Four in 2004, 2001, 1991, 1990 and 1981 ... and two years ended with an ACC team winning the title.

Also interesting is the fact that of the 23 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.  In 2013, Louisville won the title while fellow Big East member Syracuse also made the Final Four.  Both of those schools are now in the ACC.

That is the lone time in the last eight Final Fours where two teams from the same conference made it there that one of those teams won the title.  Pretty amazing.  

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 joined the ACC in 2014. 

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 joins 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.

2016:  ACC (North Carolina, Syracuse)
2015:  Big Ten (Michigan State, Wisconsin)
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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