Are you sure Arizona lost to Kentucky in 1997?
Mike Lantry, 1972
Quicknote: If you're thinking about going to the Final Four, you know that MGoTicket Center button we have up all the time? …on the front page? …right under the board?
Pitino! Is no seed safe from your wrath?
Welcome back to the Final Four. It's been awhile: 20 years if you're going by memory, longer if O'Brien* is to be believed. For some reason I can probably pin on puberty and my 2400 baud modem, we missed the opportunity to chart the hell out of it at the time, a chance I will not pass up again. Link to my data.
Sample size and all that, but if you're filling out a bracket of four teams you still favor the 1 seed. A Cinderella run seems to be as likely to end here as anywhere else. I'd venture that Michigan and Syracuse are uncommonly good 4-seeds. M spent time as the AP #1 earlier this season and 'cuse might have if they hadn't lost right when the opportunity presented itself. Twelve teams in 2013 spent at least a week with a Top 3 AP ranking this year, a quick metric of how small a difference there was between the 1s and 4s. You know Michigan's anecdote about the rim at Indiana and the half-court heave in the Trohl Center. Previous years that was 8, 9, 8, 8, 6, 7, 6, 10. I had to go back to 2004 to find similar parity among the top field (that produced a Final Four of a 1-seed, two 2's and a 3).
Distance is No Problem
I plugged a lot of driving directions into Google Maps to get a picture of how distance from the championship site affects outcome but the findings weren't near so dramatic as I'd hypothesized:
If it mattered you'd see a lot more colors clumped toward the bottom. Until you get within 200 miles of home there seemed to be no hometown help; interestingly being a state (200 to 500 miles) away seemed to work as a detriment—realm of the rival fans perhaps?
|Miles from Home||Favored||Even||Dogs||All|
|0 to 200||5-1||4-1||1-0||7-2|
|201 to 500||4-11||4-4||0-7||5-12|
|501 to 1,000||21-20||17-15||4-5||29-24|
(Hover over headers for explanations)
If you live in proximity to a Spartan you probably remember a couple of those well, like Butler playing a virtual home game in 2010 or MSU beating UConn at Ford Field before falling to UNC. Flight miles or time zones traveled didn't affect Final Four results: teams traveled on average 1,027 miles; those that advanced were an 1,001 miles away from home, and the losers were 1,052 miles away.
4-Seeds in the Final Four
'97 Arizona is the only 4-seed to win it all. Tucson Citizen
It's not that big of a deal in this round since Michigan is playing another 4 in Syracuse but I took a look at the history of the seed anyway.
|Team||Final Four Opp.||Result||Site||Distance|
|2013 Michigan||Syracuse (4)||?||Atlanta||709|
|2013 Syracuse||Michigan (4)||?||Atlanta||964|
|2012 Louisville||Kentucky (1)||L 61-69||New Orleans||708|
|2011 Kentucky||UConn||L 55-56||Houston||990|
|2006 LSU||UCLA (2)||L 45-59||Indianapolis||848|
|2005 Louisville||Illinois (1)||L 57-72||St. Louis||260|
|1999 Ohio State||Connecticut (1)||L 58-64||St. Petersburg||1045|
|1997 Arizona||North Carolina (1)||W 66-58||Indianapolis||1728|
|1996 Syracuse||Miss. St. (5)||W 77-69||E. Rutherford||242|
|1995 Okla. St.||UCLA (1)||L 61-74||Seattle||1949|
|1992 Cincinnati||Michigan (6)||L 72-76||Minneapolis||702|
|1990 Arkansas||Duke (3)||L 83-87||Denver||807|
|1990 Georgia Tech||UNLV (1)||L 81-90||Denver||1401|
|1983 Georgia||N.C. State (6)||L 60-67||Albuquerque||1459|
The winner on Saturday will be just the third on this list of 14 to advance to the championships since the tournament went to 40 teams. Ready for the weird: both times it happened they played Rick Pitino's Kentucky teams in the championship ('97 Zona won, '96 Cuse lost). If Louisville beats Wichita State as expected, there'll be another Pitino team waiting.
/searches for "I am constantly frightened by things that involve Pitino" tag, doesn't find one, creates it.
* I don't mean this in the charges shouldn't have been leveled sort of way, but in the wiping records is personal pet peeve of mine sort of way.
Are you sure Arizona lost to Kentucky in 1997?
Yeah, looks like you reversed it. Syracuse lost, Arizona won.
We should have been a 3 seed.
The 2010 final four was at Ford Field. You know, when an msu victory was going to save detroit....
Oy. Another thing I had right (from memory) in my chart but flubbed when writing late.
Spartans in the D! Remember when they played FAU in front of 1800 people?
The Detroit River spontaneously turned into a river of milk chocolate and IT. WAS. GOOD.
We were a Jordan Morgan putback away from being a 2 seed. And, even though his shot rimmed out and we conked out in Chicago, exactly one spot from being a 3 seed, as Marquette got the last one. So... yes, we are a 4 seed but a high 4 seed. A 3.5 seed. 3.14 seed. 42. Friction. JUST WIN.
No one really has a home court. I'm sure there will be a lot of Louisville fans because they probably purchased a lot of tickets before the tourney begain, and are technically the closest, but it's not in their backyard or anything. (Good year for it to not be in Indy). Syracuse really isn't closer, and the fans were even less likely to think they'd be there than ours were. And I'm not concerned about Wichita State on a number of levels.
Things I noticed when I saw the dates of our Final Four appearances...we've only lost the Final Four game once, back in the days of a consolation game. So we're 5-1 in them. Of course, as a program that has only one title, that obviously means we're 1-4 in the championship game.
And since I've not really found anywhere else this fits, and it's starting to become old news-
The game against Michigan was Florida's third worst loss in NCAA Tournament history, 20 points. Their two worst? 2003 vs. MSU 68-46, and the worst 1988 vs.....Michigan, 108-85.
You can SEC! all you want, but between all that, bowl games, and even when the Bobby Williams team met Florida in a bowl.....they must be as sick of seeing teams from Michigan as Ohio was sick of seeing Florida when they lost both National Championships to them.
great for Lute Olson.
we need our own version of "Simon says championship..."
Both teams finished 5th in their league, both were/are 4-seeds, both liked to run and get into transition, both have HEAVY guard/wing play, both had an All-NBA calibur PG (Bibby/Burke), both had a quiet/do it all SG/SF (THJ/Simon), both teams were coaches by guys in their 60s, both teams had 5 NBA prospects, and both teams won/win the National Championship.