The madness is winding down with only four teams remaining. Most of the field is not surprising, then there is Loyola-Chicago.
To make it to the final four, Villanova has won every game by double-digits. They can make it rain from deep, but do not live-and-die by the three, with a capable and balanced attack. It is those threes that fuel their big runs; a stark reminder that no lead and no team is safe. They have the looks of a champion.
Kansas entered into the final four in dramatic fashion. An overtime thriller against Duke is all a lot of teams could ask for. This 1-seed has bigger things on their mind, though they must now face one of the best in the country in Villanova. Many could have predicted this matchup at this point between the two tradition-rich teams. The other side of the bracket? Not so much.
Okay, Michigan is not the biggest surprise of the tournament. They were champions of the Big 10 tourney, showing that they had the chops to go toe-to-toe with any team. As far as their path to the final four, some other teams did a lot of lifting for them, knocking out Xavier, North Carolina, and Gonzaga. Now only an 11-seed stands between them and a championship appearance. Their opponent should not be underestimated, however.
How fun are this Loyola-Chicago Ramblers?
When the Missouri Valley Conference saw the departure of Wichita State, a lot of the conference's most recent successes went with it. Northern Iowa became the most recent tourney appearance with the Missouri State Bears picked as conference favorites for 2018. Loyola-Chicago had different plans.
Like Michigan, Loyola has definitely had a few strong potential opponents knocked out for them. However, the 11-seed Ramblers have still been underdogs in every game they have played. Their most impressive win came against 3-seed Tennessee in the second-round.
One more 3-seed stands between them and an appearance in the national championship. Most of the nation (barring the state of Michigan) will likely be on their side as they look to complete their historic and unbelievable run.
Mississippi State defeated UCLA last night to clinch a spot in the final four. This was not a big surprise and neither is their opponent, fellow 1-seed Louisville. Louisville had a surprise opponent in their last game after 6-seed Oregon State knocked of 2-seed Baylor.
The other two final four teams will be determined tonight. Heavy-favorites, the UConn Huskies will play 2-seed South Carolina at 7:00 PM (EST). The University of Connecticut has looked untouchable so far, to no one's surprise.
The other game tonight will be much less predictable. Another 1-seed vs. 2-seed game, Notre Dame will face stiff competition from Oregon. Being a slight underdog seed-wise, the Ducks have dismantled each of their opponents so far, and an upset would not be surprising in this one. It tips off directly following the UConn game.
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