The field is barren as the last four standing have finally been decided. Here is a brief look at Saturday’s matchups and what to expect heading into next Monday’s National Championship:
#5 Auburn vs #1 Virginia
Saturday, April 6 @ 6:10 p.m. on CBS
Auburn has had an amazing run during this year’s tournament. They beat three of the all-time winningest college programs in the history of men’s college basketball in Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky respectively. But can the Tigers shock the world again and defeat the last one seed left in the tournament? It is possible, but it sure will not be easy.
One of the biggest factors of this game will be can Auburn hit tough contested three’s? The Tigers are a good three-point shooting team, but are at their best in transition. One of Auburn’s greatest skills is the team’s ability to force turnovers and score, something that will not come easily against Virginia.
Defensively, the Virginia Cavaliers love to clog the paint and force opponents to shoot from the outside.
Virginia is also a team that loves to play in the half court. The Cavaliers are the exact opposite of Auburn on the offensive end. Virginia’s offense is predicated on playing a slow, grind-it-out style of offense. They want to slow the game down and dictate the pace to take teams out of their comfort zone defensively.
If Auburn can win the rebounding battle and get out in transition, they will have a good chance of competing for the program’s first national title.
But if Virginia can slow the game down and take care of the ball, the Cavaliers will be in position to redeem one of the greatest upsets of all-time in last year’s loss to 16 seeded UMBC.
#3 Texas Tech vs #2 Michigan State
Saturday, April 6 @ 8:50 p.m. on CBS
Texas Tech and Michigan State are two teams with a very similar style of play. They both love to pound the ball inside offensively. This game is going to come down to which teams guards can takeover and force turnovers.
Both teams are great at protecting the paint and forcing teams to shoot from the outside. However, Texas Tech is better at forcing turnovers thanks in part to their teams ability to switch out on defenders.
Texas Tech is great at recovering thanks to the team’s speed and athleticism, which allows defenders to help out when beat off the dribble, contest shots and avoid mismatches.
On paper, this game looks like it could come down to the wire late. One key steal, block or free throw late could be season-ending for either team.
This year’s Final Four is not one many predicted, but has the potential to be one of the best in years.
The Madness is almost over but college basketball fans should look forward to another nerve-wracking weekend of hoops come Saturday.