2 Surprises Shape This Year’s Final 4


What makes championships special is not just the fact that teams get to play in this situation, but also how. A lot of times, it’s not the destination that’s special, but the journey and in the NCAA Tournament, no matter what seed you are, if you’re trying to play for a championship, you will take a journey to get there.

2 weeks ago, there were 68 teams to begin the Big Dance, filled with sure victories and upsets that ruined many NCAA Tournament brackets, and as we prepare for the 3rd week, there’s only 4 teams left heading to the Alamodome in San Antonio,Texas for the NCAA National Championship.

There’s probably two teams you expected to be in the Final Four and they are there. One of those teams was the 2016 National Champion ; the Villanova Wildcats, who have basically breezed through this year’s Tourney except for a tough battle with West Virginia (90-78). The Wildcats are truly the team to beat right now, After their 71-59 victory over Texas Tech in the Elite Eight, they are in position to win their 3rd National Championship in school history.


But to do that, coach Jay Wright’s Wildcats  have to get past  Kansas , the other remaining #1 seed. The Jayhawks pulled off the upset (to some folks) over Duke in the Elite Eight  85-81 in overtime, in one of the Tournament’s most competitive games.


Saturday’s matchup between the two teams may be just as competitive, if not more. But one thing is certain: The outcome does guarantee that there will be a #1 seed in the National Championship. Question is, which #1 will it be?

And then there’s the Other Two Final Four teams. Most likely two  teams you did not expect to be still standing.


Anyone who expected the Loyola of Chicago Ramblers basketball team to still be standing needs to be fitted for a lie detector test, because this 11th ranked team is what makes the NCAA Tournament great. From the start of the tourney, this team pulled off upset after upset. From the buzzer-beaters over #6 Miami and #3 Tennessee to the huge 78-62 win over #9 Kansas State. This team is truly the Cinderella and ‘darling’ of the Big Dance and under the protection of a 98-year old nun Sister Jean praying for them. The Ramblers know that anything is possible, including playing for their first National Championship since 1963.


But first things first, they need to get past their Final Four opponent one of the other surprises in #3 seed Michigan. How is a #3 seeded team a surprise in the Final Four you ask? Because it was expected to see their spot filled by #1 Xavier or #2 North Carolina, who’re now watching the rest of the from their on the couches. The Wolverines held off #9 Florida State 58-54 and are now in their first Final Four since 2013. A win could put them in position to win their first National Championship since 1989.

Four teams, two spots, one goal. The Big Dance continues Saturday night.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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