The Numbers: The statistical story of the NCAA Men's Final Four
After a year off, it has been so much fun having the NCAA Tournament back in action.
But after a thrilling couple of weeks, we’re down to the Final Four in Indianapolis. And what a fine quartet of teams we’ll get to watch – one big favorite, one surprise team and a couple of hard-nosed squads from Texas – as they battle for the national championship.
The actions tips off at 5:14 p.m. ET Saturday, when 1-seed Baylor takes on 2-seed Houston. That will be followed by 1-seed Gonzaga against 11-seed UCLA at 8:34 p.m. ET. Both games will be televised on CBS.
As you settle in for some hoops action, here are The Numbers on each of the teams in the Men's Final Four:
HOUSTON COUGARS (No. 2 seed, 28-3 record)
4: The number of double-digit seeds Houston defeated on its path to the Final Four. Those were No. 15 Cleveland State, No. 10 Rutgers, No. 11 Syracuse and No. 12 Oregon State. The Cougars are the first team to reach the Final Four without facing a single-digit seed.
37: Years since Houston’s most recent Final Four appearance in 1984. That team, which featured four future NBA players, including superstar center Hakeem Olajuwon, lost to Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas in the championship game.
6: All-time Final Four appearances by Houston, which is one of only 15 schools to reach the Final Four that many times.
111: Total games Houston has won since the start of the 2017-18 season. Only Gonzaga (126) has won more games during that stretch.
57.6: Points per game allowed by Houston this season (including tournament games), ranking No. 2 in the country behind only Loyola-Chicago.
3: Houston’s overall national ranking, according to KenPom’s adjusted efficiency metric.
4: Active head coaches who have taken multiple schools to the Final Four. Kelvin Sampson, who guided Oklahoma to the Final Four in 2002, joins Bob Huggins, Rick Pitino and John Calipari on this list. Roy Williams, who retired Thursday, also accomplished this feat.
29.2%: The 3-point-shooting percentage for Houston’s opponents this season. This is the 11th-best mark in the country and the third-best of any NCAA Tournament team, trailing only that of Alabama and Colgate.
BAYLOR BEARS (No. 1 seed, 26-2 record)
89.7%: Baylor’s winning percentage the past two seasons. Only Gonzaga’s mark of .968 is better.
71: Years since Baylor’s most recent Final Four appearance in 1950. The tournament was a different animal back then. Baylor won just one game to reach the Final Four that year, lost twice in a double-elimination format and finished 14-13.
41.1%: Baylor’s 3-point-shooting percentage this season, best in the nation.
9: Baylor's wins against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 this season (including the tournament). This is tied with Oklahoma State for most in the nation.
11: Games Baylor has played against Top 25 opponents. This is as many as Houston (1), UCLA (4) and Gonzaga (6) combined.
83.0: Baylor's points scored per game this season, sixth in the nation.
65.5: Baylor's points allowed per game this season, No. 51 in the nation.
2: Baylor’s overall national ranking, according to KenPom’s adjusted efficiency metric.
253: Totals steals by Baylor this season, fourth in the nation and third among tournament teams.
118.2: Baylor’s offensive rating, which trails only that of Gonzaga.
UCLA BRUINS (No. 11 seed, 22-9 record)
24.7%: The combined 3-point-shooting percentage for UCLA’s five opponents in the NCAA Tournament this year, including First Four foe Michigan State.
108: Points scored by guard Johnny Juzang in his team's first five tournament games. That’s tied with Bill Walton for the second-most by a UCLA player. Lew Alcindor, who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, holds the record, with 134.
55%: The percentage of UCLA’s 51 points scored by Juzang (28) in his team's Elite Eight win over Michigan.
0: The number of No. 11 seeds that have reached the NCAA Tournament championship game.
19: This is UCLA’s 19th appearance in the Final Four, trailing only the tally of North Carolina (20). This includes the Bruins’ appearance in 1980, which was vacated by the NCAA because of a violation.
3: This is the third time UCLA has met Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament. The first was in 2006, when 2-seed UCLA staged a huge comeback to defeat Adam Morrison’s 3-seed Zags. The second came in 2015, when 2-seed Gonzaga beat 11-seed UCLA in the Sweet 16.
63%: The combined free-throw percentage of UCLA’s five tournament foes. Alabama was 11-for-25 (44%) from the line, and Michigan was 6-for-11 (54.5%).
15: UCLA’s overall national ranking, according to KenPom’s adjusted efficiency metric.
26: Years since UCLA’s most recent national title, the longest drought for the Bruins since 1964, the year they won the first of their record 11 titles.
GONZAGA BULLDOGS (No. 1 seed, 30-0 record)
3: Gonzaga players named to the AP All-American team this season (Jalen Suggs, Drew Timme, Corey Kispert). The most recent team to have three All-Americans was Illinois in 2004-05 (Dee Brown, Deron Williams, Luther Head).
38: Gonzaga’s total tournament wins, fourth-most of any team that has not won a championship and trailing only the tallies of Oklahoma, Purdue and Illinois.
34: Gonzaga’s current winning streak, which dates to last season. It’s the longest winning streak in Gonzaga history and one away from reaching the top 10 all time.
29: Double-digit victories by Gonzaga this season. Only West Virginia managed to play a close game with Gonzaga, losing by five on Dec. 2. The Zags have won 27 straight by double digits, an NCAA record.
5: Consecutive 30-win seasons by Gonzaga, an NCAA record.
24: Gonzaga’s average margin of victory in this NCAA Tournament. This would beat the current record of 23.75, held by the 1967 UCLA team that won the national title.
0: The number of undefeated national champs since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The most recent undefeated national champ was Indiana in 1976, which finished 32-0. It has been 42 years since an undefeated team reached the championship game; Larry Bird’s Indiana State team lost to Magic Johnson’s Michigan State squad in 1979.
54.9%: Gonzaga’s field-goal percentage this season, No. 1 in the nation.
63.7%: Gonzaga’s 2-point field-goal percentage this season, No. 1 in the nation.
91.6: Gonzaga's points scored per game this season, No. 1 in the nation. Colgate is a distant second, at 85.2.
122.2: Gonzaga’s offensive rating, No. 1 in the nation.
1: National champions who spent the entire season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll since the field expanded to 64 teams. Only the 1991-92 Duke team lead by Christian Laettner, Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley accomplished that feat.
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