April 3, 2014
The 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament has come a long way since the First Four round. This year’s tournament has seen some of the biggest surprises in tournament history. Cal Poly, who had one of the worst records as a team who made the tournament cut, won its first game of the big dance; Mercer bounced Duke in the round of 64 for perhaps the most devastating and unforeseen upset of the tournament. These moments along with others from the big dance have left just four teams standing as we enter the final week of the season. The Florida Gators are the lone one seed left in the tournament and have played incredible team-basketball to this point. The Wisconsin Badgers worked their way through the West region and ultimately upended the Arizona Wildcats to get to this point. The Connecticut Huskies have taken-on the role of underdogs (no pun intended) and upset their way to the Final Four. The Kentucky Wildcats pulled-together and were able to overcome individual issues to play to their full-team-potential, which has brought them this far. One thing is for sure about this Final Four: all seeds can be thrown out-the-window as these two games are bound to be two of the most competitive in college basketball history.
1 Florida Gators (playing Connecticut)
The Gators have played arguably the best basketball of any team left in the tournament. Florida plays a balanced game that leans just a bit towards the defensive end of the ball, where they overpower and overwhelm opponents by disrupting their offense and controlling the boards.
2 Wisconsin Badgers (playing Kentucky)
Despite having two underdog teams in the Final Four, the Wisconsin Badgers have probably been the most-underrated team in the tournament this year as they quietly tore-through the West region to get to this point. Wisconsin uses this underestimation from opponents to their advantage and barrages most everyone they play with a deadly offensive assault.
7 Connecticut Huskies (playing Florida)
The Connecticut Huskies aren’t supposed to be in this year’s Final Four. No, many people had the Huskies losing in the round of 64 against Saint Joe’s and if Connecticut was picked to win against the Hawks, most people had them losing to the Villanova Wildcats in the round of 32. Against all odds, the Huskies are here, stunning and upsetting their way to North Texas as perhaps the most disregarded team without a one or two seed.
8 Kentucky Wildcats (playing Wisconsin)
The Kentucky Wildcats have really brought their game to another level as-of-late which has propelled them to this point. It all started when the Wildcats edged out the one seed Wichita State shockers in the round of 32, from there Kentucky rolled with wins against in-state rival Louisville and number two seed Michigan. The Wildcats use their size and strength effectively on both sides of the ball, particularly when controlling the boards.
The Final Four begins in North Texas on Saturday, April 5th. The first game of the day will be Florida versus Connecticut which is slated for a 6:00 P.M. EST start and the second game is between Wisconsin and Kentucky at 8:45 P.M. EST, both of which will be broadcast on TBS.