Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The playoff term Final Four was originally popularized to refer to the final four teams in the annual NCAA basketball tournament. These are the champions of the tournament's four regional brackets, and the only teams remaining on the tournament's final weekend. (The term has been applied retroactively to include the last four teams in tournaments from earlier years, when only two brackets existed.)
Currently, the men's tournament begins with 65 teams. The two teams deemed weakest by the NCAA Selection Committee play the first game (the "play-in game") in Dayton, Ohio, and the field is narrowed down to 64 teams. The women's tournament starts with 64 teams, with no play-in game. The tournament proceeds by means of single elimination play on consecutive weekends in March at preselected sites in the United States.
In the men's tournament, all sites are at least nominally neutral: A school that hosts any session of the tournament prior to the Final Four is prohibited from playing in that session. This means, for instance, that a school that hosts a regional final cannot play in the bracket leading to it. However, the women's sites, though predetermined, are not normally neutral; the women's tournament committee deliberately places host teams on their home floors when possible. This practice is increasingly controversial.
On the third weekend, traditionally a Saturday and Monday for the men's tournament and a Sunday and Tuesday for the women's tournament, the final four teams meet in semifinals on the first day and the championship on the second. For several years in the men's tournament, the teams eliminated in the semifinals met in a consolation game prior to the championship; this was discontinued in 1981.
Final Four Records
Final Four Single Game - Individual
58, Bill Bradley, Princeton vs. Wichita St., N3d, 3-20-1965
- Points by a Freshman
33, Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse vs. Texas, NSF, 4-5-2003
- Field Goals
22, Bill Bradley, Princeton vs. Wichita St., N3d, 3-20-1965
- Field Goals Attempted
42, Lennie Rosenbluth, North Carolina vs. Michigan St., NSF, 3-22-1957
- Field-Goal Percentage (Min. 10 FGM)
95.5% (21-22), Bill Walton, UCLA vs. Memphis, CH, 3-26-1973
- Three-Point Field Goals
10, Freddie Banks , UNLV vs. Indiana, NSF, 3-28-1987
27, Bill Russell, San Francisco vs. Iowa, CH, 3-23-1956
18, Mark Wade, UNLV vs. Indiana, NSF, 3-28-1987
- Blocked Shots
6, Danny Manning, Kansas vs. Duke, NSF, 4-2-1988
7, Tommy Amaker, Duke vs. Louisville, CH, 3-31-1986 7, Mookie Blaylock, Oklahoma vs. Kansas, CH, 4-4-1988
- Final Four Triple-Doubles
- Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati vs. Louisville, N3rd, 3-21-1959: 39 pts., 17 rebs. & 10 asts.
- Magic Johnson, Michigan St. vs. Pennsylvania, NSF, 3-24-1979: 29 pts., 10 rebs. & 10 asts.
Other uses of the term
Starting from late 1990s, the term Final Four is also being used for the final four teams in other elimination tournaments. Tournaments which use "Final Four" include Euroleague in basketball, national basketball competitions in several European countries and now-defunct European Hockey League. Together with the name "Final Four", these tournaments have adopted NCAA competition format where four best teams compete in a single-elimination tournament held in one place, typically, during one weekend.
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