After an incredible two weeks of March Madness, the Final Four is shaping up to be a perfect ending to the tournament.
Friday night, only a couple of hours from ACU, two great college basketball games will take center stage in Jerryworld.
Florida is the only one seed that survived their region, but this final four does not have a Cinderella or a cupcake in the bunch.
The Gators have won every game they have played so far in 2014 and have showed complete dominance defensively. Florida’s team features four seniors that have been through plenty of huge games, participating in four consecutive Elite Eights.
The last team to beat the Gators was the University of Connecticut Huskies. Florida will have a chance to get revenge Friday when they take on the Huskies again.
Shabazz Napier knocked down a buzzer-beater in the last meeting between the Gators and Huskies, and will look to have another big game this weekend.
Napier has been nothing short of outstanding in his senior campaign, averaging more than 18 points to go along with six boards and five assists per game. Kemba Walker capped his career as point guard of UCONN with an unbelievable run to the national championship three years ago, and Napier is following in Walker’s footsteps.
Napier has scored at least 19 points in all of his tournament games, including a 25-point performance against Michigan State in the Elite Eight. Florida v. UCONN could come down to Napier vs. Scottie Wilbekin in a battle of fantastic point guards.
The second half of the Final Four puts the best freshman starting five since Michigan’s 1992 Fab Five in Kentucky against a veteran Wisconsin team.
The Wildcats will look to keep the championship in Kentucky for the third straight year, with Louisville winning last year and the Wildcats cutting the nets the year before. Coach John Calipari has his team peaking at the right time despite a disappointing regular season. The Wildcats were the preseason number one team, but were an eight seed because of their slow start.
However, talent has reigned supreme, as Kentucky took down an undefeated Wichita State team and the defending national champions in consecutive rounds. They also knocked down a buzzer-beater against the Michigan Wolverines to earn their Final Four bid.
The Badgers needed overtime to take out the number one seed in their region in the Elite Eight, but were able to knock out Aaron Gordon and Arizona. Wisconsin also dismantled a talented Baylor team in the Sweet Sixteen by basically shoving the Bears around for 40 minutes. They also scored 85 points against Oregon in the third round, showing the Badgers can play several different styles.
Despite the common belief that the Southeastern Conference had a “down year,” it looks like two SEC teams are on a collision course for the national championship game. Florida should be able to get past UCONN, although the Gators will get all they can handle, and Kentucky has too much talent for the Badgers.
Monday night’s national championship game will be one for the ages, when rivals meet in the title game. Florida has beaten Kentucky all three times they have played this season, but Kentucky is clearly playing the best basketball they have played all year. One thing is for certain, the Final Four is going to give basketball fans the drama we have all become accustomed to and the weekend should be a perfect finale to a wonderful month of March Madness.