NCAA Tournament 2014: 5 Biggest Takeaways From the Elite Eight

5 Biggest Takeaways from 2014 NCAA Elite Eight

NCAA
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This year's NCAA tournament has been a lot like tournaments of years past. There have been Cinderellas, dominant teams and coaches who have either proven their mettle or reminded us all why they are so highly revered. As with every tournament, it has gone by all too fast and we now sit with the Final Four right around the corner. But what did we learn from the Elite Eight? Here are five things we learned.

5. John Calipari is Still a Great Coach

Kentucky
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

5. John Calipari is Still a Great Coach

Kentucky
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky has been known as a "one and done" school in recent years, and Calipari has been known to embrace those kinds of recruits. The lack of player continuity at Kentucky has worked against Calipari's reputation of late but not this year. This year's Wildcat team certainly underachieved, much like last year's team, as the 2013 version did not make the big dance. This year is much different, as Calipari has his team in the Final Four.

4. UCONN is the Nation's Most Underrated Program

Connecticut
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

4. UCONN is the Nation's Most Underrated Program

Connecticut
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

When Jim Calhoun decided to step down in 2012, many believed that UCONN would take a step back, especially under rookie head coach Kevin Ollie. Well, they did -- for one season. UCONN has shown this tournament they did not miss a step after Calhoun left and will be right there with every other elite program for years to come.

3. Billy Donovan is Still an Elite Coach, In Case you Forgot

Florida
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

3. Billy Donovan is Still an Elite Coach, In Case you Forgot

Florida
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

After winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, Florida did not make the big dance for three years. When they did return in 2010, they were out in the first round. Since then, Florida has gone deep into the tournament and are in the midst of another deep run. Yup, Billy Donovan is still here, folks.

2. Bo Ryan is a Forgotten Great Coach

Wisconsin
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

2. Bo Ryan is a Forgotten Great Coach

Wisconsin
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

When mentioning great coaches, many seem to forget Bo Ryan. This is very odd because Wisconsin has not missed the tournament since Ryan took over in 2001. In 10 of those 13 years, Wisconsin has won at least one round and in five of those 13 at least two rounds. He may not have a title banner, but Ryan is an elite, top level coach.

1. Parity is Alive and Well

Dayton
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

1. Parity is Alive and Well

Dayton
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Whether it's Dayton, Stanford or Mercer, parity has become the name of the game in this year's tournament. Dayton ran deep into the tournament and proved that lower seeds can never be underestimated.

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