A quick one today because I just came back from a mini-vacation in Chicago, which astonishingly and sadly has a much better sports bar selection than New York. It’s actually a better place to watch March Madness.
And watch I did, as a parade of top seeds with elite pedigrees strolled into the Elite Eight. I know this is kind of a regression to the mean after No. 8 seed Baylor and No. 11 seed VCU made the Final Four last year, but wow that’s a lot of chalk! Not since 2007, when the Elite Eight featured four No. 1s, three No. 2s and a No. 3 seed, have we seen so many top teams do well. Every one of the final octet was ranked in the top 10 at some point during the regular season.
Even more pronounced was the historical success of the programs (and their coaches) that made the final eight. The schools (Kentucky, Baylor, Syracuse, Ohio State, UNC, Kansas, Louisville and Florida) have combined for 21 national titles, and all but Baylor have at least one championship. Here’s a sampling of the group’s success among Division I men’s basketball schools:
MOST NCAA TITLES
- UCLA 11
- Kentucky 7
- UNC/Indiana 5
- Duke 4
- Kansas/UConn 3
COACHES WITH AT LEAST ONE TITLE: 5 (all except UK’s John Calipari and Baylor’s Scott Drew, and OSU’s Thad Matta)
COACHES WITH MULTIPLE TITLES: 2 (UNC’s Roy Williams and Florida’s Billy Donovan)
The last mid-major Cinderella, Ohio, fell agonizingly short in the Sweet 16 with a 73-65 OT loss to UNC. The last under-the-radar coach, Baylor’s Drew, came up way short in the Elite Eight. The three best big men in the NCAA (UK’s Anthony Davis, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and OSU’s Jared Sullinger) are still alive. Put in some mouthguards and buckle up for Saturday’s Final Four, folks. It’s going to be a pair of heavyweight fights.