NCAA Tournament Final Four 2014: Top 10 StorylinesBy Russell Westerholm
With the Final Four just days away, there are several storylines at play while another unforgettable NCAA Tournament winds down.
Here are the top 10 things to look out for during Saturday's Final Four matchups.
1. Florida's Historic Run
The Florida Gators have won 30 games in a row and could be the first team since Indiana in 1976 to take a winning streak that long to a national title win. The last time this team lost was actually to the team they are to play Saturday, but more on that later.
2. Closest Thing to a Perfect Bracket
According to ESPN's Tournament Challenge, only 612 people of the 11 million that submitted brackets online correctly predicted this slate of Final Four teams. It is the equivalent to one person in an entire arena.
3. No More Favorites
Several pundits and experts picked Louisville and Michigan State to play for the national title. Florida was a popular choice for the Final Four, since they are after all the top seed in the tournament.
4. Kentucky's Strange Season
Kentucky was the preseason number one seed in the Associated Press' top 25. The Wildcats' young and inexperienced team then went on to post an underwhelming 28-10 record. They followed that up by beating Kansas State (9), the undefeated Wichita State (1) and the title favorites, Louisville.
5. UConn Making Another Run
Kevin Ollie was Jim Calhoun's handpicked successor and Shabazz Napier has maintained a close friendship with Kemba Walker, who was a senior when Napier was a freshman in 2011, the last time UConn won the title. Non-UConn fans might dismiss this, but it is everything for us Huskies fans.
6. Frank Kaminsky is Quite Dangerous
Kaminsky is like a college clone of Dirk Nowitzki and he has got to be giving John Calipari nightmares. In the Elite Eight, the seven-foot forward dropped 28 points on a superb Arizona defense. What's more is he made 3-4 three-pointers and has averaged field goal/three-point/free throw percentages of .527/.378/.765.
7. The Unheralded Badgers
Wisconsin is the only two-seed left in the tournament, but none of them really had any buzz around them in the first place. Kansas and Michigan both lost to 10- and 11-seeds, respectively, and Villanova lost to UConn, a seven-seed.
8. Florida - UConn Rematch
The Elias Sports Bureau has found that no Final Four rematch from a regular season game has favored the team that lost the previous meeting. Not even this little tidbit will keep Florida from being the overwhelming favorite against UConn, who beat the Gators Dec. 2.
9. Billy Donovan Chases History
With two more victories, Donovan can join Calhoun and Bob Knight as the only NCAA Division I men's basketball coaches to win three national titles. Donovan would also leave Rick Pitino, Roy Williams and Dean Smith behind. That's huge.
10. John Calipari Sneaking Up on History
Then there is Calipari who could tie Pitino, Donovan, Williams, Smith and the other five coaches with two national titles. Calipari is also about two seasons away from joining the 600-win club, something only 28 NCAA Division I men's basketball coaches have done.