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Don't Be Upset - 2022 Final 4 Is Different

This year’s men’s NCAA Division 1 tourney has been described as an upset lasagna topped with underdog cheese, baked at 450 degrees for two weekends in a surprise oven and drizzled with Cinderella Sauce (which many don’t realize is just ketchup and mayo). Granted, the Peacocks rising from the swamps of Jersey (albeit subsequently lowering themselves back into said swamps in creepy fashion) and #1 seeds getting offed faster than Russian generals have provided more than the expected twists and turns for our money. (I forget how much we paid to watch these games, but I don’t think it was a lot.) However, the Final Four teams aren’t just veterans of the Big Dance – UNC (6 prior wins), Duke (5), Kansas (3) and Villanova (3) have 17 wins between them.

It’s the first time since 2018 that all Final Four teams have a prior championship. But it’s the first time ever that all four contenders each have three championships under their academic, studded belts. Surprising? Realize: Michigan, OSU, UNLV, Wisconsin, Marquette, Maryland, Stanford, Arizona, Arkansas, Syracuse and Georgetown have only won once. Michigan State and Florida: twice each. Cincinnati also won 2 – back to back (’61-62). Illinois, Georgia Tech, LSU, Houston and Minnesota have never won.

This is the 83rd year of the tourney, which began in ’39 and didn’t miss a year until ’21.

The collective 17 championships among these Final Four range from ’52 to ’17, but only Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski to you) enters the final weekend with 5 personal championships (all of Duke’s). This being his last year makes the upcoming battle even more intense. But before you buy Coach K’s last-game basketball, remember – someone bought Tom Brady’s “final” TD ball for $518K shortly before Brady un-retired. There may still be a surprise lasagna out there.

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