A thought popped into my head yesterday (it happens). As the Aughts end, Syracuse is one of the few teams lucky enough to make a Final Four in the this decade (26 teams by my count). Just as they made one in the decade before. And the one before that. And the one before that. 2003, 1996, 1987 and 1975 (Roy Danforth's forgotten FF team). Impressive.
And so I wondered...just how impressive is that? How many teams that accomplished the same thing. Can't be many, right? So I took to the one source I knew would never lie to me, Wikipedia, and found out. It's a rather elite collection of six schools that have sent a team to the Final Four at least once in the last four decades:
- Syracuse - 1975, 1987, 1996, 2003
- Indiana - 1976, 1981, 1987, 1992, 2002
- UCLA - 1970 - 1973, 1975 - 1976, 1980, 1995, 2006 - 2008
- Kansas - 1971, 1974, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 2002, 2008
- Duke - 1978, 1986, 1988 - 1992, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2004
- North Carolina - 1972, 1977, 1981- 1982, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 - 1998, 2000, 2005, 2008 - 2009
I'm not saying Syracuse is among the six best programs in the nation over that time, there's certainly been a lot of ups and downs in between. I'm just saying Syracuse has been a consistent presence in the college basketball spotlight for a long-ass time and remember that next time someone starts talking about how UConn (1st Final Four - 1999) is a better program.
Plus, this means SU is due for another one at some point in the next ten years, so, stay loose.
In case you're wondering, three of those teams (UCLA, Duke and North Carolina) also went to Final Fours in the 60's. And as for North Carolina, they've actually been at least one Final Four in every decade since the 40's. So, tip of the hat on that, Heels.