DETROIT - If Villanova were to win tomorrow night's Ford Field semifinal, its road to Monday's NCAA championship game will have passed through more primo real estate than any other finalist in tournament history.
By doing so, the Wildcats will have rolled through the exclusive neighborhoods of UCLA, Duke, and North Carolina.
Not a foreclosure in the bunch.
In fact, those three programs are the Final Four's holy trinity, having reached a combined 50. In the name of the Father (John Wooden), the Son (Dean Smith) and the Holy Spirit (Mike Krzyzewski).
This Villanova team has thumped the first two. Now the Tar Heels, the final piece of a nearly unimaginable hardwood trifecta, await tomorrow.
"Any team that beats the teams they beat, no one can question whether they belong here or not," Michigan State's Durrell Summers said yesterday of Villanova. "And look what their reward is: having to play North Carolina. I bet no one ever had to defeat those three schools in one year before."
Summers is correct, an NCAA official confirmed yesterday.
UCLA and North Carolina have been to more Final Fours than any other school, 18 apiece. Duke is next with 14 appearances.
Kentucky and Kansas have 13 each, although the former has won more titles than all but UCLA (seven in 11 cracks at the Final Four).
That's just one of the astounding NCAA footnotes Villanova is compiling this postseason. Overall, the Wildcats have digested more big seeds than the field in a watermelon-eating contest.
By beating No. 2 Duke and No. 1 Pitt, No. 3 Villanova now has the most NCAA wins over higher-seeded teams - 15 - since the NCAA began seeding tourney entrants in 1979.
UCLA has upset 11 higher seeds and Purdue 10. No other school has double-figure NCAA upsets.
Overall, the Wildcats are well above .500 as underdogs, 15-12.
In 1985, the last time it reached a Final Four - and won a national title - Villanova was an eight seed. The Cats defeated five higher rated teams en route to the championship: Michigan (1), Maryland (5), North Carolina (2), Memphis (2) and Georgetown (1).
They beat a No. 3 (Illinois) and a No. 2 (Kentucky) in 1988 before falling to a No. 1 (Oklahoma) in a regional final.
This year's Tar Heels are a No.1 seed. The Wildcats are 3-8 all-time against top seeds, the only spot among the 16 seeds against which they have a losing record.
They've been most successful as a No. 3 seed, a 9-4 overall NCAA record. They're 8-2 as a No. 8, thanks to that championship run in 1985.
Twelve other No. 3 seeds have reached Final Fours, the most recent being eventual champion Florida in 2006. Indiana ('81), Michigan ('89) and Syracuse ('03) also won titles as third seeds.
"That stuff is interesting," said 'Nova coach Jay Wright, "but like I tell our kids all the time, it doesn't mean a thing when they're out there on the court."