The 2018 NCAA tournament is down to four teams and a national championship will be at stake when they clash in San Antonio. 11 seed Loyola Chicago from the South Region. 3 seed Michigan from the West Region. 1 seed Villanova from the East. 1 seed Kansas from the Midwest. The finale of the NCAA tournament begins Saturday night.
Sat, March 31 at 6:09 PM: 11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs 3 Michigan Wolverines (-5)
The Ramblers have been the story of the tournament, becoming just the fourth 11 seed all time to reach the Final Four. The previous three did not make it to the national championship game. Loyola took out 6 seed Miami, 3 seed Tennessee, 7 seed Nevada, and 9 seed Kansas State to win the South Region. The Ramblers success has come off their hot shooting (51% overall in the tournament and 40% from three) and of course the support of team chaplain Sister Jean. Meanwhile, Michigan defeated 14 seed Montana, 6 seed Houston, 7 seed Texas A&M, and 9 seed Florida State to reach San Antonio. Versatile big man Moe Wagner and 6th man Duncan Robinson lead a Michigan squad that ended the season on fire by winning the Big 10 tournament and haven’t looked back since. Both teams rank in the top 20 in defensive efficiency so I expect this to be a hard fought low scoring game. Michigan wins 69-67.
Sat, March 31 at 8:49 PM: 1 Kansas Jayhawks vs 1 Villanova Wildcats (-5)
While the first matchup of the Final Four would have surprised most people before the tournament, this one is more along the lines of what people expected. Villanova has been arguably the best team all season with one of the best coaches in the game in Jay Wright. Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth, Donte DiVincenzo, and Mikal Bridges are all key players that were part of the 2016 National Championship team. The Wildcats certainly have the talent and experience to win two championships in three years. However, the team in their way in the National Semifinals in no stranger to spotlight either. Bill Self’s Kansas squad will be seeking their first national championship since 2008. Between senior guards Devonte Graham and Sviatoslav Mykailiuk, Kansas has the ability to get hot behind the three point line. While the Jayhawks have traditionally bowed out in the early rounds of the tournament in recent years, they have thrived by being under the radar this year. I think Kansas will pull the upset and win 77-68.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: KANSAS OVER MICHIGAN
Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.