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.
|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.
|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|
Duke Basketball Blue Book
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