NCAA Tournament, Regional Finals, Day 7 open thread
by Bob Timmermann
It's time for a couple of teams to book a trip to beautiful San Antonio. I've never been to San Antonio so I can't say for sure that it's beautiful, but it seems like the polite thing to say.
After suffering through four blowouts Friday, let's hope we get a pair of close games. Then again, I'm not going to be watching them as I'll be heading off to the Coliseum for the Dodgers-Red Sox exhibition. But I'm sure my radio or BlackBerry will provide me with everything I need to know.
The schedule (as always in PT):
3:40 pm - #3 Xavier (30-6) vs #1 UCLA (34-3) at Phoenix (West) - Both schools have set school records for wins in a season. UCLA has been to the Final Four. A lot. 17 times, although the NCAA will tell you that it's just 16 because the 1980 appearance didn't happen on account of Sam Gilbert. Xavier played in the 2004 Atlanta Regional final, but lost to Duke by 3. The Bruins and Musketeers met once before, back in the second round in 1997 in the Midwest Regional in a game played in Auburn Hills, Michigan. UCLA won that day 96-83 behind 28 points from Charles O'Bannon. UCLA went on to lose in the regional final to Minnesota 80-72, which is the last time UCLA has lost a regional final. UCLA has lost only two other regional finals: 1979 to DePaul and 1992 to Indiana. I couldn't find Xavier's fight song, so this will have to take its place.
6:05 pm - #3 Louisville (27-8) vs #1 North Carolina (35-2) at Charlotte (East) - These schools have NCAA pedigrees longer than a Best in Show at Westminster. Louisville has been to the Final Four eight times and has won twice. North Carolina has been to the Final Four 16 times. So if the Tar Heels win, they will set an NCAA record with 17 Final Fours, which is one more than what UCLA officially has. Unless of course, UCLA wins earlier in the day. In which case, both teams will officially have 17 Final Four appearances. Remember 1980's Final Four really had just three teams in it. And one of them was Louisville. But perhaps the NCAA has a point. The 1980 Final Four was played here.
North Carolina has played 25 NCAA tournament games in its home state and has lost just one, a 73-69 loss to Penn in Raleigh in 1979.
Ham Fighter Nation leads the Griddle's bracket contest and will still lead at the end of the day unless BOTH Xavier and Louisville win. However, Ham Fighter Nation's wagon is hitched to the Kansas Jayhawks and it will be nearly impossible for him to win without Bill Self hoisting the trophy in San Antonio.