Final Four: A Disturbing Trend

By David Scott - April 03, 2007


While a lot of the focus in trying to encapsulate this year's NCAA Tournament is going to center on the lack of major upsets and the return to a power conference-laden Final Four - where have you gone, George Mason? - there's a potentially more disturbing trend in the air: bland title games.

Including Monday night's comfortable 84-75 win by Florida over Ohio State, three of the past four Championship games have been decided by an average of 10 points and each of the past five have had double digit half-time leads. (Florida 73, UCLA 57 in 2006; North Carolina 75, Illinois 70 in 2005; UConn 82, Georgia Tech 73 in 2004 and Syracuse 81, Kansas 78.)

And while North Carolina's win over Illinois in 2005 and Syracuse's final second win over Kansas in 2003 were compelling, the overall Final Four product is becoming less and less competitive (witness Saturday's two fairly mundane conetsts).

It's difficult to determine what the trend is suggesting but one thought we have is that the parity of college hoops that has been so widely dissected only holds for weekends one and two of the Tourney. By the time the Final Four weekend rolls around, when many of the teams have played near 40 games, they are either too spent from the entire season or there is head and shoulders, one superior team (Florida this year and last, UConn in 2004).

We're guessing the trend will be self-correcting and cyclical, but for now, the end result has been some less than shining moments in the recent Final Fours.

. . . This was the 21st NCAA tournament with teh 3-point shot. Including Florida's win, the team with the higher 3-point field goal percentage is now 17-4 in NCAA Title games over that span.

. .. The center court overhead scorebaord has been lowered so the CBS cameras could be removed. This is how we started things on Thursday when we came to pick up our credential, so we think with that bit of closure it's time for us to check out for the evening. Our other intrepid bloggers are likely still at it and there will be plenty of worthwhile copy for your reaqidng pleasure all over the site for the next couple of days. We'll be back at some point with an overall re-cap of our Atlanta Journey. Until then, thanks for hangin' with Hang Time.

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Posted by David Scott at 12:59 AM on April 03, 2007
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