There is no way the rest of the world could ever understand the American love of basketball and the frenzy of March madness. This year has seemed to stimulate a revival of interest in the passion in both the men's and women's national championships, an increase in game attendance and higher TV ratings.
So many fascinating plots swirl around the contenders it would take a couple of television network series to even begin to scratch the surface.
Tonight the Kentucky Wildcats take on the U Conn Huskies in the men's championship, two of the most familiar names in men's basketball meeting in the most unlikely of places, the national championship. Just last year neither team was even invited to the NCAA tourney.
They play in the A T&T Stadium in
and there will be an astounding 80,000
frenetic fans at the game joining the millions on television as the season long
drama reaches it's climax. Arlington, Texas
Tomorrow night the Notre Dame Fighting Irish square off against, you guessed it, the U Conn Huskies for the women's championship. What is it with the U Conn name popping up? Not far from the northern
Texas men's site the women
are in at the Music City Center
Bridgestone Arena where 20,000 people will be in attendance. Nashville, Tennessee
Now these two teams who used to share the same conference are now in different conferences and like a
Hollywood blockbuster, U Conn has won 39 games and lost
none while Notre Dame has won 38 games and lost none. Between the two they have won 77 games and
lost ZERO this season.
- Kevin Ollie Conn
In the last 18 years these two teams have won 6 national championships and have been to the final four so many times I forgot.
has won more games than any other
team in college basketball history. Kentucky
Now for the plots, sub-plots and just plain bizarre facts.
Neither team was invited to the NCAA playoffs last year.
U Conn won in 2011.
U Conn began the year unranked and finished ranked number 18.
U Conn was seeded 7 meaning it was considered one of the top 28 teams in the nation.
The U Conn men won national championships in 1999, 2004 and 2011.
[UCLA won ten titles the 11 years between 1964 and 1975, and again in 1995.]
U Conn has one of the most successful basketball programs (men and women) in the nation since 1995.
Most wins, 2138 in history.
Highest winning percentage in history.
Most NCAA tournament appearances (53) in history.
Most NCAA tournament wins (117) in history.
Second in national titles (8) to UCLA (11).
Ten years ago, 2004, U Conn became the first school in history to win the men's and women's titles the same year.
U Conn had teams in both finals four different times, with both winning just once.
This year the 8 and 7 seeds are the highest total (15) in modern history.
John Calipari is a legend himself having taken 3 different teams to the NCAA Final Four, and
three Final Fours. UK
Calipari has won 20 games 20 times and 30 games 8 times in his career.
- Gene Auriemmce Conn
Notre Dame - Muffet McGraw
U Conn and Notre Dame were ranked number 1 and 2 all season.
U Conn 39-0 and Notre Dame 38-0 are first unbeaten teams to meet in national championship.
U Conn going for 9th national championship, most in history.
U Conn is the defending national champion.
U Conn and Notre Dame were in last years' Final Four.
U Conn had the longest winning streak in college basketball, 90 games.
U Conn has won 8 national championships and been in 15 Final Fours.
Gene Auriemmce is tied with Pat Summit of
for most women's championships, 8 and is just two behind John Wooden of UCLA (10)
for most in men's and women's basketball. Tennessee
This is the 5th time U Conn, under Gene Aurimmce, could finish unbeaten and he lost 1 once three years.
McGraw has led Notre Dame to 6 Final Four appearances.
Notre Dame has won 1 national championship in 2001.
Under McGraw Notre Dame has been in 7 of the past 12 Sweet 16s.
Also under McGraw Notre has been in 16 NCAA tournaments including 14 straight.
So you get the drift. For the next day and a half politics and world affairs will take a back seat to March Madness as we come to the conclusion of a simply spectacular season in both men's and women's basketball.
The legends are coaching, the amazing pedigrees of the various programs are blue blood through and through, and no matter what happens history will be made, dreams will be fulfilled, and other dreams will be shattered.
Can the kiddie corp of
prevail over U
Conn? Which giant will be left standing
in the woman's final? Can Kentucky 's Aaron
Harrison nail an impossible 3 pointer and win his fourth straight tournament
game in the last seconds? Kentucky
Hang on folks and don't miss either one of the cliff hanger stories for you will be reading about them in the history books from now on..