Final Four is a sports term that is commonly applied to the last four teams remaining in a playoff tournament. The term usually refers to the four teams who compete in the two games of a single-elimination tournament's semi-final (penultimate) round. Of these teams, the two who win in the semi-final round play another single-elimination game whose winner is the tournament champion. In some tournaments, the two teams that lose in the semi-final round compete for third place in a consolation game a tournament format where four teams play two rounds of single-elimination games, resulting in a single champion.
The term "final four" is most often used in the United States and in sports heavily influenced by that country; elsewhere, only the term "semi-finals" is in common use. "Final four" first appeared in print in a 1975 article for the Official Collegiate Basketball Guide, whose author Ed Chay was a sportswriter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Chaye stated that the Marquette basketball squadron "was one of the final four" during the previous season's tournament. The NCAA pioneered the term and later trademarked it.
The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament played each spring in the United States, currently featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship of the major college basketball teams. The tournament, organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was created during 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the idea of Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen. Played mostly during March, it is known informally as March Madness or the Big Dance, and has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the United States. The NCAA has credited Bob Walsh of the Seattle Organizing Committee for starting the March Madness celebration during 1984.
The tournament teams include champions from 32 Division I conferences (which receive automatic bids), and 36 teams which are awarded at-large berths. These "at-large" teams are chosen by an NCAA selection committee, as detailed below. The 64 teams are divided into four regions and organized into a single elimination "bracket", which predetermines, when a team wins a game, which team it will face next. Each team is "seeded", or ranked, within its region. After an initial four games between eight lower-ranked teams, the tournament occurs during the course of three weekends, at pre-selected neutral sites around the United States. Lower-ranked teams are placed in the bracket against higher ranked teams. Each weekend eliminates three quarters of the teams, from a round of 64, to a "Sweet Sixteen", and for the last weekend of the Tournament a Final Four; the Final Four is usually played during the first weekend of April. These four teams, one from each region, then compete in one location for the national championship.
Sports are an important part of the culture of the United States. Three of the nation's five most popular team sports were developed in North America: American football, basketball and ice hockey, whereas soccer and baseball were developed in England. The four Major leagues in the United States are the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL); all enjoy massive media exposure and are considered the preeminent competitions in their respective sports in the world. Three of those leagues have teams that represent Canadian cities, and all four are among the most lucrative sports leagues in the world. The top professional soccer league in the United States, Major League Soccer, has not yet reached the popularity levels of the top four sports leagues, although average attendance has been increasing and in fact has matched or surpassed those of the NBA and the NHL.
Professional teams in all major sports operate as franchises within a league. All major sports leagues use the same type of schedule with a playoff tournament after the regular season ends. In addition to the major league-level organizations, several sports also have professional minor leagues, active in smaller cities across the country.
The Webster Bank Arena (formerly The Arena at Harbor Yard) is a 10,000-seat multi-purpose arena at 600 Main Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut, built alongside The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. The Arena opened on October 10, 2001 and is managed by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Centerplate. Webster Bank entered into a 10-year $3.5 million agreement with the City of Bridgeport for naming rights of the Arena on January 6, 2011.
The Arena houses 33 executive suites, 1,300 club seats, 3 large hospitality suites, along with a wide concourses with ample guest amenities to bring all guests up close, and also a recently added Sony Jumbotron serving as a scoreboard which stands 30x16 ft., with six-millimeter pixels, and offers a Sony HD system to increase visability. In addition, the Webster Bank Arena offers Luxury boxes to corporate sponsors, which presently include; Mercedes-Benz of Bridgeport.
The 1978–1979 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team represented Michigan State University in the 1978–79 NCAA Division I men's basketball season.