And then there were four: Kansas, Villanova, Michigan and Loyola-Chicago
College Basketball teams prepare for a Final Four appearance when they walk onto their campuses in the Fall. Out of the 64 teams that make the NCAA tournament, only four play for a chance to hoist the NCAA trophy. March Madness often lives up to its name. There are the buzzer beaters, the close games, and the Cinderellas. They are underdog teams that win big in the tournament.
This years’ cinderella team is Loyala University-Chicago. The Ramblers have not been to the big dance since 1985. They entered the tournament as a low 11 seed, but four victories later and many upsets, they sit just one game away from National Championship contention. In 1963, the Ramblers won the NCAA title, which would be the only one in the school’s history. They have shocked the world 55 years later, and look to win another national championship. Besides the players and head coach, they are led by their 98 year-old chaplin, Sister Jean. She has become the breakout star of the NCAA Tournament and the Fairy God Mother to these Cinderella Ramblers.
Michigan has not been to the Final Four before since being the tournament’s runner-up in 2013. The Wolverines are fearless on the defensive end, ranking 3rd in the nation in efficiency. They are led by a the their German big man, Moritz Wagner, who can shoot the three at 6’10.” The Ramblers will have a tall task, when they have to step out on the wing to guard Wagner.
Kansas won an Elite Eight thriller against a Duke team that many dubbed for the Final Four. Grayson Allen’s shot at the end of regulation would have been Duke’s entry to the Final Four. The Duke Senior Captain’s bank shot went in and out to send it to overtime. Kansas’ Malik Newman scored all of the team’s 13 points in OT to punch the Jayhawk’s ticket to the Final Four. He finished the game with 32 points in total. The team is also led by Devonte Graham and big man,Udoka Azubuike. Newman and Graham look to take their hot shooting into the game against an experienced Nova team.
Villanova is looking to add their 2nd NCAA trophy in 3 years. One might recall the exciting buzzer beater three to win it all against against North Carolina in 2016. They are back at it again, to face the Jayhawks. The Wildcats spread the floor with their shooting, and man, they can shoot. It is what makes the team flourish. Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges were apart of that National Championship team and has stepped up to lead this Wilcats team with experience. Their road to the Moute Rushmore of college basketball will have to go through Kansas.
The Final Four will begin at 6 pm on Saturday, March 31 on CBS.