The arena in Dallas is called Reunion, a name with special meaning to three of the teams that will meet there this week in the NCAA Final Four. Duke, Kansas and Louisville all reached the semifinals of the inaugural Big Apple-NIT 16 weeks ago, when college basketball's odyssey began. Kansas defeated Louisville 83-78, but then lost to Duke, 92-86, in the championship game.
Reunion has a felicitous ring for another reason. Each team in this Final Four—Louisiana State is the other, and most surprising, member of the quartet—has been to this grand party before. Two of them have been there in the '80s.
Louisville has made six previous trips, including 1980, when it won the title, '82 and '83.
Duke, runner-up in '78, is a slight favorite to beat Kansas and then probably Louisville for its first title, which would make the Devils the first team ever to win 38 games in a season.
March 31, 1986
The Jayhawks, champs in '52, have been away from the Final Four the longest, since '74. LSU is after its first championship; the Tigers made it to the Final Four in '81. "That one was anticlimactic," coach Dale Brown says. "But I'm not a rookie anymore. My phone will be off the hook, and I won't be in the hotel lobbies."