Every team that makes the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament has something to be proud of, but some are built of different DNA than others.
Take last year's national champion Kentucky team, which boasted six current NBA players and plainly overwhelmed less-talented teams. How does one even compare that team to the likes of Wichita State, 2013 Final Four participant, which has sent six players to the NBA in the past 45 years?
Consider that for a moment: John Calipari sent as many players to the NBA last year as a program with 10 NCAA appearances did in 45 years.
Even if some players from this impressive Shockers squad make the leap to the next level, Wichita State will have a long ways to go before it's considered the kind of jumping pad for NBA careers that other programs boast to be. The last NBA player to come out of Wichita State was Antoine Carr, 28 years ago.
Still, it starts with this kind of breakout season, gathering the attention of recruits and the donations of alumni.
As we all watch the big games this weekend, Wichita State won't have any current pro players fronting its cause, but the other three schools have some NBA cred to back up. Let's take a peek at the current NBA players from the other three Final Four participants.
The Cardinals don't have a star-studded bunch, with Los Angeles Lakers forward Earl Clark leading the way. His breakout season bolsters an otherwise underwhelming group of players despite the success this program has had at the collegiate level under Rick Pitino.
The other three current NBA players from the school are Rockets swingman Francisco Garcia, Cavaliers big man Samardo Samuels and Celtics guard Terrence Williams. Always active on Twitter, Williams shouted out to the Louisville team Saturday evening:
Lets Go Louisville....WinForWare.... My Home Court......Whew twitter.com/TheRealTWill/s…— Terrence Williams (@TheRealTWill) April 6, 2013
In terms of NBA talent, Syracuse is easily the champion of the remaining four schools. That's what happens when Carmelo Anthony attends your school, I suppose.
The school doesn't have much more talent in the league beyond up-and-coming Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters, but those two are a pretty good start. Waiters has had a volatile first year in Cleveland, but he's proven that being selected fourth overall in the 2012 draft was far from unreasonable.
The remaining Orange players are young fringe prospects -- Fab Melo, Kris Joseph, Wesley Johnson -- and Hakim Warrick. The likes of Donte Green and Jonny Flynn could always return to the NBA as well, though they haven't appeared this season. Melo will be joining his fellow 'Cuse fans Saturday night:
So hyped for the cuse game tonight!! Let's go Orange!!!— Fab Melo (@Fabpmelo) April 6, 2013
In a year, the best player out of Michigan could be on the floor Saturday night if point guard Trey Burke declares for the 2013 draft, but Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford will have to retain the honor until then.
Since the program got hit hard by NCAA sanctions in the wake of success the Fab Five in the early 1990s, Michigan hasn't produced much in the way of high-level talent. The alma mater of great players like Chris Webber, Glen Rice and Jalen Rose, this season really signifies the Wolverines' return to national prominence after years of mediocrity.
Beyond Crawford and Juwan Howard, who continues to hang on in the league as a sort of player-coach for the Miami Heat, the only other active Wolverine in the league is Los Angeles Lakers guard Darius Morris. None of the three has tweeted about Saturday's big game yet, but Crawford complained about traffic last night, and I think we can all get on board with that one for now.