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Mike Lopresti | | March 30, 2018

These 64 Final Four numbers will surprise you

The many faces of Michigan's spark plug Moritz Wagner

SAN ANTONIO -- What’s this Final Four have, besides a famous nun? Numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. Here are 64, for the 64 teams left behind in this NCAA Tournament.

46 – Loyola-Chicago’s spot on the NCAA seed list.

38 – Teams who received more votes in the Associated Press preseason poll than Michigan.

43 – Teams who appeared in the AP poll at least once this season. Loyola wasn’t one of them.

30 – Years since an unranked team has won the national championship. Kansas and Danny Manning.

Loyola Chicago's road to the Final Four
4 – Tournament conferences champions in the Final Four. That hasn’t happened since 2008 – the last time the Final Four was in San Antonio.

0 – Villanova victories in this NCAA Tournament by under 12 points.

8 – Victories by Kansas, Michigan and Loyola in this tournament by four points or fewer.

149 – Men who have coached a team to the Final Four, with Porter Moser being the latest.

33 – Coaches who have gone at least three times to the Final Four, with Bill Self and Jay Wright joining the club.

0 – Big Ten national champions in the past 17 years.

6 – Big Ten schools who have played in the national championship game in the past 17 years. That includes Michigan in 2013.

1979 – The last time a Missouri Valley Conference team made it to the national championship game. Indiana State and Larry Bird.

2 – Is someone in blue missing? This is only the second time in 11 years the Final Four has not included either Duke, Kentucky or North Carolina.

16,345 – Kansas average home attendance this season, best of the Final Four.

2,405 – Loyola’s average home attendance this season.

Michigan's road to the Final Four
8 – Points scored for Oklahoma State in its 56-53 NCAA Tournament loss in to Princeton in 1983, by a guard named Bill Self.

12-4 – Loyola’s all-time record in the NCAA Tournament. The 75 winning percentage is higher than Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina or UCLA.

32-61 –Porter Moser’s record his first three seasons at Loyola-Chicago.

51-68 – Moser’s record in four seasons at Illinois State, which got him fired. “Adversity doesn’t have to define you,” he said of coming back from that. “Some of the worst things that’s happened in my life, starting at a young age, some of the best things have followed.”

9-0 – Moser’s Loyola record in the postseason. That includes this NCAA Tournament and the College Basketball Invitational title in 2015.

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320 – Teams in America who shot free throws better than Michigan.

86.6 – Villanova’s scoring average, the highest in the nation. Only three scoring champions in history have won national championships.

91.8 – Loyola’s scoring average in 1963. The Ramblers were one of those three.

29 – Years since a national championship game was won by one point. That was Michigan’s title over Seton Hall in overtime.

5 – Combined winning margin of Villanova’s two national championship games. The Wildcats beat Georgetown by two in 1985, and North Carolina by three in 2016.

4  Loyola sports that use Gentile Arena, meaning extra practice time can get a little tricky. “This journey has been a complete grassroots rebuild,” Moser said. Ground is being broken this spring for a new practice facility.

18 – Conference titles for Bill Self in his last 20 seasons as coach.

2nd – Place the other two teams finished.

84-80 – Score of the Loyola defeat in the 1964 Sweet 16 round which ended its national championship defense. The loss came against  . . . Michigan. The two last met in 1969.

Dec. 18, 2018 – Villanova’s away game at Kansas. The teams agreed to play the next two seasons long before they showed up in the same Final Four.

24 – Minutes played this season by Kansas walk-on Chris Teahan. They are significant because every Final Four team that Self has coached had a Teahan on the roster. Chris’ brother Conner was on the team in 2008 and ’12.

1 – Members of the Loyola program with any Final Four experience. Assistant Drew Valentine was a graduate assistant for Michigan State during its 2015 run. The last name might ring a bell. He’s Denzel Valentine’s brother.

Kansas' road to the Final Four
1 – Times in the past 20 years that the national champion has not come from the Eastern time zone. The lone exception was Kansas 10 years ago.

6-1 – Michigan’s record in national semifinal games.  The only loss was 91-80 to Duke in 1964. Since then, the Wolverines have won six in a row.

21-3 – Kansas’ record this season against teams in the NCAA Tournament.

255 – College games played by the point guards in the Kansas-Villanova game; Devonte’ Graham and Jalen Brunson.

142 – Games played by Michigan guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman. The next one sets a school record.
5 – Players in Loyola’s top six who are in their fourth year in college. In other words, this is not the Final Four of mass one-and-dones. “Personally with me, I think the best teams are the ones that your most talented kids are your youngest kids, but your foundation is always your upperclassmen,” Self said.

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4 – Schools taken to the NCAA Tournament by Michigan coach John Beilein. The others were Canisius, Richmond and West Virginia.

11.3 – Average losing margin in the Final Four of No. 11 seeds, who are 0-3. Loyola, you’re on.

3, 6, 11 – National rankings in field goal percentage by Loyola, Villanova and Kansas.

56 – Michigan’s ranking in field goal percentage.

6.4 – Phil Booth’s scoring average for Villanova in 11 career NCAA Tournament games, not counting the 2016 national championship game.

20 – Booth’s point total in that championship game. “Just one of those days,” he said. “They were taking away our first, second and third options. I was able to make some shots.”

5 and 8 – Michigan’s seeds in the past two Big Ten tournaments. The Wolverines won them both. “The Big Ten championship drives me,” John Beilein said. “If you win a Big Ten championship in any way, then you can win a national championship. After that, it’s about breaks and anything can happen. But that’s how I want to be judged; did we compete for Big Ten championships?”

3 – Big 12 teams Villanova will have played in a row with Kansas. The Wildcats have beaten West Virginia and Texas Tech. “We’re playing the best of the best,” Phil Booth said. “We’re going from 3-2-1 in the Big 12.”

2012—The last time Michigan averaged more than 10 turnovers a game under Beilein and did not finish in the top 10 in the nation. The average this season is 9.2, good for second.

5 –Loyola players averaging in double figures scoring. The last time the Ramblers did that over a full season was 1963. Their national championship year.

5 – Different Loyola players to lead the Ramblers in scoring in their last five games; the Missouri Valley championship and four NCAA Tournament games.

Villanova's road to the Final Four
0 – Points by Ben Richardson in Loyola’s first-round upset of Miami.

23 – Points by Ben Richardson in Loyola’s regional championship win over Kansas State.

6:08 – Time Villanova has trailed in the second half in four NCAA Tournament games – all against West Virginia.

12-1 – Michigan’s record the past five NCAA Tournaments against lower or equal seeded opponents.

11 – Minutes played by Jordan Poole for Michigan in two games last weekend, after his game-winning shot at the buzzer against Houston in the second round.

12.0 – Malik Newman’s scoring average for Kansas during the regular season.

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22.7 – Newman’s average since the Big 12 tournament began. “He’s become arguably as scary as Graham,” Jay Wright said. “And that’s why they’re here.”

9 – Kids in the Beilein family. John was second youngest.

7 – Three-pointers Villanova needs to pass VMI’s all-time season record of 442.

28-0 – Michigan’s record when Division III transfer Duncan Robinson scores six or more points.

3 – Michigan’s seed line in this tournament.

3 – Michigan’s seed line in the 1989 tournament – the only national championship in school history.

63 and 101 – Jalen Brunson’s national rank in scoring and assists, as compared to 1 and 1 for Oklahoma’s Trae Young. But when it came time for Associated Press player of the year Thursday, Brunson was the one with the award, extolling Villanova’s enormously successful culture. “I think the outside gets the perception that we’re just so machined and we’re so robotic and we don’t have any emotion,” he said. “This is  fun. I love being part of this program.”

6 – National championship game losses by Duke and Kansas, to co-lead the nation. So the Jayhawks have a chance to move into No. 1 by themselves Monday night.

5 – National championship losses by Michigan. So the Wolverines have a chance to make it a three-way tie.

But they’re all thinking more on the bright side. Loyola or Michigan could win its second national championship this weekend to join Villanova on the all-time list. Villanova could win its third to join Kansas. Kansas could win its fourth to join UConn. Let the numbers, and the Final Four, roll.

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