The NCAA tournament is proving once again to be the zaniest event in all of sports. If you disagree, think about it like this — did anyone even think about this year’s Final Four teams getting this far before the season began?
While the answer may be a borderline yes for one or two of those teams, this year’s Final Four field as a whole is one that no one saw coming. And because of that, the hunt for the national championship is wide open.
On one hand, you have Butler and VCU squaring off one of the national semifinals. The Bulldogs are the early favorites, and for Brad Stevens and his team, this is old news. Butler is returning to the Final Four for the second time in as many years with Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard leading the way. VCU, though, continues to defy the odds, both literally and figuratively. Shaka Smart has his team playing way above the expectations of practically everyone, as his team continues to rain 3-pointers on the competition, most recently bouncing No. 1 Kansas from the tourney.
The winner of the UConn-Kentucky matchup on the other side of the bracket will likely be favored to win the national championship, though. The two powerhouse programs have made somewhat improbable runs to the Final Four, both ignited by hot streaks that included Big East and SEC tournament titles for the Huskies and Wildcats respectively. Neither team is short on starpower, either. UConn’s Kemba Walker has played incredible basketball all year, while UK’s Brandon Knight has been one of the tourney’s best players. And then you have the coaching matchup between two of the best in Jim Calhoun and John Calipari.
Who will be cutting down the nets on April 4 in Houston?