Must-see TV: NCAA Final Four all about recent and not-so-recent history

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Apr. 3—The University of Connecticut is heading to its seventh Final Four and its second in as many seasons. Not only that, but the Huskies hoisted the championship trophy at the end of last year.

The recent success, thanks in large part to head coach Dan Hurley, has been there.

But no other team in the Final Four can say the same thing.

Purdue is in its third national semifinal and first since 1980. North Carolina State is in its fourth, and first since the 1982-83 season that saw the Wolf Pack win the national title as a six-seed under head coach Jim Valvano. Alabama is in its first semifinal game in men’s basketball program history.

It isn’t a shock to see Purdue at this stage necessarily because the nation’s best player from a year ago, Zach Edey, is leading the squad. But it is a new thing to see this program making a run like this.

Coming from assistant coach Paul Lusk, this is a stage that the Boilermakers and the staff have been trying to reach for Hall of Fame coach Gene Keady, who was a longtime leader of the men’s basketball program but never got to this spot.

Alabama couldn’t have been a popular pick to reach the Final Four. The Crimson Tide finished the year 21-10 and lost in the SEC quarterfinals to Florida. In fact, they lost to Florida twice in 10 days and allowed over 100 points to the opposition in both.

Obviously NC State wasn’t a highly predicted Final Four team as an 11-seed.

The Wolf Pack lost its last four games of the regular season. At the time, their record was 17-14 and would not have even gotten a sniff of an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.

But, NC State flipped it around when it absolutely had to and has now won nine games in a row to get here. It took five straight wins to eventually become ACC tournament champion with a win over North Carolina. Now, four more wins and they’re looking at another giant in No. 1 seed Purdue.

This is the beauty of March Madness. There’s no way NC State was ever one of the top four teams in the country. It wouldn’t…

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Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/must-see-tv-ncaa-final-035900237.html

Author : The Joplin Globe, Mo.

Publish date : 2024-04-04 03:59:00

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