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The Final Four that defied all expectations

The Syracuse Orange pose a threat to Michigan in their matchup.

Chris Norton
Sports Editor

It is likely that less than five percent of the nation’s brackets are even remotely accurate, after what is undoubtedly one of the most surprising March Madness’s to date. Due to the numerous upsets and unexpected events this year, it is easy to see why everyone is frustrated with the outcome of their glorified bracket. With Florida Gulf Coast University shocking everyone and reaching the sweet sixteen, it seemed as though miracles were not hard to come by.
This year’s Final Four consists of the Louisville Cardinals, the Michigan Wolverines, the Syracuse Orange, and the underdogs, the Wichita State Shockers. Analysts say that it is a no-brainer: Louisville is destined to be the National Champion. However, with their incredibly relevant team name, the Shockers look to bring the Cardinals to a screeching halt, as they did to Pittsburgh, the No. 1 seed Gonzaga, La Salle, and the No. 2 seed Ohio State.

The Syracuse Orange pose a threat to Michigan in their matchup.
The Syracuse Orange pose a threat to Michigan in their matchup.

It is certain that Wichita State’s confidence is through the roof at this point in the tournament, as they were expected to lose in the first round. It would not be too surprising to see a very close game, but if the Shockers were to win, it would easily go down as one of the greatest upsets in this year’s tournament.
Legendary coach Rick Pitino and the Cardinals are hunting down the title of national champions, and refuse to be daunted by the Shockers’ impressive showing. In their last game against Duke, whom they upended by a score of 85-63, Louisville suffered a tragic and gruesome loss. Sophomore guard Kevin Ware, while attempting to block a shot, landed awkwardly on his leg, breaking it severely. The team looked on in horror as Ware laid in agony. After he was carted off, it was evident that Ware’s pain resonated throughout his entire team, with both players and coaches in tears. The team hopes to reach the championship not only to be crowned kings of NCAA men’s basketball, but also in commemoration of Ware’s tragically short-lived season.
On the other side of the court (pun intended), the Michigan Wolverines are pitted against the Syracuse Orange; an unlikely matchup. The teams both seemed to easily defeat every opponent they faced, making this game a heavily anticipated one.
Throughout the season, Michigan fluctuated between being the top team in the country, to the fifth best, to the 4th best, and so on. Syracuse, however, was not far behind as they won 30 games against many ranked opponents. Surely, this game will be another close one, with the teams most likely to trade leads back and forth leading up to a last second buzzer-beater.

Louisville seems to be the expected champion in the final four.
Louisville seems to be the expected champion in the final four.

The most ideal outcome of this year’s Final Four would be a Syracuse and Wichita State National Championship, solely due to the fact that they are not the favorites to win their preceding games. The Shockers would live up to their team name, and the Orange would be faced with a startlingly powerful team. Regardless of the teams en route to the national championship, one cannot help but marvel at the current Final Four. Ask any college basketball analyst, and they will say that of the four teams left, maybe two of them were expected to reach this far.
With March Madness drawing to a close, the nightmare that was our brackets is almost over. Next year rings in a new season for NCAA basketball fans to redeem themselves with their predictions, and earn bragging rights among their friends who have failed as miserably as we all did this year.