Madness Four gear up for final series

William Burns

In a matter of two weeks, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s field has gone from 68 to just four remaining schools, who all of which, believe they will be crowned as champions of collegiate basketball.

Since the field of 68 was announced, the only thing that could really have been expected was the unexpected. So much history can be found looking back on this year’s tournament, where can I even begin?

Florida Gulf Coast University became the first No. 15 seed to make it to the Sweet Sixteen to the tournament while holding its 3,000th overall game.

There were plenty of upsets and even more busted brackets. Even the basketball enthusiast and commander and chief, President Barack Obama, only managed to get one correct Final Four prediction correct.

The Final Four is the Mecca of college basketball. This year’s national semi-finals and final matches will be hosted in Atlanta, Ga. and the remaining teams are preparing to travel south to play for the title.

Louisville, Syracuse, Michigan and Wichita State have gone through the gauntlet and were crowned champions of their respective regions.

On paper, you might be able to find a favorite to win, but if you have paid even a little attention to the games, there is not one team that doesn’t have a reasonable argument that favors them to win it all. Each team has gone through a tough road to the Final Four.

Michigan overcame a late deficit to Kansas with a late rally, lead by Trey Burke, to beat the Jayhawks in overtime. Syracuse took down a dominant Indiana Hoosier squad with their classic zone-defense.

Louisville went through an emotional game against Duke when the Cardinals’ guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome compound fracture of his right leg, and Wichita State quietly upset No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 2 seed Ohio State to advance to their first Final Four since 1965.

This year’s NCAA tournament lived up to what March Madness is all about: upsets, Cinderellas, some teams under-performing and some teams over-performing. Only the losing teams can be upset over this year’s tournament. So with all the excitement surrounding the Final Four, how do you pick your champion?

The best way to choose is to look at each of the four teams and decide for yourself. Your guess is just about as good as any expert out there.

Michigan has been averaging 75 points a game and might be able to find a way past the Oranges’ stout zone defense. This match should be the more promising semi-final game because the last time Syracuse made it to the Final Four was in 2003 where they went on to win the national championship.

The last time Michigan was in the Final Four was in 1993. After 20 years of sitting on the memory of an embarrassing loss to North Carolina in the title game, trust me when I tell you every Wolverine will be aware of how many timeouts they have left.

The Louisville Cardinals will match up against Wichita State in a game that could very likely turn into a rout, giving Louisville a birth into the national title game. Just don’t tell that to the Shockers of Wichita State.

They have been, very slowly and patiently, busting the brackets of thousands, if not millions of fans. While it has been 23 years since the last non-Bowl Championship Series conference school has won a national title, don’t think for a minute the Shockers can’t make a serious run for Louisville’s money.

The Shockers man-handled Gonzaga and Ohio State, who were both favorites to win the tournament.

So take your pick, sit back and watch three more amazing college basketball games.

This is what March Madness is all about. Very soon, we are going to have crowned a new champion and we will have forgotten all about those busted up brackets.