The Final Four
by Kevin Monroe

By the end of this weekend, we will know who the 2005 Final Four teams will be.  The excitement continues to build as the final 16 teams battle to become one of the Final Four.  Since 1980, all of these 16 teams have been to at least one Final Four except Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, West Virginia, Washington, & Texas Tech. 

Duke is leading the way with 10 Final Four appearances and 3 championships in the last 25 years.  North Carolina is second with 8 appearances and 2 championships, Kentucky has 5 appearances and 2 championships, and Arizona has 4 appearances and 1 championship. Getting to the Final Four is considered the ultimate goal of every team in the country from the first day of practice in the fall to the culmination of that trip ending in a national championship.

In 2003, we saw an 18 year old freshman dominate the tournament and he turned in the highest scoring game (33) by a freshman in Final Four history.  This performance gave Jim Boeheim his first ever national championship.  And who could forget the sharp shooting of Donald Williams to lead UNC to the championship in 1993.  Williams shot over 70% (10-14) from three point range in that Final Four.  That remains as the best ever shooting percentage in Final Four history from three point range. 

In 1991, Christian Laettner was a perfect 12-12 from the line for Duke in there semi- final victory over Kansas.  I could go on and on naming awesome stats from these Final Four games, like the time Akeem Olajuwon pulled down 22 rebounds vs. Louisville in 1983, or Danny Manning’s 6 blocks in the 1988 game vs. Duke. 

The history of the Final Four dating back to 1939 is jam-packed with amazing individual performances and even more amazing games.  This year’s games will no doubt be a part of the magnificence that is the Final Four.  So get your popcorn and your favorite beverage ready, because the Final Four is one of the biggest spectacles of the sports year.

Kevin Monroe