Meet the Final Four

Thomas Daniels , Editor in Chief

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The only number one seed remaining in the bracket will square off against another basketball powerhouse Villanova on April 2. Leading up to this matchup, Kansas faced off against Providence (4) in the Sweet 16, gaining a nine-point lead heading into the second half. But Kansas made it hard on themselves, allowing a roaring comeback for Providence, who eventually captured a one-point lead. However, Kansas regrouped and controlled the rest of the game, winning 66-61. After a rocky Sweet 16, Kansas stumbled in the first half of the Elite Eight against Maimi (10), down 35-29. Kansas dominated the second half, however, out-scoring Miami 47-15 in the second, cruising into the Final 4.

 

AP Photo/Eric Gay

March Madness for Villanova has been steady, with their games following a similar pattern. They gain a lead at halftime, and they continue with that momentum until the clock hits triple zeros, no matter how small or large that lead is. They could have a small lead at the half, such as in the game against Michigan (11), where they gained a three-point lead and never looked back. Or they can come out the gate on fire and run out the clock as they did against Huston (5). Either way, a good start is essential to their game-plan, and if Kansas wants to advance they have to come out on top in the first half. 

 

(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

UNC (8) will face off against Duke (2), on April 2, and it will be an uphill battle, considering that this is the lowest-seeded team that Duke has had to face yet. But this isn’t UNC’s first time playing upset. Their second-round opponent was the first seed Baylor, but UNC was able to come out the gate flying as they took a 42-29 lead heading into the half, but that lead crumbled, and they were sent to overtime. UNC pulled through, doubling their opponent’s total in overtime and pulling off the major upset. They continued their success by beating UCLA (4) 73-66 and defeating the underdog of the year Saint Peter’s 69-49.

 

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Duke (2) has a high-flying offense, scoring 78 points thrice and never dipping below that mark, and they had some good competition along the way. Michigan State (7) almost pulled off the upset in the second round, but they couldn’t hold their five-point lead late in the second half, and Duke prevailed 85-76. Duke had to play comeback against Texas Tech (3) for most of the game, slowly chipping away at the Texas Tech lead until they pulled ahead midway through the second half, winning 78-73. In the Elite Eight against Arkansas, who beat Gonzaga (1) earlier in the tournament, Duke took a commanding 45-33 halftime lead and never let it go, always being 10-plus points ahead of Arkansas for most of the second half, eventually winning 78-69.