State of Florida pulls off feat only done twice in last 30 years of March Madness
NEW YORK — The Final Four has been held since 1939.
That means 332 opportunities (the tournament was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic) for schools to play on the biggest weekend in the college sports calendar.
Yet, just three state schools have made it to the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament, with Florida the only program to have qualified multiple times.
Now, with wins by Florida Atlantic over Kansas State on Saturday and Miami over Texas on Sunday, two state teams are advancing to next weekend's Final Four in Houston.
And let's dream even further. FAU and Miami are on opposite sides of the bracket, which means the possibility an All-Florida national championship game April 3. The Owls will face San Diego State in Saturday's first semifinal and Miami takes on UConn in the second semifinal.
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Soak that in, a state with a deep and rich history in football, has become the third state in the last three decades to send multiple teams to the Final Four joining North Carolina last year (UNC, Duke) and Kentucky in 2012 (Kentucky, Louisville).
Move over Tobacco Road, the Sunshine State Highway is the standard for college basketball.
Florida teams' history in the Final Four
Florida Atlantic and Miami now join Florida, FSU and Jacksonville as the schools from the state to reach the Final Four.
Florida played in the Final Four in 1994, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2004. The Gators are the lone state team to win the title and the last team to win in consecutive years, 2006 and 2007.
Florida State was national runner-up in 1972. Jacksonville lost in the championship game in 1970. Both fell to UCLA during the Bruins' dynasty under John Wooden.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Florida will have Miami and FAU basketball teams in the Final Four