Heading into this weekend’s Elite Eight, five of the eight coaches had national championships on their resume: Louisville’s Rick Pitino (while at Kentucky), Florida’s Billy Donovan, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Kansas’ Bill Self. Two other coaches had previously made Final Four trips: Kentucky’s John Calipari and Ohio State’s Thad Matta.
Because Kentucky and Baylor met in the South final, the best this year could have hoped for was matching the 2009 Final Four with three former titlists.
That year Williams, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun reached the Final Four. In 2001 there were also three: Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Izzo and Arizona’s Lute Olson. The 1992 Final Four includes Krzyzewski, Michigan’s Steve Fisher and Indiana’s Bob Knight.
The last time all four coaches had previously reached the Final Four was 1993 when North Carolina’s Dean Smith defeated Michigan’s Fisher in the title game. Williams was making his second Final Four trip with Kansas and Pitino his first with Kentucky after taking Providence to the 1987 Final Four.
The Jayhawks matched their best finish this year by reaching the Sweet 16. KU had reached that round twice before — in 1996 and 1998.
Kansas State reached the regional final — or Elite Eight — in the inaugural NCAA women’s tournament held in 1982. That year the field included 32 teams.
Since then K-State has reached the Sweet 16 twice: in 1983 and 2002.
K-State reached the 1977 quarterfinals of the AIAW tournament, the forerunner of the NCAA women’s tourney. KU and K-State reached the 1979 AIAW quarterfinals.
Wichita State has never reached the NCAA Tournament.