© SIPA USA | 2018 Mar 24

Who Will be the Last Team Standing?

Sharon Thorsland
March 30, 2018 - 2:32 pm
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It's the final weekend of college basketball.  Thankfully Kansas did me a favor and knocked Duke out in that overtime thriller last week, so I don't have to cringe about having the Blue Devils in the Final Four while my Tar Heels are sitting at home. Instead we've got a pair of heavy hitters in the Jayhawks and fellow number one seed Villanova in one semi-final, and Michigan facing everyone's new favorite team, Loyola-Chicago, in the other one. The games tip off at 6:09 Saturday night. 

 

The 11-seed Ramblers are the undisputed Cinderella of this year's tournament, but they're actually really good. After winning their first three games by a combined four points, the Ramblers routed Kansas State and come to San Antonio with a realistic shot at beating Michigan. They've won 14 straight games and have been the top shooting team in the tournament at nearly 53 percent from the floor, not to mention 40 percent from three. And they do an excellent job of scoring in the paint. But Loyola's opponent is nearly as hot - the Wolverines are riding a 13-game winning streak and feature one of the best defenses in the country, not to mention a match-up nightmare in center Moe Wagner. This one looks to be a low-scoring affair and will likely be a close one. If the Ramblers can find a way to handle Wagner, I think they've got a chance to advance to the title game.

 

Villanova-Kansas is a totally different match-up – these are the blue bloods of college basketball, a pair of number one seeds duking it out for a berth in the championship. And it should be way more high scoring than the first semi-final. The Wildcats lead the nation in scoring at 87 points a contest, while the Jayhawks love to shoot the three. 'Nova boasts the national player of the year in Jalen Brunson, while the Jayhawks counter with Big 12 player of the year Devonte' Graham. 

 

So who will prevail? It's tough for me to go against the dapper Jay Wright and his outstanding squad, who is playing for their second title in three years. But sometimes fate plays a big role in these games. Kansas had a tougher road to get to the Final Four, they won a huge game in OT against Duke, and they won the national championship the last time it was in San Antonio ten years ago. So I'm going for a Kansas-Michigan final with the Jayhawks cutting down the nets. Roy Williams will be happy. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

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