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Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | March 3, 2022

6 March Madness records that could fall in 2022 — and why

Watch Shaq's 11 swats to set NCAA block record

In a matter of days, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee will reveal the 68-team NCAA tournament bracket and while you're waiting for Selection Sunday, you can read March Madness correspondent Andy Katz's bracket projections and follow our automatic bid tracker.

In preparation for the 2022 NCAA Tournament, I've analyzed the official NCAA tournament record book and identified records that could potentially be broken by players or schools who are likely to appear in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. The stats cited in this piece are current through March 2. Some advanced stats come from kenpom.com.

Rebounds in a game since 1973

The record: 26 rebounds
The record-holder: Michigan's Phil Hubbard
Opponent/date: Detroit Mercy; March 17, 1977

Who could break it: Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe

The all-time record for rebounds in a single game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament is 34, set by Temple's Fred Cohen in 1956. Bowling Green's Nate Thurmond (31) and Ohio State's Jerry Lucas (30) later reached the 30-rebound mark in the '60s.

But since 1973, a line that's drawn in the official record book, the single-game record is a still impressive but more manageable 26 boards, which Michigan's Phil Hubbard accomplished in the regional semifinals of the 1977 NCAA Tournament.

There's no surprise who's the leading candidate to potentially break that record this season. That's Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe, a 6-foot-9 forward who's a leading candidate for national player of the year. However you prefer to measure rebounds, whether on a raw, per-game basis — he's at a national-best 15.3 rebounds per game through March 2 — or on a percentage-basis — he's first in defensive rebounding rate (35.2 percent) and second on the offensive end (20.1 percent), per kenpom.com — Tshiebwe is a monster on the glass.

He also plays for a Kentucky team that's No. 5 in the NET rankings and No. 7 in the AP poll, as of March 3, which means the Wildcats are likely tracking toward a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. No. 2 seeds average just shy of 2.4 wins in the NCAA tournament, so if we can likely pencil in Kentucky to go to the Sweet 16 — at the very least — based on that average, then Tshiebwe will have at least three cracks at putting up a historic rebound total.

He pulled down 20 rebounds in each of Kentucky's first two games and he have five games with at least 20 boards in 30 contests this season, including a 28-rebound game against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are ranked No. 124 in the NET rankings and No. 113 on kenpom.com, so they're still a respectable opponent, one ranked near schools such as Butler, Nevada and Washington.

In a potential first-round matchup against a No. 15 seed or a theoretical second-round game against a No. 10 seed, could Tshiebwe pull down at least 20 boards? Absolutely. Now, 27 of them? We'll find out soon.

By the way, you could also include Tshiebwe as a candidate to break the record for most rebounds by a player in a single NCAA tournament since 1973. Kansas' Nick Collison holds the record with 81, or an average of 13.5 per game. Tshiebwe can almost certainly average that many rebounds over a six-game stretch, even against elite competition, but the question is if this Kentucky team, with two often-injured players in its starting backcourt, can win five games in a row in order to play for a title.

If Kentucky theoretically, bowed out in the Final Four, Tshiebwe would need to average 16.4 rebounds per game for five games in order to finish with at least 82 rebounds and one-up Collison.

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Blocked shots in a game

The record: 11 blocks
The record-holder: LSU's Shaquille O'Neal
Opponent/date: BYU; March 19, 1992

Who could break it: Auburn's Walker Kessler

To stay with the theme of talented SEC big men, Auburn's 7-foot-1 center Walker Kessler, who leads the country with 4.66 blocks per game, could make a run at the NCAA tournament single-game blocks record, which is held by another Tiger who played in the SEC, LSU's Shaquille O'Neal.

Kessler has two of the four highest single-game blocks totals in the sport this season, with 12 blocks against Texas A&M and 11 against LSU. With Auburn hovering around the cut line between the No. 1 seeds and No. 2 seeds, the Tigers could make a deep NCAA tournament run, although they need to figure out their late-game identity on offense, as they're just 4-3 in their last seven games, including an overtime win at Mississippi State on Wednesday.

Since Kessler's 11-block game against LSU in late December, which was part of his first of two triple-doubles this season, he hasn't gone more than four games without recording at least seven blocks in a game. Given enough chances, which Auburn's seed could certainly give Kessler, the talented Tiger can certainly put up some eye-popping block numbers and if he's able to tie his season-high block total of 12, he'd set a new NCAA tournament record.

Kansas' Jeff Withey holds the single-tournament record with 31 blocks in 2012, when the Jayhawks finished as the national runner-up. Auburn would likely need to make another Final Four run, as it did in 2019, for Kessler to make a serious run at the record. Navy's David Robinson holds the single-tournament blocked-shots average with 5.75 in 1986.

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Field-goal percentage in the NCAA tournament

The record: 81.5 percent (22-for-27)
The record-holder: La Salle's Jerrell Wright

Who could break it: Purdue's Zach Edey

With the established criteria that players must play at least three game games in the NCAA tournament and record a minimum of five field goals made per game, Purdue 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey could potentially make a run at this record. The national leader in field-goal percentage at 67.55 percent, Edey averages six made field goals per game and he has never attempted a 3-pointer in the first two years of his career, so he's just the archetype of the kind of player who could break the record.

Given his size, which allows him to back down smaller defenders (so, essentially every player in the country), Edey's touches almost exclusively come within a few feet of the basket, so much so that he often scores without dribbling.

It's not a surprise that five of the seven times this season in which Edey has shot at least 80 percent from the field in a game came against non-conference opponents, rather than Big Ten competition, but he has had separate three-game stretches in which he has shot 82.6 percent from the field (against Butler, Incarnate Word and Nicholls State), 76.9 percent (Bellarmine, Indiana State and Wright State), and 75 percent (Villanova, Omaha, Florida State). Given the right combination of NCAA tournament opponents, Edey could potentially shoot better than the 81.5 percent of La Salle's Jerrell Wright in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Most Final Four appearances by a head coach

The record: 12 appearances
The record-holders: John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski

Who could break it: Mike Krzyzewski

How would this be for a storybook ending to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's career?

No one will catch former UCLA coach John Wooden's 10 national championships — he has twice as many as Coach K, who ranks second all time — but the two coaches each have 12 Final Four appearances.

Krzyzewski has one season left to potentially break the tie and set a new record, and he has a team that's good enough to win four games in a row in March Madness. The Blue Devils' jarring turnover disparity in three of their four losses could be something of an Achilles heel, but they rank No. 4 in the AP poll, No. 5 on kenpom.com and No. 6 in the NET rankings, as of March 3, and they're as talented as about any team in the country.

With a team that's currently on track to be a No. 2 seed, according to Bracket Matrix, Krzyzewki is four NCAA tournament wins away from wrestling away a record that's currently shared with Wooden, and that's an achievement in itself.

By the way, Krzyzewski is likely to break a tie with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who in 2021 tied Krzyzewski with 35 career NCAA tournament appearances, which ranks first all time. Duke clinched the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament, while Syracuse (15-15, 9-10 ACC) will need to win the automatic bid in the conference for Boeheim to keep pace. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, by the way, will likely tie Krzyzewski's record of 24 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, a streak that ended for Coach K last season. Kansas coach Bill Self is one just behind Izzo, too. The canceled 2020 NCAA Tournament did not count against active streaks.

Most Final Four games in program history

The record: 34 games
The record-holder: North Carolina

Who could break it: UCLA

UCLA, which is a consensus, projected No. 4 seed for the 2022 NCAA tournament, has appeared in 33 Final Four games, which includes both national semifinal and national championship games, but doesn't include vacated games.

That's one game behind North Carolina, which has played in 34 games in the Final Four in program history.

The Bruins are coming off of the second-ever First Four-to-Final Four run, as a No. 11 seed, and now they're on track to potentially earn the kind of seed that expects to reach the Final Four.

It's a big ask for any team, but if UCLA makes it to the national championship game, which the Bruins were so close to doing last season, then they'll leapfrog the Tar Heels for the most appearances at the Final Four for any DI men's basketball program.

Most schools from one state in one tournament

The record: Seven
The record-holders: California (2002) and Texas (2010 and 2021)

Who could break it: Texas

As of the morning of March 3, there are eight projected NCAA tournament teams from the state of Texas, according to Bracket Matrix: Baylor, Texas Tech, Houston, Texas, TCU, North Texas, Texas State and Texas Southern. Now, three of those schools are the projected conference tournament champions from historically one-bid conferences and anything can happen in March, so it's too early to pencil in all three into the 2022 NCAA tournament field.

But I'm saying there's a chance.

Plus, could another school that's not listed above make a run to claim an automatic bid? Stephen F. Austin or Sam Houston in the WAC? SMU in the AAC? UTEP in Conference USA?

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