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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

    Final Four Set For This Weekend


    After a thrilling weekend of Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight action in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, there are only four teams remaining: Villanova, Michigan, Kansas, and Loyola Chicago, the cinderella story of this year’s tournament. Being at this point is beyond impressive, as just four teams remains in a tournament that began with 68 teams. This Final Four is a mix of experience and inexperience, seniors and freshman, big schools and small schools, and is sure to be a memorable weekend.

    Here is a breakdown of all four teams, including how they got here, the methods behind their madness, and what they hope to achieve (besides the obvious goal of winning a national championship).

    The Villanova Wildcats come into the Final Four on a hot streak in the midst of a historically successful season for Coach Jay Wright’s Wildcats. They arrive with a 34-4 record, and a perfect record outside of conference play. The Wildcats were riding hot after winning the Big East Championship game vs. Providence. In the tournament, they won games against Radford, Alabama, West Virginia, and Texas Tech, and will now have to face Kansas in their National Semifinal.

    Having to face Villanova, the Kansas Jayhawks arrive in San Antonio with a stellar resume. Bill Self’s team features a 31-7 record and a Big 12 Championship under their belt by beating West Virginia. In the tournament, they were faced with many close games, beating Seton Hall by 4 points in the Second Round, Clemson by 4 in the Sweet Sixteen, and Duke by 4 in the Elite Eight. If they can get past Villanova in the semifinal, they will be in a great spot to capture a national championship.

    The Michigan Wolverines come into the Final Four on a hot streak, but that has not always been the case. Of all the teams in the Final Four, they have had the most tumultuous season, facing lots of highs and lots of lows. However, they got hot at the right time, featuring an upset of No. 3 Purdue to win the Big 10 Championship. In the tournament they were played tough but always came out on top, including a 1-point win against Houston and a 4-point win against Florida State in the Elite Eight.

    Last, but certainly not least, is the cinderella story of this year’s tournament: the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. Entering the tournament as a No. 11 seed, they were just hoping to win one game, but they did much more than that. In their first game, the Ramblers beat Miami (FL) on a buzzer beater, shocking the college basketball world. Their next game, however, was no different, as they defeated Tennessee on yes, another buzzer beater to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. This past weekend, it was two more close games including a 1-point win over Nevada followed by a 4-point victory over Kansas State.

    No matter who comes out on top, this year’s Final Four is sure to be just as entertaining as the rest of the tournament, which included several upsets and buzzer beaters, which begs the question: are more on the way?

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