As eight turn to four, we don't see too many beauty pageants on the courts. As Tom Izzo says, "it's survive and advance."
In a single elimination tournament, a team must be good enough, not great to keep going. And, a bit of luck never hurts.
Michigan State had just 11 turnovers in their victory over Tennessee.
Good timing: Duke’s Nolan Smith hit his career high in points in the Regional Final win over Baylor.
Senior Moment: Michigan State’s game winning free throw by Raymar Morgan (with 1.8 seconds left in the game) shows what senior team captains are supposed to do.
Michigan State is among the most rugged programs in basketball history…they seldom beat themselves.
Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh had a helluva game against Duke…18 points, 10 rebounds (7 offensive), six assists and five blocks…a remarkable game.
The Duke/Baylor game featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes. It took a magnificent Duke run late to knock out Baylor.
Butler has great belief in themselves and plays with a ton of poise. Both Kansas State and Syracuse took momentum-shifting leads in the second halves and Butler never thought about folding.
Michigan State has won their four tournament games by a total of 13 points. That is the smallest four game margin since the field was expanded in 1985.
Butler has no player taller than 6’8”---so the three is their equalizer. In fact, Butler has attempted more threes than deuces this season. Must work, as they have yet to lose a game in 2010.
Butler’s baby-faced assassin, Gordon Hayward, is a future first-round pick.
There do not appear to be any NBA lottery picks in this season’s Final Four.
Nor will there be any CBS cutaways to Ashley Judd.
Instead, we will see Magic Johnson, WVU’s Jerry West and maybe Gene Hackman.
Duke is the only Final Four team that played three top eight seeds in their first four games.
Baylor’s Kim Mulkey is the only women’s NCAA coach to win a championship as a player (1984 with Louisiana Tech) and coach (Baylor, 2005).
Michigan State is #2 in the nation in rebounding margin…close to nine per game.
The last time a team got to play in the Final Four in its home city was 1972 when UCLA won the title in the Los Angeles Sports Arena. UCLA 81-Florida State 76 for the title.