This Final Four Is Tough To Beat

There’s not a Cinderella to be found in this year’s Final Four. Isn’t that the way it should be?

Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State and Louisville have combined for 49 Final Four appearances and 13 national titles, with each school having at least one championship. It’s like a $10,000-a-plate political dinner, reserved for only the rich and powerful and famous. Nobody gets to sneak in through the kitchen.

That’s not particularly unusual. In 2009, North Carolina, Michigan State, Villanova and Connecticut all came to the Final Four with a national title in their archives. In 2007, Florida, Ohio State, UCLA, and Georgetown did the same.

But it’s hard to remember this much blue blood in the Final Four. This year’s entries all rank among the top seven schools in terms of Final Four appearances — Kentucky has 15, Kansas 14, Ohio State 11, and Louisville 9. To put that into perspective, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State have combined for five Final Four appearances in their histories — two for OSU, one each for the others.

Yes, the upsets and the upstarts are fun for the first couple rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but when it comes down to the Final Four you want to see heavyweight programs with rich pedigrees and future NBA stars.

Butler came inches away from winning the national title two years ago, and that was thrilling. But until the final minutes of the title game against Duke, nobody really thought the Bulldogs could walk away with the crown. The past 21 national titles and 44 of the past 45 have come from schools currently in power conferences.

For creating anticipation and awe of the programs involved instead of the “awe-shucks” of a Cinderella story, this year’s Final Four is difficult to beat.

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