NCAA Tournament 2013: 8 things you should know about the Elite 8


The 2013 Final Four will be decided over the course of the next 35 hours, but before that takes place, feed your brain with eight notable items about this year's Elite 8.

I've never understood why CBS says "the road to the Final Four ends in (host city)." Doesn't it end in the four cities that host the regional championship games? I mean, that's the end of the road. You've locked up your spot in the Final Four. You've made it. Road over.

That being said, let's take a look at eight notable items about this weekend's end of the road to the Final Four (come at me, CBS).

1. There Is No Cinderella

The major storyline heading into the Sweet 16 was the fact that teams seeded 15th, 13th and 12th had all crashed the second weekend party. Those teams have all been bounced now, leaving the Elite 8 with a veritable who's who of college basketball.

All eight remaining teams have been to the Final Four, with Wichita State being the only one of the group that hasn't won a national championship. The Shockers are also the only team left seeded higher than fourth.

2. Coach K Owns The Elite 8

Rick Pitino improved to 11-0 in the Sweet 16 with Louisville's win over Oregon on Friday night, but the guy he'll face on Sunday has had almost the same level of success in the Elite 8. In 12 regional final games, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski owns a sparkling 11-1 record. His only loss? A 1998 defeat at the hands of Kentucky (the year after Pitino left, of course) in a game where the Blue Devils led by as many as 17.

3. You'll have the rare chance to see Duke wearing its road uniforms

Sunday's game against Louisville will mark the first time Duke has worn its road uniforms for an NCAA Tournament game since it faced Kansas back in 2003. That's right, the Blue Devils have been the higher overall seed in every game they've played in the big dance for 10 years.

4. Marquette And Syracuse Play One Last(?) Big East Game

The Big East simply refuses to die. Everyone assumed the lights had gone out on the conference for good when Louisville defeated Syracuse inside Madison Square Garden two weeks ago, but the Orange and Golden Eagles set up a final(?) showdown by pulling Sweet 16 upsets on Thursday.

It's the first time that two teams from the same conference have met in the Elite 8 since Pittsburgh and Villanova (also from the Big East) squared off in 2009. To keep the coincidences going, both Syracuse and Marquette are looking to make it to the Final Four for the first time since 2003. That year, Carmelo Anthony led the Orange to their only NCAA Tournament title.

Of course there's always the chance that the winner of Saturday's game could play Louisville for the national title. That'd be so Big East.

5. Wichita State Makes Rare Run

As a No. 9 seed, the Shockers are the only team seeded higher than fourth remaining in the tournament. They're also the first nine seed to crash the Elite 8 since Boston College pulled off the feat in 1994. Just two other No. 9 seeds have advanced to a regional final: Penn in 1979 and St. Joseph's in 1981. The Quakers, who defeated No. 10 seed St. John's by a basket, are the only nine seed to ever advance to the Final Four.

6. Florida Looks To Avoid Making History

Since the tournament expanded from 16 to 22 teams in 1953, no team has ever lost three consecutive Elite 8 games. That's the history Florida will look to avoid making against Michigan on Sunday. The Gators lost to Louisville in the regional finals a season ago, and to Butler in the same situation in 2011.

7. Duke And Louisville Will Meet In The Tournament For The First Time Since '86

The last time the Cardinals and Blue Devils squared off in the NCAA Tournament, freshman sensation Pervis Ellison was leading U of L to a 72-69 win over Duke in the 1986 national championship game. The two programs actually hadn't met at all since that game before they met in the finals of the Battle 4 Atlantis last November. Duke exacted a small amount of revenge with a 76-71 win in that game. I'm pretty sure both teams would rather win this one, though.

8. No. 1 Seeds Have Not Been Safe In 2013

Had Louisville lost to Oregon on Friday, this would have been the first Elite 8 ever with zero No. 1 seeds. The only time the Final Four has been absent a No. 1 seed since the field expanded to 64 teams was in 2006 when No. 11 George Mason, No. 4 LSU, No. 3 Florida and No. 2 UCLA crashed the party.

More in College Basketball:

Chasing Cinderella: Dunk City, USA

Trey Burke’s insane 3-pointer that saved Michigan

The best and worst from a sweet Friday

Joakim Noah is more interested in Florida than Craig Sager

Printable bracket for March Madness

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