First, the nation watched as Michigan knocked off Florida with ease. Then, with most of the national audience forced to flee to their bathrooms and puke after Kevin Ware’s gruesome injury, (watch it…if you dare) Louisville raced by Duke to earn the final remaining spot in the final four. Now, the final four is set. Here is a brief bio on each remaining team:
The big bad Cards are on a roll that might just lead to their first National Title since 1986. Louisville cruises into the final four as the favorite and appear to be the nation’s most dominant team.
Strengths: Virtually everything. Strong at every position on both ends of the court. Extraordinarily well coached.
Weaknesses: None. Just kidding. The only minor flaw I feel is worth noting about Louisville is that they lose their cool late in games if Siva is out. This trait was on display in the five overtime loss to Notre Dame in which Russ Smith took over the point when Siva fouled out and proceeded to make bone head decision after bone head decision.
Wichita State Shockers
To quote the sagacious Phil Jackson, “momentum is a strange girl.” And the shocking Shockers have more momentum than they could possibly know what to do with. Wait… I have a guess at what they’ll try to do with it. I have a sneaking suspicion they will try to parlay their momentum into a victory over the equally hot Cardinals.
Strengths: They are deep, talented, and on fire at the moment. They are relentless defensively. They are also very big, especially by mid-major standards.
Weaknesses: Defensively, they can be vulnerable around the perimeter. They are not explosive offensively and struggle to shoot at times.
This, my friends, might be Jim Boeheim’s best defensive team ever. But they also are an underrated offensive team, as they have shown in the Big East and NCAA tournaments. Carmelo Anthony has more to cheer about than simply the Knicks’ recent tear.
Strengths: That zone. They snipe from deep. Michael Carter-Williams is an NBA point guard. They are incredibly well coached. They’re not fazed by big-time moments.
Weaknesses: They go through long offensive droughts. Defensive rebounds are always a concern.
They started the year hot and now are ending it hot. John Belein (why is his name so similar to Boeheim’s!?!?!?) has managed to coax defensive intensity from his squad of future NBAers and this has made all the difference. With the amelioration of the Wolverine’s D, Michigan has turned into an elite two-way team capable of cutting down some nets in Atlanta.
Strengths: Their elite scorers run Belein’s offense to near-perfection. They hit 3s at a crazy rate. Trey Burke is one of the best closers in the game. Mitch McGary and friends work hard for boards.
Weaknesses: They’re still a work in progress defensively. When the offense is not flowing they sometimes get frustrated and stop playing good ball.