The Big East can be the proudest conference as we head into the 2013 Final Four, being the only conference to send two teams to national semifinals with Louisville and Syracuse. The other two teams are Michigan, coming from the Big Ten, and Wichita State, representing the Missouri Valley Conference.
In 2009, the Big East sent two teams to the Final Four as well – the last conference with two representatives among the final four teams. Those were Connecticut and Villanova, who both lost their games to North Carolina and Michigan State, missing out on the final. Wichita State are the lowest seed left in the tournament with a 9 ranking, beating three teams seeded above them so far.
Louisville, coached by Rick Pitino and coming in as the number one seed from the Midwest regional will play Wichita State. They finished their Big East season with a 14-4 record, sharing the league title, and won the conference tournament. So far in the big dance they’ve beaten North Carolina A&T, Colorado State, Oregon and Duke. It is their second consecutive final four appearance and 10th overall. Russ Smith is the team’s top scorer, averaging 18.1 points per game this season and 26 so far in the tournament.
Michigan, coached by John Beilein, came into the tournament as the number 4 seed in the South, and will play Syracuse in the Final Four. They finished with a 12-6 record in the Big Ten, losing in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. In the NCAA tournament they’ve so far beaten South Dakota State, VCU, Kansas and Florida. It’s their first Final Four appearance since 1993 and 7th overall. Trey Burke is the team’s leading scorer this season with 19.2 points per game; he’s averaging 15.5 points in the tournament.
Syracuse, coached by Jim Boeheim, came through the East Regional as the number 4 seed and will face Michigan in their seminal. They finished with a 11-7 record in the Big East this season, losing in the conference tournament final to Louisville. In the NCAA Tournament they’ve beaten Montana, California, Indiana and Marquette, giving up only 45.8 points per game so far. It is the school’s first final four since 2003 and fifth overall. Their leading scorer this season is C.J. Fair with 14.4 points per game. He’s averaging 13.8 points in the tournament.
Wichita State Shockers
Wichita State, coached by Gregg Marshall, are the only low seed in the final four, coming in as the number 9 seed from the West Regional and will face Louisville. They finished with a 12-6 record in the Missouri Valley Conference, losing to Creighton in the conference tournament final. In the NCAA tournament, they’ve so far beaten Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, La Salle and Ohio State. It is the school’s only second Final Four, making it the first (and last) time in 1965. Their leading scorer is Cleanthony Early with 13.7 points per game, averaging 14.3 points in the tournament.