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Barry Jacobs On Reading Seeds

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Talk leading into this weekend's Final Four concerns a main event and an undercard.

Kentucky-Louisville is the big attraction. The Wildcats, the only No. 1 seed still standing, are the clear favorites in the latest installment of a bitter in-state rivalry. By contrast, the meeting between Ohio State and Kansas, both second seeds, has garnered far less attention.

Given that UK is brimming with NBA talent, and top-ranked in the polls, John Calipari's team is expected to be crowned champion.

The storyline reminds us a bit of 1983.

That year the big game matched Houston and Louisville. The Cougars, aka "Phi Slamma Jamma", topped the polls. Guy Lewis' club boasted future NBA stars Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Louisville, another No. 1 seed nicknamed the "Doctors of Dunk," stood second in the rankings.

Denny Crum's Cardinals, with Rodney and Scooter McCray and Milt Wagner, had advanced by beating Kentucky in overtime in the Mideast Regional final. That was the first meeting between Louisville and UK since the 1959 NCAAs, and spawned resumption of regular-season competition between the schools.

Meanwhile, the national semifinal between lower seeds Georgia and N.C. State was regarded as an entertaining but ultimately insignificant prelude.

Of course it didn't turn out that way - Jim Valvano's sixth-seeded Wolfpack beat Houston for the national championship in one of the greatest upsets ever.

Two years later No. 8 Villanova recorded another historic upset, becoming the lowest seed to win an NCAA title by toppling No. 1 Georgetown. Sixth-seeded Kansas won in 1988 and four seed Arizona turned the trick in 1997. Other than that, no team seeded lower than third has won an NCAA championship.

Of 33 titles contested since seeding of the tournament field began in 1979, 17 were won by No. 1 seeds. That's 51.5 percent, the majority.

About one in three top seeds that reached the Final Four (17 of 53) came away with the title.

The last No. 1 seed to emerge victorious was Duke in 2010. Five of the last seven champions that were top seeds came from the ACC.

The 2008 Final Four was the only one in which every entrant was a top seed. There have been four years in which no Final Four squad was a No. 1 seed, last season being the most recent example.

FOURTUITOUS
Final Four Fields Since 1979, When NCAA Began Seeding Teams
(ACC Teams In Bold)

Year Seed, Team Seed, Team Seed, Team Seed, Team Non-Power League
2012 1 Kentucky 2 Kansas 2 Ohio St. 4 Louisville
2011 3 UConn 4 Kentucky 8 Butler 11 VCU Butler, VCU
2010 1 Duke 2 West Virginia 5 Butler 5 Michigan St. Butler
2009 1 UNC 1 UConn 2 Michigan St. 3 Villanova
2008 1 UNC 1 Kansas 1 Memphis 1 UCLA Memphis
2007 1 Florida 1 Ohio State 2 Georgetown 2 UCLA
2006 2 UCLA 3 Florida 4 LSU 11 George Mason George Mason
2005 1 UNC 1 Illinois 4 Louisville 5 Michigan State Louisville*
2004 1 Duke 2 UConn 2 Oklahoma St. 3 Georgia Tech
2003 1 Texas 2 Kansas 3 Marquette 3 Syracuse Marquette*
2002 1 Maryland 1 Kansas 2 Oklahoma 5 Indiana
2001 1 Duke 1 Michigan St. 2 Arizona 3 Maryland
2000 2 Michigan St. 5 Florida 8 UNC 8 Wisconsin
1999 1 Duke 1 UConn 1 Michigan St. 4 Ohio State
1998 1 UNC 2 Kentucky 3 Stanford 3 Utah Utah
1997 1 UNC 1 Kentucky 1 Minnesota 4 Arizona
1996 1 Kentucky 1 UMass 4 Syracuse 5 Mississippi St. UMass
1995 1 UCLA 2 Arkansas 2 UNC 4 Oklahoma St.
1994 1 Arkansas 2 Arizona 2 Duke 3 Florida
1993 1 UNC 1 Kentucky 1 Michigan 2 Kansas
1992 1 Duke 2 Indiana 4 Cincinnati 6 Michigan Cincinnati*
1991 1 UNC 1 UNLV 2 Duke 3 Kansas UNLV
1990 1 UNLV 3 Duke 4 Arkansas 4 Georgia Tech UNLV
1989 1 Illinois 2 Duke 3 Michigan 3 Seton Hall
1988 1 Arizona 1 Oklahoma 2 Duke 6 Kansas
1987 1 Indiana 1 UNLV 2 Syracuse 6 Providence UNLV
1986 1 Duke 1 Kansas 2 Louisville 11 LSU Louisville*
1985 1 Georgetown 1 St. John's 2 Memphis 8 Villanova Memphis
1984 1 Georgetown 1 Kentucky 2 Houston 7 Virginia Houston
1983 1 Houston 1 Louisville 4 Georgia 6 N.C. State Houston, Louisville*
1982 1 Georgetown 1 UNC 3 Louisville 6 Houston Louisville*, Houston
1981 1 LSU 1 Virginia 2 UNC 3 Indiana
1980 2 Louisville 5 Iowa 6 Purdue 8 UCLA Louisville*
1979 1 Indiana St. 2 DePaul 2 Michigan St. 9 Penn DePaul*, Ind. St., Penn
* Current member of Big East.


Champions
Seed No. Seasons Won
1 17 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1990, 1987, 1984, 1982
2 7 2004, 2000, 1998, 1991, 1986, 1980, 1979
3 5 2011, 2006, 2003, 1989, 1981
4 1 1997
6 2 1988, 1983
8 1 1985

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