This year has truly been March Madness. As college basketball has not had an outright top team, it was certainly hard to fill out your brackets this season. There was no certainty that the top seeds would actually make it to the Final Four, and rightfully so. In a down year for college basketball (except in the Big Ten), the NCAA Tournament has brought back the excitement.
This has to be the only year where low seeded teams have pulled off so many upsets. First it was 14-seed Harvard beating 3-seed New Mexico. Then 12-seed Cal and Oregon both pulled off wins against 5-seeds UNLV and Oklahoma State. Then teams who haven’t been to the tournament in a long time both pull off remarkable wins as low seeds, the 12-seed Marshall Henderson led Ole Miss Rebels and the Philadelphia small school 13-seed La Salle. Then the most popular and Cinderella team of them all pulled of an improbable upset against Georgetown with their flashy, uptempo style of play. Nickname “Dunk City” 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast University bursted onto the scene and stole America’s hearts.
If you were like me, your bracket was destroyed after the first round, but that does not trump the excitement that has arose with these games. Because there has really been no team running away from everybody (maybe except Louisville), the games have been very competitive.
Whether you were cheering for “Dunk City”, watching Ohio State, Michigan, and Marquette comebacks, watching a 12-seed Oregon team play as if they were disrespected by their seeding, seeing a suffering 2-3 defense from Syracuse, or seeing the Wichita State Shockers shock the tournament all the way to Atlanta, this year has been unpredictable, frustrating, and captivating.
And now four teams remain to fight for the National Championship: Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan, and Syracuse. With the games set to begin this weekend in Atlanta, our excitement builds. Louisville is the only 1-seed team to make it to the final four. Both Michigan and Syracuse are 4-seeds that have found their game in this tournament. Wichita State has been playing at a very high level in the tournament as well, and are proving that they are for real after beating Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, and Ohio State to get to the big stage.
So who are you going for? Louisville is on an emotional roller-coaster after watching one of their key players Kevin Ware go down with a disastrous injury, but this might inspire them to play even harder, as it has inspired America. Syracuse has found a disruptive formula to beat teams with their 2-3 zone defense. Their length has given teams trouble. Michigan is clicking at the right time and Trey Burke is showing the nation why he should be the national player of the year. And Wichita State is no Cinderella team, they are legit.
These should both be some great matchups, but ultimately I believe we will see Michigan vs Louisville in the National Championship. Here are our thoughts and predictions of the Final Four from Phirst Contention