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NCAA Final Four: Big time in Big Easy
Power conferences » No mid-majors break through this year.


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Terrence Jones, Kentucky. The Wildcats have an NBA team in the making, so it was hard to pick just one player. We went with Jones, the super sophomore with the multidimensional skills who creates so many matchup problems.

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THE COACHES

Rick Pitino, Louisville. The first coach to take three different schools to the Final Four, he’s put together one of the best coach-’em-up jobs of his career this season, leading a team that had some big stumbles during the season into his sixth trip to the Final Four.

Calipari, Kentucky. Became the second coach to take three teams to the Final Four when he got the Wildcats to Houston last season. Only thing missing for this master recruiter is a title.

Thad Matta, Ohio State. Has the Buckeyes in the Final Four for the second time in six years after reaching the title game with Greg Oden in 2007. Kicking the team out of practice after a rough stretch in February, which prompted a team meeting, helped kick-start OSU’s run to New Orleans.

Bill Self, Kansas. Solidified his reputation by winning 2008 national title with Jayhawks, led a team that was supposed to be rebuilding to the Final Four this season.

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NUMBERS

2.5 — Ohio State’s line over Kansas.


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story continues below

8.5 — Kentucky’s line over Louisville.

13 — Combined national championships by this year’s Final Four teams: Kentucky (7), Kansas (3) Louisville (2) Ohio State (1).

52 — Years since Ohio State’s lone national title.

77.9 — Points per game by Kentucky, most of the Final Four teams.

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SUBTLETIES

The natural inclination during a basketball game is to follow the ball. Whoever puts it through the hoop most wins the game, so that makes sense.

Beyond that simple action, there are countless subtle things that lead to the ball going in or, in the case of the defense, not going in.

Here’s a few to watch during this weekend’s games:

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