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     Historic Final Four, with all number one seeds in 2008
    The Sport of Basketball
    This NCAA tournament this year has provided very few surprises compared to the 2006 tournament. This is the first year that all my final four picks have made it to the Final Four. This skewers the experts, because all of the grandmas out there have the number one seeds in the Final Four.

    UCLA is in the final four for the third straight year. Jason King called them the new Duke, which is a misnomer since Duke really tried to be the new UCLA. He meant to say that basketball fans hate the Bruins universally as they do with the Duke Blue Devils coached by Mike Krzyzewski. This is not a new development for UCLA, but it has been a long time since that has been the case. In the 1970s and 1980s, UCLA went down the ladder and met many teams on the way down, to paraphrase John Wooden. Now they are back in the penthouse. North Carolina and Kansas, two historically strong programs also are in the Final Four for 2008. Memphis is the team that has never won it all, and this may be their year. They only lost one game, to Tennessee. That cost them the AP national championship, which went to Tyler Hansbrough and the UNC Tar heels.

    Davidson was probably the biggest surprise for 2008, but did not finish the Regional championship to get the “Davidson slays Goliath” headline. This is a huge Final Four. In 70 years of NCAA tournaments, these four teams have won a full quarter of the championships between them. This is a Final Four of three “haves” and one “have not” on the cusp. UCLA lured Gene Bartow from Memphis State for the 1976 season after the Tigers appeared in the 1973 final four. Gene never was able to win the championship, losing to the undefeated Indiana team. The Big Sky fell in on the Bruins in 1977, and they lost to Idaho State in the regional game. Bartow ran off to Alabama Birmingham, where they named the program after him. UCLA could not lure Denny Crum, a former UCLA assistant, back out of Louisville. Crum eventually won the whole thing in 1980 and 1986.

    Bill Self of Kansas and John Calipari of Memphis have something to prove as coaches along with Ben Howland of UCLA. Roy Williams has been there before, won, and lost. UNC is the number one team. Memphis appears to be the strongest team. UCLA and Kansas have had their struggles. If the Bruins win the National Championship, it will be a very big day in the records books. They will have their 101st NCAA championship, more than any other school. Then they can be known as UCILA. The yellow C with the other blue letters denotes the Roman Numeral for 100. CI would be 101. They will tie for first with Kentucky at 100 NCAA tournament victories. They will be merely two tenths of a percent behind the first place Duke tournament winning percentage at 74.6. They will have won 12 NCAA basketball championships, as many as #2 Kentucky (7) and #3 Indiana (5) put together.

    The CBS HDTV coverage has been OK, but since last year, we do not have the mixed analog and digital games. You get what you get on both bands. With TV going all NTSC next year, it has been a fun run. The MMOD or March madness on demand has worked well. There was no waiting this year to see the UCLA Bruins play Mississippi Valley State.

    NCAA Final Four
    Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2008 @ 10:37:10 UTC by BB
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