As college basketball has grown in popularity over the last 25 years, it seems to me that the attention given to the various success levels (Sweet 16, Elite 8, etc) has grown dramaticallyâ€¦and none have become more celebrated than the Final Four. So I would like to extend my congratulations to the last four teams standingâ€¦even though I didn’t get a single one of them in my bracket.
Here is a quick recap of the Final Four teams over the last five years:
Letâ€™s start with a few quick observations from this table:
– Only one team has made a repeat trip to the Final Four.
– 19 different teams have made the Final Four over the last five years.
– Four different ACC teams have made the Final Four over the last five years.
So whatâ€™s my point?
Major college basketball is a national sport played out on a national stage. Almost â€œeveryoneâ€? of significance recruits from all over the nation. And hereâ€™s the real kickerâ€¦While UNC and Duke are dominating Dick Vitale and NC State quite easily, these two schools have not been dominating college basketball.
Lee Fowler once said something to the effect that you could be a really good team and still rank behind UNC and Duke. While this is true, it ignores several other things:
– Duke and UNC are hardly the only teams that State has trouble with. State has an absolutely horrid record against teams ranked in the RPI Top-50.
– Stateâ€™s losses over the last five years in the NCAA tournament didnâ€™t come against Duke or UNC.
– Within the ACC, State not only has problems competing with UNC and Dukeâ€¦it has problems competing against nearly any ACC team that is good enough to make the NCAA tournament. A 13-29 won-loss record over the last five years (and 1-4 this year) against NCAA tourney teams from the ACC is simply pitiful.
– A lot of other schools from all over the country have reached major milestones over the last five years…19 have Final Four appearances. Georgia Tech and Maryland have reached the Final Four. Wake Forest and Maryland have won the regular season championships. Anyone who uses Duke and UNC as an excuse for Stateâ€™s lack of accomplishments is simply grasping for straws.
The credit for moving from the Les Robinson Invitational to the first weekend of the NCAA tournament does not belong to the WPC or the RBC Center. The problems with Stateâ€™s basketball program are not located in Durham or Chapel Hill. The reponsibility for the men’s basketball program at NC State lies within it’s Athletic Department….both the good and the bad.
“Responsibility is a unique concept: it can only reside and inhere within a single individual. You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished. You may delegate it, but it is still with you. You may disclaim it, but you cannot divest yourself of it. Even if you do not recognize it or admit its presence, you cannot escape it. If the responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else. Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible.”
Admiral Hyman G. Rickover