Mar 25, 2023 - Sports

Charted: Final Four breakthrough

Data: NCAA; Note: Minnesota, St. Joseph's and Western Kentucky had their only appearances in the Final Four vacated; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Four out of the eight programs playing in the Elite Eight this weekend will have an opportunity to go to the Final Four for the first time in school history.

The big picture: 91 of the 358 Division I basketball programs have made at least one Final Four since 1939. On Saturday and Sunday, the following schools will have an opportunity to join that list:

  • Creighton - 24 NCAA tournament appearances
  • San Diego State - 15 appearances
  • Miami - 12 appearances
  • Florida Atlantic - 2 appearances

It's also the first-ever Elite Eight without a No. 1 seed.

By the numbers: BYU leads the way with 30 NCAA tournament appearances without making a Final Four. The Cougars did not make the NCAA Tournament in 2023.

  • Missouri and Xavier are tied for second with 29 appearances.

When comparing the schools to two of the most recent Cinderella runs to the Final Four, the figures become even more striking.

  • Loyola Chicago, which made a run to the Final Four in 2018 as an 11-seed, has gone to two Final Fours, despite making the NCAA Tournament just eight times in program history.
  • George Mason made a Final Four run in 2006 as an 11-seed despite making the NCAA Tournament just six times in program history. The Patriots have not made a March Madness appearance since 2011.

The schedule: One of the group of four teams will be guaranteed a spot in the Final Four, with Creighton playing San Diego State in the South regional final on Sunday at 2 pm EST.

The other games:

  • In the East regional final, Florida Atlantic will play Kansas State on Saturday at 6:09 pm EST.
  • In the Midwest regional final, Miami will play Texas on Sunday at 4:55 pm EST.
  • In the West regional final, Gonzaga plays UConn on Saturday at 8:49 pm EST.
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