BOZICH | This is the Best Final Four since ... 2008? 2001? 1991? - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | This is the Best Final Four since ... 2008? 2001? 1991?

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Rick Bozich of WDRB will cover his 33rd consecutive Final Four in Indianapolis on Saturday. Rick Bozich of WDRB will cover his 33rd consecutive Final Four in Indianapolis on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I operate under the philosophy that I've never seen a bad Final Four.

This weekend in Indianapolis, I'll cover my 33rd in a row – a wonderful streak that began when I called North Carolina State's jarring upset over Houston at The Pit, the most unforgettable thing to unfold in Albuquerque, N.M. until “Breaking Bad.”

You never know when Keith Smart, Mario Chalmers or even Tim Henderson will steal the stage. But this Final Four, featuring Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke and Michigan State, looks like the best Final Four since … probably 2008. I'm open to contrary opinions.

1. Combined losses: 18.

Is that a low number? You bet.

The four teams that made it to Texas last season dragged 27 losses with them. Louisville, Michigan, Wichita State and Syracuse had been beaten 29 times before they played in the Georgia Dome two years ago. I won't get into the Butler, VCU Final Four.

The 2015 total is the lowest since 2008, when four top seeds (Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA) carried nine defeats into San Antonio.

2. Likely Hall of Fame Coaches: 4.

Only sharpies next apply this weekend.

Mike Krzyzewski of Duke celebrated his Hall of Fame moment long ago. Kentucky coach John Calipari and Bo Ryan of Wisconsin will get the word whether they are part of the Class of 2015 Monday.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is a cinch to head to Springfield, Mass., seconds after he becomes eligible.

The last Final Four with four likely Hall of Famers was 2001. That group of teams included three guys already in the Hall – Krzyzewski; Lute Olson (Arizona) and Gary Williams of Maryland. Izzo will make four.

The last Final Four with four guys who have been voted into the Hall was played in Indianapolis in 1991. Krzyzewski, Williams, Dean Smith of North Carolina and Jerry Tarkanian (UNLV) competed that weekend.

3. Projected first-round NBA Draft picks: 9.

If you use as a guideline, nine first-round picks will play in Indianapolis Saturday.

Kentucky leads with four – Karl-Anthony Towns (projected overall top pick); forward Willie Cauley-Stein (6th); guard Devin Booker (17) and forward Trey Lyles (19).

Three Duke freshmen are also projected to be called in round one – Jahlil Okafor (2); Justise Winslow (5) and Tyus Jones (26).

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has developed two guys: center Frank Kaminsky (10) and forward Sam Dekker (16th).

There is a reason those 2008 teams were great: Derrick Rose of Memphis; Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison of UCLA; Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson of North Carolina and Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers of Kansas all crackled with talent.

4. McDonald's all-Americans: 18.

Quite a list, although it tilts toward two schools – Kentucky and Duke.

Wisconsin is blanked in this category. In fact, the Badgers have only successfully recruited two McDonald's all-American in the history of the program. That would be the inimitable Brian Butch in 2003 and Rashard Griffith 10 years earlier. Don't ask whatever happened to Butch and Griffith. I don't know.

Michigan State has one – forward Branden Dawson.

At the beginning of this season, Duke and Kentucky were tied with nine McDonald's all-Americans. Then Krzyzewski booted Rasheed Sulaimon from the team. Now Kentucky leads nine-to-eight, if you count Alex Poythress, who has missed most of the season with a knee injury.

5. Accessibility: 606 miles or less.

Talk about a scalper's delight. All four teams arrive from campuses within driving distance of Lucas Oil Stadium – and fans of three programs can make their way to Indianapolis in five hours or less.

Duke has the longest trek – roughly 606 miles from Durham, N.C. Wisconsin fans must cover 330 miles from Madison, but like Michigan State fans, they know the way because of the Big Ten Tournament. For Sparty, the trip is merely 254 miles from East Lansing.

For Kentucky the number is less than a full tank of gas -- an easy 190 miles. Kentucky fans packed the venue a year ago when Kentucky played at Lucas Oil in the regional. I'd be surprised if there were fewer than 20,000 Kentucky fans in the building Saturday.

Anybody got two to sell?

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