NCAA Final Four: What is in Store!
The NCAA Tournament has been an absolute classic. It has dished up plenty of epic clashes and upsets. The 2018 edition is the eightieth installment of one of the most famous basketball competitions in the US and it has lived up to its billing. For example, for the first ever time in the tournament’s history, all four of the top seeds in a region did not make it to the Sweet 16 round. That happened to the South region.
The NCAA Tournament kicked off proceedings on March 13, 2018 and now the field has come down to the Final Four round. The Michigan Wolverines, Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, Villanova Wildcats and the Kansas Jayhawks are the last four teams standing now.
How They Got Here!
The Final Four round begins on March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio with the Michigan Wolverines taking on the surprise package Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. The Wolverines are seeded third while the Ramblers are seeded eleventh. The second game will pit the Villanova Wildcats against the Kansas Jayhawks on the same day.
Michigan began their tournament with a 61-47 win over Montana in the West Regional. That win pitted them against Houston in the next round and it was an extremely close game. The Wolverines triumphed by a solitary point 64-63. In the Regional Finals, they took on the Texas A&M and won that clash quite easily 99-72. Standing in their way next were the Florida State Seminoles and the clash was a humdinger. The Wolverines however won that clash 58-54 to rubberstamp their progress to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
The Loyola Chicago Ramblers have enjoyed a Cinderella run this year and they will be keen to ensure that their journey does not end against the Wolverines. They had their backs up against the wall for a big part of this fairy tale run but have come up with the goods every time.
Loyola-Chicago Ramblers were up against the sixth seed Miami Hurricanes in the First Round of the South Regional and they won the game 64-62. It was now their turn to go up against the third seed Tennessee in the next round and they got through that challenge by winning the clash 63-62. The Ramblers upset the odds once again in the Regional Semifinals by beating Nevada, once again by a single point, 69-68. Standing in the way of their first ever trip to the Final Four were Kansas State. It turned out to be another very close encounter but the Ramblers won 78-62 to confirm their place in the Final Four.
The Villanova Wildcats were one of the favorites to go all the way in 2018 and they have lived up to the hype. They were the number one seed in the East Regional and have shown why.
They beat the Radford Highlanders in the first game 87-61 and then proceeded to demolish Alabama 81-58 in the Second Round. In the Regional Semifinals, they met West Virginia and won the game comfortably once again- this time by a 90-78 score. In the Regional Final, the Wildcats squared off against the Texas Tech who were seeded third. It was expected to be a close clash but the Wildcats triumphed fairly comfortably by a 71-59 score.
The Wildcats will be up against the top seed from the Midwest Regional, the Kansas Jayhawks in the Final Four round.
They beat the Penn Quakers 76-60 in the First Round and then destroyed Seton Hall 83-79 in the Second Round. It was the turn of the fifth seeded Clemson to feel the wrath of the Jayhawks next as Kansas won that clash 80-76. In the end it came down to Kansas vs Duke, the top two seeds from the region. It was a pulsating clash and the Jayhawks eventually won 85-81.
Final Four Predictions
These are two very tough games to call. The Wolverines look the safer bet in the first semifinal against the Ramblers but will anyone be surprised if the latter win again? The other semifinal is a game of two top seeds and teams that are in excellent form.
We are still going to put our necks on the line and predict that it will be the Ramblers taking on the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament’s showpiece clash.