Dear Cinderellas and Johnny Come Latelys, not this year!
The four teams with reservations in the 2012 Final Four are not strangers to this time of the year. The teams have combined for 49 Final Fours. Kentucky’s 15 trips is tied for 2nd most with Duke, Kansas is one behind with 14, Ohio State is next on the list with 11, and Louisville follows the Buckeyes with 9.
Kentucky has made a Final Four in every decade except the 00′s, beginning in the 40′s. They are the winningest program in total wins, most tournament appearances, and most tournament victories. It’s 7 National Championships is second only to UCLA. Wildcats are making consecutive appearances in the FInal Four for the third time in school history (48-49, 96-98).
Kansas not only sits with the 3rd highest total of Final Fours but also has the longest active streak for NCAA Tournament appearances with 23. The Jayhawks only trail Kentucky in overall wins and rank 5th in all-time tournament victories with 91, including 3 titles. KU has only missed a Final Four in one decade, the 60′s since 1940. This is the schools fourth appearance since 2000.
Ohio State has had a less storied past than the previous schools, but still carry a long tradition. The Buckeyes total of 11 Final Fours include two sets of three peats (44-46 and 60-62). Their 51 tournament victories is the 10th highest total. The school has made a Final Four in every decade except the 80′s, including most recently in 2007.
The Cardinals of Louisville have only 6 teams ahead of them in most Final Fours with 9. The school is 6th with 64 tournament wins victories and ranks 5th with 38 tournament appearances. UL has the 9th highest winning percentage in all-time games. The team has 2 NCAA Tournament Championships in ’80 and ’86. This is the Cards first appearance in the Final Four since 2005.
The coaches are no different. This is Rick Pitino’s 6 Final Four as a coach, which ties him with the Adolph Rupp and Denny Crum! John Calipari makes his 4th appearance as a head coach. This will be Thad Matta’s and Bill Self’s second appearance.
This Final Four may have the blood of college basketball royalty but it never takes away from the excitement and emotions of one of the most exciting times in the sports world.