Photo credit to sportsgrid.com
Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Kentucky. These are the proven four best teams in college basketball and on Saturday, April 5th, the Gators will play the Huskies, while the Badgers take on the Wildcats for a chance to advance to the championship showdown. March Madness is the largest tournament in sports, so winning the championship is a feat that is truly unique to college basketball.
Florida came into the tournament as a 1 seed and Wisconsin was not far behind at a 2 seed. Connecticut and Kentucky on the other hand are huge underdogs to make it to the final four, coming into the tournament at 7 and 8 seeds. It such an unpredictable final four that only 612 brackets of the 11 million that were filled out for ESPN had these four teams making it this far. For those of you who like numbers, that is a percentage of 0.000056% of correct final four brackets. Nobody will be winning the billion dollars this year, but the 612 people who predicted the final four should still be proud of their accomplishment.
It was The Florida Gators who ended the Cinderella story to advance to the final four, beating the Dayton Flyers 62-52. Any sports fan would have loved to see an 11 seed make it past the Elite Eight round, but Florida's defense, along with the fact they can shoot from just about everywhere on the court, proved to be too much for the Flyers to handle. Either way, they had an incredible run and ruined millions of brackets from all over the world.
Florida is the favorite over the Huskies of Connecticut, but UConn is not going to just lay down. Shabazz Napier is the hottest player in the tournament right now and led his team to victory over the Michigan State Spartans who were heavily favored to win the tournament. The Gators haven't lost a game in months, keeping them on a 30 game winning streak which is clearly impressive, but who handed them their last loss? UConn, way back in December. This makes them a formidable match up and should be one of the best games of the tournament.
Kentucky vs Wisconsin is an interesting match up to say the least. Wisconsin has prided themselves this year, and every other year for that matter, on their discipline and fundamental skills. Wisconsin always has a good outing in the tournament for a reason. They get players to stay at their program instead of recruiting the one and done players. Kentucky is completely opposite.
Just two years ago they won the tournament with almost all freshman on the team, which is the same situation this year. The young, skilled players have been put to the test and they have answered in a big way. They've made clutch shots in the right moments and have shown that they have what it takes to go all the way in this tournament. The Wildcats' Julius Randle has been a powerhouse in the tournament. He was a huge factor in the victory over the 2 seed Michigan Wolverines and has been too big of a problem to solve for even the best of defenses. It is the one and done type of team vs perhaps the most fundamentally sound team in the tournament.
Will we see a 7th and 8th seed in the finals for the first time ever, or will the 1 and 2 seeds prove that they deserved their high rankings. The madness will shortly be coming to an end, but not before four of the best teams face off against each other, each fighting to take the title back to where they call home.