Men’s 2023 Final Four Team’s History
This year’s Final Four isn’t nearly as close to what any fans expected.
No. 4 seed, two No. 5 seeds and a No. 9 seed.
Let’s take a look at these teams' program history and how they punched their ticket to Houston.
Miami has made 12 tournament appearances since 1960 and have a combined 15-11 record.
Six out of 12 appearances have been in the past 10 years, all thanks to Jim Larranaga.
Jim Larranaga has been Miami’s head coach since 2011 and is a key factor in Miami’s tournament appearances and successes.
Before Larranaga’s reign, Frank Haith coached Miami to two tournament appearances in 2002, 2008 and Perry Clark coached Miami to the tournament three consecutive years 1998-2000.
The highest seed Miami has ever been in the tournament was a No. 2 seed in 1999 and 2013, both resulting in losses in the Sweet 16.
However, 2013 seemed to be the Hurricanes’ turning point as Larranga was voted Coach of the Year and also led the team to their first ACC Tournament Title in program history.
In Hurricane history they haven’t made it past the Elite Eight and their first appearance was actually just last year in 2022.
This marks their first time advancing to the Final Four and their first true shot at a trip to the championship.
Florida Atlantic Owls
The Owls may reside in the same state, but they have a completely different history.
FAU has only made the tournament twice in its program’s history and it is 4-1 so far.
Its first appearance was in 2002 after sneaking into the tournament as a No.15 seed.
Unfortunately, the Owls fell to No. 2 Alabama in the first round of the tournament.
This tournament run is only their second appearance but they are surely making the most of it.
Not only is this their first Final Four appearance but this is their first time making it past the first round.
Win or lose, a truly historical run for the Owls.
Dusty May was an assistant coach until FAU hired him as head coach in 2018, and he has led the team to its greatest seasons in history.
Out of the remaining teams, the Huskies are the most experienced dancers.
UConn has won four national championships. Its most recent title was earned in 2014 following their 2011, 2004, and 1999 titles.
UConn is among the top 10 teams with the most NCAA National Championships, and is the sixth winningest team tied with Indiana.
The Huskies have appeared in the tournament 36 times and have a combined 63-32 record in the madness.
They have been to a total of six final fours and went on to win the national title four out of the six times.
UConn’s legendary Jim Calhoun, one of the greatest college basketball coaches, led the Huskies to three of their four national titles as he coached from 1986-2012.
After Calhoun’s retirement, Kevin Ollie took over leading the Huskies to their fourth national championship
Dan Hurley took over for Ollie in 2018 and has led UConn to three tournament appearances since then, including this year’s historic run.
It is safe to say UConn is the most experienced Final Four team as they have had their fair share of coaches, players and successful tournament runs.
San Diego State Aztecs
As for the Aztecs, they definitely have some experience of their own.
They have appeared in the tournament 15 times and have an overall 10-14 record.
They reached the Sweet Sixteen three times including this year, 2014 and 2011.
This year they reached the Elite Eight and Final Four for the first time in program history.
Historic coach Steve Fisher, coached from 1999-2017 and contributed to many years of San Diego State ’s successes including eight appearances and the Aztecs first Sweet Sixteen.
Ever since Brian Dutcher took over in 2017, he has led the team to their best seasons yet and has helped the Aztecs achieve many milestones.
Dutcher has made four tournament appearances and in 2020, the Aztecs were ranked in the Top 10 with a 30-2 record and were considered a lock for the 2020 tournament before it was canceled due to COVID-19.
These four coaches are some of the best coaches of their school’s respective history and each and everyone of them is hungry for their first national title.
Four teams. Four coaches. Two games. All contribute to who will head to the championship on Monday night.
As we have learned this year more than ever, the Big Dance is so unpredictable and truly anything can happen.
This is what March is all about.
Gia Sabatino is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, please email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Gia Sabatino is a first-year student at Penn State. She is a Communications major in broadcast journalism. In her first semester she has become really involved with CommRadio in the sports department. She had been writing articles and getting good experience within the club by shadowing board ops and talk shows. She also completed her first play by play call for a JV Boys Soccer game at State College High School. She is looking forward to all the opportunities that CommRadio has to offer along with meeting new people and making more connections. Gia is getting adjusted to Penn State and learning how to manage her classes while being in a club so she is taking things one step at a time. She is interested in joining a sorority in the spring and looking at other communication clubs as well. Gia is from Phoenixville, PA which is outside of Philly and she attended Pope John Paul II High School. There she managed the basketball team and kept the score and book for varsity her junior and senior year. She is hoping to do something like this at Penn State in the future.