And then there were 2…
The Final Four was certainly much more exciting than the previous rounds and thank goodness, it is about time. I got half my picks right which I feel decent about, but the main thing was that both games went down to the wire and had some fantastic finishes that left you on the edge of your seat. That’s all that really mattered to me. Now, let’s dive in to the recap of all the action.
Louisville-72 Wichita State-68
This game started out and lasted most of the way thinking Wichita State would yet again “shock” their opponent and the nation. Louisville though had other plans and absorbed the shock to pull this one out. Wichita State played behind their strength in Carl Hall and their dominant rebounding ability to grab the early lead and then eventually get the game up to an eleven point separation. All looked lost for the Cardinals but they would certainly not quit and rise to the occasion. Russ Smith and an unlikely hero, Luke Hancock aka “Cool Hand” Luke, would help the Cardinals guide their way back to claim victory. The Cardinals ability to create turnovers and make the Shockers uneasy on the offensive end led them on their charge back to “shock” the Shockers. Wichita State was off balance late in the game because of the constant full court pressure and it led to some easy baskets for the Cardinals. Then “Cool Hand” Luke would start to drain threes to put the Cardinals out of reach, clinching a spot in the National Championship game. The Shockers put up a tough fight and I thought at one point they were going to pull it off, but the clock strikes midnight on this Cinderella story and the number 1 overall seed Cardinals are moving on.
Orange Sliced and Squeezed
Yes, the Orange great 2-3 zone defense that pretty much carried them this far got sliced and squeezed against the Wolverines. Syracuse could never really find a rhythm to stop Michigan on offense and that ultimately led to their demise. A back in forth affair, James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams definitely did not have their best performances on the court, large in part due to Michigan’s athletic squad. They only combined for 7 points and Michael Carter-Williams fouled out late in the game when they would definitely need him to try to come back. The Orange were bad from the three point range also which crippled their offense and on the flip side Michigan was much more efficient which helped spread out that 2-3 zone. Michigan didn’t appear to have a very electrifying evening shooting either but they had a more well rounded attack with three different guys in double digits and everyone on their whole team contributing. The big advantage was in the rebounding game where Michigan forward, Mitch McGary, dominated the glass snatching 12 rebounds and also adding 10 points giving him a double double. The Wolverines definitely slashed through the Orange defense enough to get the win. They certainly benefited from their NBA pedigree roster and seemed to look like a team of destiny. After surviving that daunting task they claim the last spot in the National Championship, they are also moving on.
The National Championship is set and it is shaping up to be a very entertaining one, we can only hope. Two teams loaded with talent all over the floor will certainly fight toe to toe to claim the National Championship. Tomorrow I will post my National Championship preview and predictions so be on the lookout for that. Until then, enjoy some baseball and cross your fingers and hope for a wonderful National Championship. I know certainly will.