Down to the Final Four

Krystle Bittner

Staff Writer

The first round of March Madness was filled with a handful of very unlikely upsets. Every year there is at least one 12 seed that beats a 5, but this year there were two. Yale knocked Baylor out with a score of 79-75. UALR defeated Purdue with a score of 85-83. Both of these games were competitive, but ended in huge upsets. Another unbelievable win was 15 seed Middle Tennessee knocking out number 2 seed Michigan State 90-81. There were also two 6 seeds that lost to 11 seeds, Wichita State beat Arizona 65-55, and Gonzaga beats Seton Hall 68-52. 14 seed Stephen A. Austin beats 3 seed West Virginia 70-56, and 10 seed Syracuse beats 7 seed Dayton 70-51. Needless to say, a lot of bracket owners were out within the first round.

Going into the second round, Gonzaga continued their hot streak beating Utah, a 3 seed. There weren’t too many upsets in this round, mostly predictable outcomes. Same story for the Sweet 16 round and those outcomes advanced Villanova, Oklahoma, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and North Carolina to the Elite 8.

Oklahoma beat Oregon to reach the Final Four.
Oklahoma beat Oregon to reach the Final Four.
Villanova beat Kansas to reach the Final Four.
Villanova beat Kansas to reach the Final Four.

Two number 2 seeds beat two number 1 seeds, advancing Oklahoma and Villanova to the first two spots in the Final Four. Syracuse defeated Virginia becoming the first 10 seed to reach the Final Four in NCAA tournament history. North Carolina ended Notre Dame’s season filling the last spot in the last game before the championship.

The schedule for the Final Four weekend has Villanova(2) vs Oklahoma(2) with tipoff starting at 6:09 Saturday 4/2. Villanova’s point guard Ryan Arcidiacono is paving quite a future for himself with 64 totals points and all the characteristics it takes to be an offensive leader during the March Madness tournament. This Nova team made it to the Final Four but it wasn’t easy. They had to fight off number 1 seed, Kansas, and they managed to do so with Arcidiacono and the help of Hart, Brunson, Jenkins, and Ochefu. Now, these five have to face the questionably human Buddy Hield. Hield is on fire, and has complete potential to take Oklahoma all the way with a total of 117 points from the first round throughout the Elite 8, and an average ppg of 29.3. Hield is the most impressive in NCAA tournament since Steph Curry, and with or without help from Cousins, Woodward, Lattin, or Spangler they have plenty potential.

North Carolina beat ACC rival Notre Dame to reach the Final Four.
North Carolina beat ACC rival Notre Dame to reach the Final Four.
Syracuse beat ACC rival Virginia to reach the Final Four.
Syracuse beat ACC rival Virginia to reach the Final Four.

North Carolina(1) vs Syracuse(10) are the last two in the Final Four and their game is set for 8:49 on 4/2. North Carolina is the only number 1 seed that survived the tournament. Marcus Paige, who after four years, finally gets into the Final Four and he does what he has to and more to succeed on that court, but Brice Johnson shines much brighter. Johnson put up a total of 84 points throughout the tournament scoring at least 20 points a game. They face the most unpredicted team making it this far, number 10 seed Syracuse. Malachi Richardson with a total of 58 points throughout the tournament, helped by Gbinije, Cooney, and the others have surprised every fan out there and have everything it takes to take their team all the way.

The last round, the Final Four could go either way for each one of these teams. Is it too predictable to give North Carolina the win, being that they’re the number 1 seed? Is it too soon to consider Syracuse a winner because of how far they have come being number 10? What about Villanova? It’s been 7 years since they’ve made the final, will they have what it takes to ball out until the end? For Oklahoma, many think that all they need is for Hield to continue what he’s doing, but, a little help from the rest of the starting 5 is something the team should consider.