1. Just 0.0000551% people accurately predicted the entire Final Four
Out of the more than 11 million entries in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, only 612 people picked the exact Final Four. That’s 1 in 18,100 people, or almost the equivalent of one person in a soldout Madison Square Garden getting it right.
2. Florida’s 30-game winning streak could make history
The Gators are the first team to enter the Final Four with a winning streak of 30+ games since Duke in 1999. Only four teams in history have done that (Duke 1999, UNLV 1990, Indiana State 1979, Indiana 1976), with Indiana being the lone squad to extend the streak and win a title.
3. Billy Donovan is still pretty young, but not as young as you think
The 48-year-old Florida coach is trying to become the sixth coach in history to win three NCAA championships. A victory in North Texas would put Donovan ahead of Dean Smith on that list, among others. And though 48 is still plenty young for a coach with as stellar a resume as Donovan, this may blow your mind: He’s two years older right now than Bobby Knight was when he won his final title at Indiana.
4. Goliath also played David this year
Kentucky became the first team in NCAA tournament history to eliminate both the defending champion (Louisville) and runner-up (Michigan). The Wildcats also became the first team to ever defeat a 35-0 opponent (Wichita State).
5. There are no repeat Final Four teams for the first time in years
This is the first Final Four since 2006 in which no teams are making a back-to-back appearance. Florida went out in a regional final of last year’s tournament and Wisconsin was upset in the opening round by No. 12 seed. Neither Kentucky nor Connecticut played in last year’s tournament. Having two Final Four teams that didn’t play in the tournament the previous year might seem like it’d be rare, but the same thing happened just three years ago when Connecticut (again) and VCU made the F4 after missing out entirely in 2010.
6. Final Four debuts usually don’t end well (but they can)
Since 1990, only five coaches have won the title in their first Final Four appearance: Jim Harrick (1995), Tubby Smith (1998), Jim Calhoun (1999) and Bill Self (2008). Over that same time, 32 other coaches failed to win the championship in their Final Four debut.
7. Final Four revenge hasn’t been sweet
According to Elias, the last four Final Four rematches have all been won by the team that won the regular season meeting. That bodes well for Connecticut, which beat Florida on Dec. 2, 2013.
8. Eight is enough (this year)
It’s the third time in the 30-year history of the 64-team bracket that two No. 7 seeds or higher made the Final Four. The others: 2011, Butler (No. 8) and VCU (No. 11) and 2000, North Carolina (No. 8) and Wisconsin (No. 8).
9. Murderer’s row (x2)
Prior to this season, only three teams in history had ever defeated three top-four seeds en route to a Final Four (LSU in 1986, Florida in 2000 and Butler in 2011). This year, both Kentucky and Connecticut did it. (via @ESPNStatsandInfo)
10. Michigan State’s oh-so-close seniors made the wrong kind of history
This was the first senior class in Tom Izzo’s 19 years at Michigan State that never made a Final Four.
11. Go State!
With Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Kentucky making the Final Four, it’s the first time since 2002 that all are singularly named after states.