Final four
Final Four is
a sports term that is commonly applied to the last four teams remaining in a playoff
The playoffs, postseason, or finals of a sports league are a game or series of games played after the regular season by the top competitors, usually but not always with a single-elimination system, to determine the league champion or a similar accolade.In the U.S...

A tournament is a competition involving a relatively large number of competitors, all participating in a sport or game. More specifically, the term may be used in either of two overlapping senses:...

, most notably NCAA Division I college basketball
College basketball
College basketball most often refers to the USA basketball competitive governance structure established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association . Basketball in the NCAA is divided into three divisions: Division I, Division II and Division III....

 tournaments. 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
Single-elimination tournament
A single-elimination tournament, also called a knockout, cup or sudden death tournament, is a type of elimination tournament where the loser of each match or bracket is immediately eliminated from winning the championship or first prize in the event...

, resulting in a single champion.

The term "final four" is most often used in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 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
Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball
The Marquette Golden Eagles Basketball team is the basketball team that represents Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The school's 1977 team, coached by Al McGuire, won the NCAA championship. Currently the team competes in the Big East Conference. It last played in the NCAA Division I...

 basketball squadron "was one of the final four" during the previous season's tournament
1974 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
The 1974 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 25 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It was the first tournament to officially be designated as a Division I championship—previously, NCAA member...

. The NCAA began to use the term and later trademarked it.

The oldest and most common use of the term is in reference to the final four teams in the annual NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship
The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball...

. Each Final Four team is the regional champion from the East, South, Midwest or West regions of the tournament. (Other region names have been used, such as "Mideast" replacing South, or "Southeast" and "Southwest" replacing South and Midwest.) The teams travel from the four separate sites of their regional rounds to a common venue for the Final Four. In the men's basketball tournament, a team must win four consecutive rounds (games) to qualify for the Final Four. The four teams are matched against each other on the last Saturday of the tournament. The two winners emerge to play in the national championship game the next Monday evening.

The NCAA also uses "Final Four" for other sports besides basketball, such as the Men's
NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship
The NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship is the tournament that determines the national championship of American college volleyball.The "Final Four" is a term used exclusively by NCAA Basketball but is commonly used to describe the Men's Volleyball Championship...

 and Women's Volleyball Championship
NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship
The NCAA has contested team championships in women's volleyball since 1981. The following is a list of the champions of each division with their record for the year in which they won the championship, and the runner up, city, site and other final four participants for division I...

. For ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 tournaments, the NCAA uses a variation of the term: the "Frozen Four".

Because the term is now a registered trademark of the NCAA in the U.S., no other organizations in that country can use the phrase to refer to their tournaments. Organizations in other countries may officially do, like the playoffs
UAAP Final Four
The UAAP Final Four refers to the playoffs of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines tournaments.The term "final four" came from the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the United States' men's Division I basketball tournament which is colloquially called as the "final...

 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines basketball tournaments, and the CEV Champions League
CEV Champions League
The CEV Champions League, or Indesit European Champions League is the top official competition for men's Volleyball clubs of Europe and takes place every year.-Formula:In the first round take part 24 teams shared in 6 group stage....

 in volleyball.

Non-sports use

"Final Four" refers to the crew of STS-135
STS-135 was the final mission of the American Space Shuttle program. It used the orbiter Atlantis and hardware originally processed for the STS-335 contingency mission, which was not flown. STS-135 launched on 8 July and was originally scheduled to land on 20 July 2011, but the mission was...

, the final Space Shuttle mission.

The term is also used in some television shows to denote the last remaining four contestants, such as the Philippine TV series StarStruck
StarStruck (Philippine TV series)
StarStruck is a Philippine over-all talent competition airing on GMA Network. It debuted on October 27, 2003, and has since become one of the most popular shows on Philippine television....

 and the reality show Survivor
Survivor (U.S. TV series)
Survivor is an American version of the Survivor reality television game show, itself derived from the Swedish television series Expedition Robinson originally created in 1997 by Charlie Parsons. The series premiered on May 31, 2000 on CBS...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.