Duke, earning its fourth consecutive Final Four berth, joined some elite company on Sunday. Only UCLA (1967-76) and Cincinnati (1959-63) have advanced to four or more consecutive Final Fours.
Since freshman weren't ineligible for both of those dynasties, the Blue Devils can claim the first four-year Final Four player, senior forward Greg Koubek.Despite their tournament success, the Blue Devils have yet to win a national championship with Koubek, losing in the semifinals in 1988 and 1989 before being blown out by UNLV, 103-73, in the championship last year.
Clay Buckley, a senior forward, has been on all four Final Four teams but did not play in 1988.
There will be no shortage of Final Four experience in this year's class. Including this year, the four schools have combined for 32 Final Four appearances, winning five titles.
North Carolina, making their 10th appearance overall and eighth under Dean Smith, won championships in 1957 and 1982. Kansas and Duke are next with nine appearances each. The Jayhawks won championships in 1952 and 1988 while the Blue Devils are looking for their first. UNLV, making its fourth Final Four appearance and third in five years, is looking for its second championship to go along with last year's.
North Carolina coach Dean Smith is one win away from adding his name to the record book once again.
The Tar Heels' 75-72 victory over Temple on Sunday was his 47th tournament win, tying him with legendary UCLA coach John Wooden for the best all-time. Ironically, in order to pass Wooden, Smith will have to beat Kansas, coached by Roy Williams. Williams served as an assistant under Smith for 10 years before moving on to Kansas in 1988.
Making the Final Four for the fourth year in a row may prove to be a bittersweet blessing for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski who gets the dubious honor of matching up again with UNLV.
UNLV currently has the fourth all-time longest winning streak at 45, the 11th of which was a 103-73 victory over the Blue Devils in last year's championship game.
In that game, Anderson Hunt scored 29 en route to tournament MVP honors and Larry Johnson added 22 as the Runnin' Rebels outscored Duke 56-38 in the second half.
Krzyzewski, no stranger to the Final Four, is making his fifth appearance, finishing second to Louisville in 1986 in addition to last year's runner-up finish.
This will be the second Final Four in Indianapolis. In the only other Final Four held there, Darrell Griffith and Louisville's Doctors of Dunk beat the Larry Brown-coached UCLA Bruins 59-54.
But unlike that Final Four where the four teams, Louisville, Purdue, Iowa and UCLA combined for 29 losses and were No. 2, No. 20, unranked and unranked, respectively, in the final AP poll, this group experienced greater regular-season success. UNLV is No. 1, while North Carolina, Duke and Kansas are ranked No. 4, 6 and 12, respectively, while collectively losing 19.