The Final Four now includes a No. 7 and No. 8 seed after March 30. But since the NCAA tournament has been a haven for high seeds to excel lately, a Final Four with two mid-level seeds isn't an anomaly. Nevertheless, the Connecticut Huskies and Kentucky Wildcats were never ordinary seven and eight seeds, as they proved again by winning their regionals on March 30.
The Huskies were the more surprising winner, knocking off the Michigan State Spartans by 60-54 to win the East. Meanwhile, although the Wildcats were a No. 8 seed facing the second seeded, defending national runner-up Michigan Wolverines, their 75-72 win stunned no one. Yet the way Kentucky did it was eye opening, as Aaron Harrison clinched it on a three pointer with under three seconds left.
Both regional finals were games of spurts, as the Huskies jumped to a 12-2 lead, then fell behind by 10 early in the second half, only to jump back ahead for good. The Wildcats fell behind by 10 in the first half before tying it up at halftime, then traded runs with the Wolverines until Michigan drew even in the final minute. However, that set the stage for Harrison's fourth and biggest three pointer of the final four minutes.
Connecticut and Kentucky both made the Final Four with as much difficulty as possible. The Huskies beat the top three seeds in the East, while the Wildcats took out three of last season's Final Four schools. Yet technically, runs like this aren't new to March Madness in this century.
The Huskies and Wildcats are the 12'th and 13'th teams to make the Final Four with a seed lower than a No. 4 since 2000. Yet none of them won a national title, which doesn't bode well for the Huskies or Wildcats.
There hasn't been a Final Four like this since 2000, when a No. 5 and two No. 8 seeds made it. The Florida Gators and Wisconsin Badgers made the national semifinals then too, while the North Carolina Tar Heels were the No. 8 seed to win a regional that year. However, the Spartans won it all in 2000 and won't be doing it again this year, so some things are different.
The accompanying list details the other high seeds to make the Final Four since 2000, although none of them completed their Cinderella runs on a high note.