Friday, January 12, 2024

1st Big Upset - W. Kentucky Claims Final 4 Spot - History of other Final 4s

Our 7-seed Western Kentucky scored the first big upset of our 16-team tournament, dominating the boards in a 78-62 win over 2-seed Oregon State. 

We noted Oregon State's one weakness seemed to be low rebounding numbers, but it was not that big a risk in their 81-68 win against James Madison 2024, which is also a weaker rebounding team. However, WKU was a fantastic rebounding team despite the whole team being 6'5 or 6'6 except for the 6'3 superstar Clem Haskins. They dominated the glass with a 40-24 rebounding edge.

Senior center Steve Cunningham's aggressive play took advantage of the soon-to-be great freshman AC Green. With the Hilltoppers leading 60-55 and 5:49 (10 possessions to play) Cunningham drew the 5th foul on Green and hit the basket for an "and-one," sinking the free throw to make it 63-55.

We did not play Green with "soft defense to avoid the foul" because he had two solid backups on Greg Wiltier and Rob Holbrook with stamina left, but Cunningham finished with a double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds) to go with Clem Haskins 21, 8 for the win.

Western Kentucky, which had barely survived Buffalo 2019 in their first game 84-82, will now face Tulsa and Bill Self in one Final 5 game. They will try to spoil a potential match-up of two of the greatest coaches of the 21st century and rematch of the John Calipari (Memphis) vs. Self (Kansas) 2008 championship with two other teams in the game. This one could be Tulsa vs. UMass 1996. However, new Mexico State 1970 will try to eliminate UMass in the other Final 4 game.

In our March 2020 Final 4 from the original 96 all-time great teams in the game, Bill Walton's UCLA beat Mikal Bridges' Villanova 2018 and Michael Jordan's UNC beat Draymond Green's Michigan State. UCLA then won the title, and is now ranked No. 1 of our all-time teams.

In our June 2022 Final Four, Paul Pierce's 1997 Kansas beat 2001 Duke, then another surprise team and the last Big Ten team to win the actual title, Michigan State 2000 beat DePaul 1980 and Terry Cummings. That tournament featured many great teams who were left out of the first batch because we only allowed one team from each school per century. Kansas then won the title and is now ranked No. 2 of our all-time teams.

In our all-time women's Final Four in March 2023, Pat Summit's Tennessee 1998 defeated UConn 2010 in one Final Four game before beating Louisiana Tech 1982, which included Dennis Rodman's sister Debra, in the title game. La Tech had beaten Notre Dame 2018 in the other Final 4 game.

We do have a Sweet 16 of newer teams more recently added we will get back to after this Final 4, and we still need to finish calculating the cards for our 16 new Women's all-time great teams who will also play a Sweet 16 tourament.
Pos      Western Kentucky  Pts 3pt2ptFTAttRebStlBlkFl  Season Actual                   Hts
1-PGDwight Smith171544320316.1 Pts, 9.9 Reb 6'5
2-SGClem Haskins214334830420.4 Pts, 10.0 Reb-NBA 6'3
3-SFWayne Chapman91301603213.3 Pts, 4.3 Reb-NBA6'6
4-PFGreg Smith7120060329.5 Pts, 10.3 Reb-NBA 6'5
5-CSteve Cunningham1606471001115.1 Pts, 7.4 Reb6'5
1-PGMike Fawcett2010010012.1 Pts, 0.6 Reb5'10
2-SGButch Kaufman2010030034.0 Pts, 1.0 Reb5'10
3-SFNorm Weaver2010010012.9 Pts, 1.7 Reb6'5
4-PFPearl Hicks2010010012.3 Pts, 3.0 Reb6'7
5-CJack Butler0000010011.8 Pts, 1.8 Reb6'5
 16 Turnovers787231116405719  
PosOregon St. 1982Pts3pt2ptFTAttRebStlBlkFlSeason ActualHts
1-PGWilliam Brew7104622136'1,9.2 ppg6'2
2-SGLester Conner192371052146'4,14.9 ppg, NBA6'2
3-SFDanny Evans14151331036'5,11.3 ppg6'6
4-PFCharlie Sitton10220030016'8,12.9 ppg, NBA6'7
5-CA.C. Green8032260156'9,8.6 ppg, NBA6'11
1-PGAlan Tait0000010016'2,0.5 ppg6'3
2-SGJamie Stangel0000010016'7,1.4 ppg6'7
3-SFJeff Wilson0000010016'7,1.2 ppg6'7
4-PFRob Holbrook2010010016'86.7 ppg6'9
5-CGreg Wiltjer2010012016'11,5.4 ppg6'9
 13 turnovers626151421247321 

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