This past Thursday when the Sweet 16 began, most of the teams were the familiar “big names” of college basketball.
All four No. 1 seeds were still alive as the Elite Eight began on Saturday night.
By the end of the weekend, North Carolina was the only team that made it out.
The Final Four only has two names many thought they would see in Oklahoma and North Carolina, one name that a lot of people questioned in Villanova, and one team that many bracketologists believed shouldn’t have made the tournament in Syracuse.
A No. 1 seed, two No. 2 seeds, and a No. 10 seed. What could possibly happen next in the madness?
Here’s my take.
2 Oklahoma vs 2 Villanova
If you haven’t heard of this name yet, you probably haven’t been following the NCAA tournament in 2016. Buddy Hield. He has been phenomenal in every single game since the round of 64, averaging 29.3 points per game in four games. He single-handedly kept No. 1 seed Oregon out of the game even when they got close. Oklahoma has only allowed one team, Virginia Commonwealth, to score more than 70 points in the tournament (81). They will match up with a Villanova team that knocked off No. 1 seed Kansas in the Elite 8, 64-59. They shut down arguably the Jayhawks best player, Perry Ellis, limiting him to just four points. Villanova, unlike the Sooners, is not led by one great player, but solid team-oriented basketball is what got them here. Even with a lockdown defense and hot team playing with multiple upperclassmen, five seniors and three juniors, I think Buddy Hield continues to do what he has done to his competition so far in March. Oklahoma pulls away at the end to win a hard fought basketball game.
10 Syracuse vs 1 North Carolina
Two completely different stories meet in the nightcap of the Final Four. Syracuse isn’t an unfamiliar name when it comes to March Madness, but this is a team that many NCAA basketball experts didn’t believe deserved a spot in the field of 64. However they did get selected in, and have made the most of it. As usual, Syracuse’s zone defense and full-court press has been giving teams fits throughout the whole tournament. It gives them great transition offense and is a huge reason why they have been able to erase some of the big deficits they have faced. They are led by one of the best point guards in the tournament, Michael Gbinije, who has averaged 16 points-per-game and four assists-per-game. Syracuse is the first ever No. 10 seed to play in the Final Four. North Carolina is also not an unfamiliar name and is a team many picked to win their bracket. The Tar Heels are lead by double-double machine Brice Johnson who is averaging 21 points per game and 9.75 rebounds per game, and sharp shooter Joel Berry, who is averaging 13.5 points-per-game. This is a team that can score a lot in a hurry, but I think will have some trouble figuring out Syracuse defense in the first half, but will start to pull away in the second half. North Carolina wins and advances to the championship game.
Villanova vs Oklahoma will start at 6:09 P.M. Syracuse vs North Carolina will begin at 8:49 P.M. Both games are on April 2 and will be televised on TBS.