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2018 NCAA Final Four Preview

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Loyola-Chicago has been the darling cinderella team in the big dance this year.

Loyola-Chicago has been the darling cinderella team in the big dance this year.

The Ringer

The Ringer

Loyola-Chicago has been the darling cinderella team in the big dance this year.

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The 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been one of the better ones in recent years. We had many upsets in the first few rounds, such as Marshall beating Wichita State, Florida State upsetting Xavier in the Sweet 16, and UMBC making history as the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed, as they defeated Virginia in the first round of the tournament. The Cinderella story of the tournament has been 11 seeded Loyola-Chicago making it all the way to the Final Four. They have beat Miami, Tennessee, Nevada, and Kansas State to get there. Some other notable teams going down are highly touted Kentucky who got routed in the Sweet 16 and Duke, who got eliminated by Kansas in the Elite 8, but that wasn’t a surprise to many. Villanova, a great team from the start of the season, continued their success all the into the Final Four against Kansas.

 

Final-Four Teams

 

Michigan – As good as a team Michigan is, they definitely have a lot of competition coming up in the final rounds of the tournament. They are facing Loyola-Chicago in the Final Four, the cinderella story of the NCAA tournament. Moritz Wagner, the forward out of Germany, is notably their best player, and has shined in the tournament. He is is averaging 15 points per game and seven rebounds a game, which is very solid. Duncan Robinson, a sharpshooting guard/forward for Michigan, is averaging nine points and three rebounds per game on the season, as he is one of the major contributors to the teams success. He is a career 42% three point shooter. Michigan is the front-runner to win it all.

 

Villanova – Villanova is looking to make a comeback from their shocking tournament loss last year in the sweet 16 to Wisconsin and win the NCAA tournament as they did two years ago. They are playing against the number one seed, Kansas. This will be a tough matchup with Kansas star player DeVonte Graham, a National player of the year candidate,  scoring 481 points in 36 games. With Villanova’s spectacular offense and defense, they are going to look to conquer Kansas. Mikal Bridges, the athletic 3 and D wing, is one of Nova’s top two players along with Jalen Brunson. Brunson is in the running for National Player of the Year, a.k.a. The Wooden Award. Bridges will most likely enter the NBA Draft after this season.

 

Loyola-Chicago- The Ramblers have captured the hearts of millions of Americans this year, as they are the first 11 seed to make it to the Final Four since VCU did it in 2011. They are led by Guard Clayton Custer, who has led the team in scoring both in the tournament and in regular season play. He is surrounded by a supporting cast consisting of big man Cameron Krutwig, who averaged 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in the regular season, as well as guard Marques Townes, a sharp shooting guard who was the third leading scorer on the team in regular season play. Donte Ingram and Ben Richardson have been two key players who have stepped up during tournament play to help lead Loyola to the Final Four. Matt Mangibin, a sophomore at WHHS and a college basketball fan, has some input on on Loyola-Chicago, saying, “ It would be insane if they somehow won the tournament, they really are one of the teams low down in the NCAA, that somehow made it this far. I really do think it would be crazy. “ Whatever happens with the team, it sure has been a tournament to remember, and they do have a  decent chance to win it all, due to the dramatics and upsets that come with college basketball.

 

Kansas: The Jayhawks have been a model of regular season success under Coach Bill Self for the last decade, but besides their 2008 championship and their 2012 championship appearance, they have not had great postseason success. They captured the Big 12 championship this year, and got a 1 seed in the tournament. DeVonte’ Graham is a senior who has turned up his game this year and is looking to win the Wooden Award. Svi Mykhailiuk, a senior forward, is also having a career season for the Jayhawks. A supporting cast of big man Udoka Azubuike, guard Malik Newman, LaGerald Vick, and Mitch Lightfoot off the bench gives Kansas great depth. They are, as always, definitely contenders to win it all

 

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2018 NCAA Final Four Preview