This Is the First Time in 5 Decades This Has Happened at Final Four

Three first-time teams show up in the same year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2023 12:06 AM CDT
This Is the First Time Since 1970 This Has Happened at Final Four
UConn guard Andrew Hurley celebrates in the locker room after the 82-54 win against Gonzaga of an Elite 8 college basketball game in the West Region final of the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/David Becker)

Everyone's heard of UConn. All these other guys? They'll need name tags at the Final Four. When they travel to Houston next week to play for the national title, Florida Atlantic, San Diego State, and Miami will be making their first appearances at college basketball's grand finale, the first time since 1970 that three first-timers all showed up in the same year, the AP reports. If the unfamiliar names—to say nothing of the seedings—are any indication, fans might look back on 2022-23 as the season when true parity finally sunk down deep into the bones of America's favorite basketball tournament and turned March Madness into a total free-for-all, all the way to the last weekend.

There will be no No. 1 seed at the Final Four for the first time since 2011. Instead, there will be a 9 seed in Florida Atlantic, a pair of 5 seeds in SDSU and Miami, and a 4 seed in UConn. The combined seed total of the four teams is 23, the second-highest total since the seeding began in 1979. This marks the first time that not a single top-3 seed made it. The matchups for Saturday: San Diego State against FAU, in a not-so-classic 5-vs-9 matchup. (San Diego State, a 57-56 winner over Creighton on Sunday, is a 1.5-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.) Who saw that coming?

In the later game, it's the Hurricanes as 5 1/2-point underdogs against UConn, which is the prohibitive favorite, at minus-135, to bring a fifth national title home. If UConn does win, it will join Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas as the fourth school to win the championship under three or more coaches. Dan Hurley would join Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie in the winner's circle for the Huskies. (More on the Final Four here.)

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