|First 2 teams in the Final Four come from Big East|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 28 March 2009 13:41|
Connecticut, the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, beat Missouri 82-75 on Saturday for the first team to qualify of the Big East's four that reached the regional finals.
The second berth was assured as soon as the East Regional semifinals were over, with top-seeded Pittsburgh and Villanova advancing to Saturday night's championship game.
The Big East, which set records in this tournament with three No. 1 seeds, five teams in the round of 16 and the four in the regional finals, can match its own record with three in the Final Four if top-seeded Louisville can beat Michigan State in the Midwest Regional on Sunday.
Villanova beat Georgetown in the all-Big East 1985 championship game and St. John's also reached the Final Four that year, the only time one conference has had three teams in the national semifinals.
JUST DESERTS: Connecticut's third Final Four appearance came just like the other two, from a regional final in Arizona.
The Huskies advanced through Phoenix in 1999 and 2004, and went on to win the national championship both times.
Saturday's 82-75 victory over Missouri in the West Regional final was played in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix.
In all three Final Four runs Huskies coach Jim Calhoun missed all or part of a game in the early rounds because of illness. In 1999, he missed the first-round win over Texas-San Antonio and in 2004, he missed most of the second half of the second-round victory over DePaul.
Last week, in Philadelphia, he missed the opening-round over Chattanooga when he was treated for dehydration.
STILL WAITING: Missouri's wait for its first Final Four appearance will continue as the Tigers lost 82-75 to top-seeded Connecticut in the West Regional final on Saturday.
Missouri's last chance at advancing to the Final Four came in 2002, but the Tigers lost 81-75 to fellow Big 12 member Oklahoma, also in the West Regional.
Missouri's other losses in the round of eight came in 1944, when only eight teams were in the tournament, 1976 and 1994.
DECEIVING STAT: Most experts said Missouri's only chance to beat Connecticut in the West Regional final was to force the Huskies into turnovers, something the Tigers were able to do to opponents all season by averaging 10.2 steals per game.
They had 10 steals on Saturday and were able to force the Huskies into 17 turnovers, 4.5 above their season average, but it still wasn't enough to avert an 82-75 loss.
Connecticut had eight blocks, just better than their season average of 7.8, which led the nation.