Raise your hand if your bracket is busted.
Raise your hand if you had Villanova, Oklahoma, Syracuse and North Carolina in the Final Four.
It’s kind ofsurprising that in a tournament with so many ridiculous upsets (Little Rock we’re looking at you) the Final Fourlacks a true underdog (though we’ll get to the Orange later).
This year’s quartet of teams vying for college basketball’s biggest prize are all big-time basketball schools, but they didn’t all get to Houston the same way.
Villanova, which punched its ticket with an impressive 64-59 win over the No. 1 overall-seeded Kansas Jayhawks Saturday in Louisville. The Wildcats, a 2-seed, is looking for its first title since upsetting Georgetown in the 1985 championship game. Aside from their meeting with the Jayhawks, Nova has perhaps been the most impressive team in the entire tournament pairing defensive toughness with offensive efficiency.
Another 2-seed, Oklahoma, also punched its ticket Saturday but in a move convincing 80-68 win over top-seed Oregon. Led by Buddy Hield, whose performance in the tournament has him shooting up NBA mock drafts, Oklahoma will face Villanova Saturday in Texas.
On the other side of the bracket, a Cinderella story from a typically juggernaut Syracuse squad has the upstate New York team as the first No. 10 seed in history to make the Final Four. After sweating it out on Selection Sunday, ‘Cuse came alive in the tournament’s second weekend, coming from behind to beat Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 and closing a 16-point second-half gap to down No. 2 Virginia 68-62.
The final team heading down south is the only remaining No. 1, and probably the favorite in the UNC Tar Heels. No team has breezed or impressed more throughout the tournament with the possible exception of Villanova. But while the Wildcats were tested in the Elite 8, UNC ran its fast-paced offense nearly to perfection to outplay Notre Dame Sunday night 88-74. The Heels and Orange will face-off in an all-ACC semifinal.
The Final Four gets underway atNRG Stadium in Houston Saturday, April 2 with the two semi-final games before the National Championship Game on TBS Monday evening, April 4.