HOUSTON -- It's a stark contrast between the 2023 Final Four and the 2022 Final Four. Last year featured blue bloods everywhere. Duke, North Carolina, Villanova, Kansas. Sixty-one combined Final Four appearances, 18 combined national championships.
This year? Three of the four teams had never been to a Final Four before this season. One had never even won an NCAA tournament game before this season.
It's not all that dissimilar to the 2011 Final Four in Houston, which featured a 3-seed, 4-seed, 8-seed and 11-seed. This year, we have 5-seed San Diego State facing 9-seed Florida Atlantic -- don't call them Cinderellas! -- on one side (6:09 p.m. ET, CBS), and 5-seed Miami battling 4-seed UConn on the other (8:49 p.m. ET, CBS). The Huskies enter the national semifinals carrying the torch for historical value, with five Final Fours and four national titles in program history. They're also the favorite to cut down the nets this season.
There are more secrets than there were between last season's quartet, given that these four teams rarely face one another during the regular season. There is no Duke vs. North Carolina Part 3 on the agenda.
So we spoke to several coaches who have faced them this season to get a feel for what to expect Saturday -- and on Monday in the national title game.
Why is San Diego State so tough defensively? What has sparked this special FAU run? How can you slow down Miami's guards? Why has UConn been so dominant in the NCAA tournament?
Answers to those questions and more: