Was it the Final Four that Greensboro loved?

“Some claim the phrase Final Four was first used to describe the final games of Indiana’s annual high school basketball tournament. But the NCAA, which has a trademark on the term, says Final Four was originated by a Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter, Ed Chay, in a 1975 article in the Official Collegiate Basketball Guide that [called] Marquette University ‘one of the final four’ in the 1974 tournament. The NCAA started capitalizing the term in 1978.”

— From “A Basketball Handbook” by Donald H. Brown (2007)

So you might say the Greensboro Coliseum hosted its only Final Four retroactively. That’s why this pinback button refers to the “NCAA championship” — sounds odd now, doesn’t it?

Regardless, it was a memorable tournament.  N.C. State toppled UCLA in double-overtime, ending the Bruins’ streak of seven consecutive national titles, then defeated Marquette in the championship game.

Jerseys-apoppin’! (alas, not Tar Heels’)

On Dec. 23, 2000, after his team had come back from 19 points behind against North Carolina, point guard Earl Watson grabbed the front of his jersey with both hands and displayed the “UCLA” to the Pauley Pavilion student section. Thus was born, or least popularized, the custom of “jersey popping.” (The Tar Heels won, 80-70.)

Joey Rodriguez popped his “VCU” after KOing Kansas, but I didn’t notice any Kentucky players pausing to pop Sunday night. During the game, however, Darius Miller made a spectacle of himself — basketball’s latest on-court fad.