Jeff BorzelloESPN staff writer2 minutes to read
HOUSTON – It’s a stark contrast between the 2023 Final and the 2022 Final Four. Last year blue bloods were everywhere. Duke, North Carolina, Villanova, Kansas. Sixty-one combined Final Four appearances, and 18 joint national championships.
this year? Three of the four teams had never been to a Final Four before this season. No one has ever won an NCAA tournament game before this season.
It’s not all that different from the 2011 Final Four in Houston, which featured 3 seed, 4 seed, 8 seed, 11 seed. This year, we have 5th seed San Diego State facing 9th seed Florida Atlantic – don’t call it Cinderella! — on one side (6:09 p.m. ET, CBS), and 5-seed Miami battling 4-seed Yukon on the other (8:49 p.m. ET, CBS). The Huskies enter the National Semifinals as torchbearers for historical value, with five Final Fours and four National Titles in program history. They are also the favorites for the netting this season.
There are more secrets than there were between the quartet last season, given that these four teams rarely face each other during the regular season. There’s no Duke vs. North Carolina Part 3 on the agenda.
So we spoke to several of the coaches they’ve faced this season to find out what to expect on Saturday – and Monday in the national title game.
Why is San Diego State so tough defensively? What sparked this particular FAU run? How do you slow down the Miami guards? Why has UConn been so dominant in the NCAA Tournament?
Answers to these questions and more:
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