The NCAA Division I men’s college basketball tournament raced on this weekend with some major surprises. For the first time in the history of the NCAA tournament, a No. 10 seed has reached the Final Four.
No. 10-seed Syracuse University defied the odds and overcame a 16-point deficit in the second half to stun the University of Virginia. Syracuse resorted to a full court press that halted Virginia in the second half. The Orange went on a 21-4 run in that span, as coach Jim Boeheim led Syracuse back from the dead.
Syracuse was led by freshman Malachi Richardson, who scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and two steals, all while shooting 42 percent from three-point range.
Following Syracuse’s miraculous run, the luck of the Irish finally ran out. Notre Dame University knocked off Michigan, Stephen F. Austin, and Wisconsin on its way to an Elite Eight matchup with the University of North Carolina, unfortunately for the Irish, North Carolina has been dominating the entire tournament and Notre Dame ran into a buzz saw.
The Irish advanced to the Elite Eight with a buzzer beater over Stephen F. Austin, followed by help from officiating at the end of their game with Wisconsin. The Badgers had numerous foul calls go against them in the final two minutes — as well as some questionable no calls on Notre Dame — that propelled Notre Dame to the victory. Notre Dame was quickly handled by North Carolina, 88-74. North Carolina got 25 points and 12 rebounds from senior Brice Johnson.
This marked the first time that North Carolina has reached the Final Four for the first time in seven years — when they won the tournament.
Villanova University and the University of Kansas battled it out Saturday night to earn a trip to Houston for the Final Four.
The Wildcats continued to smother opponents with tight defense. Perry Ellis of Kansas really struggled to get going against the Wildcats defensive storm, despite his stellar performance in the tournament thus far. Ellis was held to just four points and five rebounds. Led by head coach Jay Wright who has been trying to just get passed the second round the last seven years, Villanova finally has made another trip to the Final Four.
The last spot in the Final Four was snatched by the Oklahoma University Sooners. Buddy Hield showed off his offensive skills by scoring 37 points against an Oregon University team that was completely out of sync.
The Ducks struggled to contain the three-point shot — Hield hit eight three’s alone — as the Sooners shot 50 percent from deep. Oregon got a strong effort from Elgin Cook who scored 24 points, but it was not enough to overcome the Duck’s 19 percent shooting performance from three-point range.
The Final Four will showcase strong offensive power against smothering defense. The Sooners of Oklahoma will matchup with the Villanova Wildcats, while North Carolina will take on Syracuse. Villanova has created a ton of matchup problems during the tournament, so Buddy Hield will have his work cut out for him going up against Villanova.
The Final Four will begin Saturday night, with both games deciding who will meet up in the NCAA Championship game in 2016.