Skip to main content

The Best Dual Final Four Runs in NCAA History

SouthCarolinaGamecocks_2017FinalFour_gamecocksonline.jpg

South Carolina is just the latest school to place both its men’s and women’s basketball teams in the Final Four in the same year. You can probably guess some of the others (ahem, UConn), while a few more may come as a surprise. (Can anyone remember either team from 1983?)

Image placeholder title

With both of this year’s Final Fours just days away, we figured now is as good of a time as any to look back at the previous nine schools to accomplish the feat, ranking them by most impressive showings.

Of course, they’re all pretty darn impressive, and fans of any school would gladly take just one Final Four appearance from either of its basketball teams.

— Compiled by Matt Fortuna, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and spent six seasons covering college football for ESPN.com. Fortuna’s work has been honored by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) seven times. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_Fortuna and like his Facebook page.

(Frank Martin photo courtesy of www.gamecocksonline.com)

9. LSU (2006)

Image placeholder title

The SEC leads us off on this list, as Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Tyrus Thomas helped lead fourth-seeded LSU to the Final Four 11 years ago before the Tigers succumbed to a loaded UCLA team, 59-45, in the semifinals. (UCLA went on to lose to Florida two nights later.) LSU’s women’s team fell in the semis as well, as the Lady Tigers were routed by Duke, 64-45. Duke later lost to Maryland in the title game.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

8. Georgia (1983)

Image placeholder title

Georgia’s men’s and women’s team both lost to the national champions, with the fourth-seeded men falling to Jimmy Valvano’s historic NC State team, 87-80, in the national semifinal. The run was memorable for the Dawgs, as it marked their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. The women’s team lost to USC by 24, before the Women of Troy beat Louisiana Tech by two to win it all.

(Photo courtesy of www.georgiadogs.com)

7. Texas (2003)

Image placeholder title

Both Texas teams ended up losing semifinal thrillers to the eventual national champions. The women’s team suffered a 71-69 loss to UConn — which later got past Tennessee by five to win it all — while the men’s team, led by T.J. Ford, ran into Syracuse in a high-octane affair, a 95-84 loss. 

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

6. Syracuse (2016)

Which Final Four run was more improbable? Syracuse’s men’s team's, which barely got into the Tournament and then made it to the Final Four as a No. 10 seed? Or the Orange’s women’s team's, which was a No. 4 seed but had never made it to the Final Four before? The women’s team ended up making it all the way to the title game before falling to UConn, 82-51, but it was a memorable spring in Central New York all the way around. (The men fell to North Carolina in last year's semis, 83-66.)

Image placeholder title

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

5. Michigan State (2005)

MSU’s top-seeded women’s team made it all the way to the national title game in 2005 before falling to Baylor, 84-62. The Spartans’ men’s team survived a double-overtime thriller with Kentucky in the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina, 87-71, in the national semifinals.

Image placeholder title

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

4. Oklahoma (2002)

The Sooners’ women’s team put forth a valiant effort in its run to the national game, and even in the game itself, but — you guessed it — UConn was just too much, winning 82-70 to capture its third national title. The second-seeded men’s team lost to Indiana 74-64 in the national semifinals. Then-Sooners coach Kelvin Sampson would end up coaching the Hoosiers four years later.

Image placeholder title

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

3. Duke (1999)

Image placeholder title

This trip down memory lane may be bittersweet for Blue Devils fans, as Trajan Langdon and the men’s team lost to UConn in the title game, 77-74, despite being 9.5-point favorites. The game gave the Huskies their first national title, as the program would go on to win three more over the next 14 years. Duke’s women’s team, meanwhile, had lost one night earlier to Purdue, 62-45, in the national title game.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

2. Louisville (2013)

Outside of a certain program in Storrs, Conn., Louisville has come closer than anyone to winning both the men’s and women’s national titles in the same season. The men’s team won it all in memorable fashion, beating Michigan 82-76 in an instant classic to cap off a run that featured the last Big East Tournament title (as we know it), an Elite Eight rout of Duke after guard Kevin Ware went down with a gruesome leg injury and a close call against Wichita State in the national semifinals. The night after the top-seeded men won it all — giving coach Rick Pitino his second national title — the fifth-seeded women’s team’s storybook run came up just short, as the Cardinals fell to UConn 93-60.

Image placeholder title

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

1. UConn (2004, 2009, 2011, 2014)

What’s the most remarkable part of this? That both programs have made the same Final Four in four different years? Or that both programs have won it all in two different years? The 2004 and '14 versions of the Huskies took home both the men’s and women’s crowns, with Diana Taurasi and Emeka Okafor leading the charges the first time around and Breanna Stewart and Shabazz Napier leading each program 10 years later. That 2014 women’s team finished 40-0, winning the ninth of its 11 national titles, and its second straight. That streak is currently at four, and the Huskies have the chance to extend it to five in the coming days if they win two more games.

Image placeholder title

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)