Well this was not expected. Florida, Kentucky, Wisconsin and UConn are in the Final Four this year. Florida, I saw coming. But Kentucky as an 8-seed was pretty surprising. Wisconsin as a 2-seed was overlooked in this entire tournament. Then there’s 7-seed UConn, the last team to beat Florida and guess who they play in the Final Four? Florida. In one of my brackets, I have Florida winning the whole thing, but I did not have the other three teams in any of my other brackets I filled out. We could see Florida playing Kentucky in the championship game, and this would be the fourth meeting these guys have all year, with Florida winning the last three match-ups. Then again, if UConn could beat Florida, they can do it again. Shabazz Napier has had an up and down year. The senior from Roxbury, Massachusetts has made a lot of big-time plays, but has also been known to turn the ball over many times. In his last game against Michigan State, he had 25 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the upset win. Watch him get the ball in his hands a lot in the game against Florida on Saturday.
Then how about Wisconsin? People thought that they were not worthy of tournament play back when they lost five out of six games from January 14th to February 1st. People forget that they started out the season with a 16-game winning streak and that they have one of the best defenses in the country. Badger center Frank Kaminsky has also been playing great. The seven-foot junior can play great inside and can knock down some outside shots as well. In the overtime win against Arizona, he had 28 points and 11 rebounds. If he can put up that kind of performance against Kentucky this Saturday, the Badgers could be playing for their second national championship. Their last NCAA tournament win was back in 1941! It’s safe to say that these guys don’t know what it’s like to win in recent years unlike the other three teams in this tournament.
One of those other three is Kentucky, who won their last national championship back in 2012. People didn’t think that Kentucky would do good this year because they lost 10 games, three of those games to Florida. But people might not know that Kentucky was ranked 5th in the nation in rebounds per game. They know how to crash the boards and give their team extra possessions. Julius Randle has been very effective for his team, as well as the Harrison twins in the backcourt. Aaron Harrison knocking down that 3-pointer with just 2.3 seconds left in the game shattered the hearts of the Michigan Wolverines. If Kentucky can play with that same kind of emotion and energy, they could look to avenge their last three meetings against their SEC rival.
I believe that if Florida loses this game to UConn, it would be the biggest upset in the tournament, even bigger than Mercer beating Duke. The Gators are the best team in this entire tournament and a lot of people (including me) have them winning it all. The way this tournament has been going, I’m not sure I can trust a team to win such a critical game. This last March has truly been nothing but madness.