2022 Final Four

CBS Sports writer David Cobb makes the case that this is the bluest blue-blood Final Four in the history of the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament.  This year’s group of four teams has combined for 17 championships.  North Carolina has 6, Duke 5, Villanova 3, and Kansas 3.  Cobb’s selection of the #2 blue-blood semifinals is the 1975 Final Four, featuring four teams (UCLA, Kentucky, Louisville, Syracuse) that now boast 23 total championships.  However, in 1975 those programs still only had 14, with ten of those owned by UCLA, and four by Kentucky.  The article’s #3 selection is 1993, featuring 11 championships at the time of the tournament.  The #4 selection is 1991, featuring 6 championships.  The teams in the 2022 tournament have had more years to pile up the titles, but these are certainly four very well-decorated programs over the 83 years of the tournament.

In terms of Final Four appearances, this field claims a gaudy number of visits: North Carolina 21, Duke 17, Kansas 16, Villanova 7.

As for the actual game matchups, Villanova and Kansas have opposed each other three times in the NCAA Tournament.  Villanova holds a two games to one edge, with the last meeting coming in the 2018 Final Four.  Atlantic Coast Conference rivals North Carolina and Duke have never clashed in the NCAA Tournament, which seems surprisingly improbable given that UNC has 52 tourney appearances and Duke has 44.

In Villanova’s (2-seed) Elite Eight victory over Houston (5-seed), the Wildcats overcame one of the weirdest seed-versus-seed record anomalies of the tournament.  Number 2 seeds were previously 1-5 against 5 seeds, with the only victory coming in a 48-team 1980 tourney field when Louisville downed Iowa in the Final Four.  Houston defeated Villanova in their previous Elite Eight collision when the 1983 “Phi Slama Jama” Cougars were in the midst of three straight Final Four trips.

Saint Peter’s (15-seed) victory over Kentucky (2-seed) was the tenth time a 15 has advanced to the second round.  The Peacocks win over Murray State (7-seed) in the Round of 32 improved the record of 15s versus 7s to 3-2.  When 15s encounter the 10 seed in the second round, they are 0-5.  Saint Peter’s was the first 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight.  Never has a 13, 14, or 16 seed experienced the final eight.

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