What is the one statement that every competing school and their fans in this year’s March Madness can agree on? This has been no normal tournament. ESPN reported that less than 0.01% of all brackets correctly predicted the Final Four of:
Michigan – ‘The Team on Fire’
Loyola Chicago – ‘The Cinderella Story’
Kansas – ‘The Powerhouse’
Villanova – ‘The Favorite’
Before the Final Four clash later this week, let’s take a minute to recap the biggest storylines from the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight.
You get an upset, and you get an upset, and you get an upset…
What do Kansas State, Loyola Chicago, and Florida State have in common? All three completed significant upsets over Kentucky, Nevada, and Gonzaga, respectively, to book their tickets to the Elite Eight. Of course, the team garnering the most attention and fanfare has been Loyola Chicago as its #11 seed has been long forgotten through this tournament. The hype surrounding Loyola Chicago grows by the day especially after it essentially dominated Kansas State to move on to the Final Four where it awaits the Wolverines of Michigan. Will we see yet another upset this Saturday in San Antonio? Frankly, nothing would surprise us at this point…
Kentucky’s “Easy” Road to the Final Four Ends in Disappointment
Following the upsets of Tennessee and Cincinnati, the South Region seemed all but locked up for #5 Kentucky as the only other remaining schools were Kansas State, Nevada, and Loyola Chicago. The Wildcats, on paper, should have cruised past Kansas State into the Elite Eight. However, we should know by now that March Madness games are never won on paper. In the end, Kentucky exited this year’s tournament with thoughts of what could have been. Adieu, John Calipari, adieu.
Is Michigan The Real Deal?
Michigan has stampeded into the March Madness Final Four after building up a 13-game winning streak dating back to the last weeks of the regular season. The Wolverines have demonstrated that they can win in both dominating and close fashion and perhaps wield the most momentum heading to San Antonio. Many experts claim Michigan will blow out Loyola Chicago, but there is no guarantee of such a result come Saturday. History has proven that hot teams perform well in March, and Michigan is riding the wave. How far will momentum carry the team from Ann Arbor?
Villanova versus Kansas: The Showdown
Kansas, fresh off of its dramatic overtime win over Duke, has a few days to re-focus and prepare for fellow #1 seed Villanova. Though the Jayhawks will surely be touting a major confidence boost after defeating Duke in the Elite Eight, the Wildcats from Villanova now stand in the way of a spot in the Championship game next Monday night. Both schools have relied on high scoring offenses to carry them through each round of this year’s tournament. There is a solid chance that the difference maker will be which team can force the other to take risky shots especially behind the arc. This matchup is expected to deliver yet another close ending as only one of the last two remaining #1 seeds can move on to face either Michigan or Loyola Chicago.
Grab your popcorn and tune in to see what happens!