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Final Four Preview

Edward Bass, Staffer

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Whether you are a basketball fan or not, everyone loves March Madness and this weekend’s games didn’t fall short of expectations. While Kansas vs. Oregon may have been a surprise, Kentucky vs. North Carolina was a classic and will be remembered as one of the best games in this year’s tournament. The instant emotion change for fans made the game worth it, as another game was decided by mere seconds.

Let’s not forget about the Kansas vs. Oregon. Personally, I expected Kansas to win it all. Watching them play against Purdue and Michigan State, where they blew out their opponents by a combined 52 points, I thought that they were unstoppable. Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III looked incredible, knocking down shot after shot, but Oregon came to to play, especially Tyler Dorsey. His 27 points powered Oregon past Kansas. Unfortunately for Kansas, they just couldn’t hit a shot. Their luck just seemed to run out (as Bill Self, head coach of Kansas, is 2-7 all-time in the elite eight).

While North Carolina may take all the hype, let’s not forgot about the cinderella story in South Carolina. Their 77-70 win over number 4 seed Florida shocked everyone, as we thought South Carolina’s magic would fall short against the highly favored Florida Gators. South Carolina’s tight defense made Florida take outside shots, which you might think would be beneficial for Florida, but the Gators went 7-26 for 3-pointers in the game.

The Final Four seems to be an odd one, as you see North Carolina face Oregon and Gonzaga face South Carolina. While this isn’t new for UNC, as this is their twentieth Final Four appearance, it is certainly uncharted territory for the other teams. Combined, South Carolina, Oregon, and Gonzaga have 4 Final Four appearances. This may be the year of the newbie, as their inexperience may prove to be the advantage. Could this be a new trend in the tournament?

The ACC, the supposed powerhouse conference of college basketball, is a combined 7-8 for all teams, with North Carolina the only team left. Last year, the league was 12-1, with six teams in the Sweet 16. Is this the end of ACC tournament domination? While they still may rule the regular season, once you qualify for the tournament, anything is possible. Perhaps, this was just a one-off year for the conference.

The Pac-12 replaced the ACC this year, as they went a combined 8-1 in the tournament. With Oregon still left, UCLA was the other team getting the attention, as a team with Lonzo Ball will get all the hype for obvious reasons. Another conference that got a boost this year was the SEC. Historically, they are not a good basketball conference, besides Kentucky, but they surprised by having Florida and South Carolina face each other in the Elite Eight.

Whether the ACC will rule or not, the Final Four matchups were not expected, but it will be interesting to see how these teams do.

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Final Four Preview