Final Four set for next weekend
After a lengthy regular season, conference tournaments and the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament, college basketball fans finally found out who is in the Final Four this weekend. Syracuse, Wichita State, Michigan and Louisville will all head to Atlanta next weekend to play for the national championship, and if the previous two weeks were any indication, the games are sure to be memorable ones.
While nobody should be surprised that Louisville is headed to the Final Four - the Cardinals have reeled off 14 straight victories and were the No. 1 overall seed - few others likely picked the other three teams. No. 4 seeds Michigan and Syracuse, who will play each other for the right to reach the championship game, both entered the tournament not playing their best basketball. The Wolverines, for instance, had an early exit from the Big 10 Tournament and lost several key games down the stretch. Syracuse also was not playing its best toward the end of the season, including a period where it lost three consecutive games.
Still, while Michigan and Syracuse weren't playing well, both teams spent time in the top 10 this year. On the other hand, No. 9 seed Wichita State was largely unknown heading into the tournament. Members of the small Missouri Valley Conference, the appropriately named Shockers faced a very unlikely road to the Final Four, including knocking off No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 2 seed Ohio State.
Who to watch?
At this point in the tournament, certain players have established themselves as stars to watch, and each team is lucky to have some of the best point guards in the country. For Michigan, that player is Trey Burke. Only a sophomore, Burke is the presumptive National Player of the Year, and has helped carry Michigan to the Final Four thanks to clutch shots, including a cold-blooded three-pointer against No. 1 seed Kansas that tied the game with just seconds remaining.
Syracuse has a skilled point guard as well in Michael Carter-Williams, who has been the catalyst for the Orange all season long. The same can be said for Louisville's Peyton Siva, who has had one of his best years for the Cardinals. Senior Malcom Armstead has been the steadiest player for the Shockers, scoring an average of 18 points per game throughout the tournament.