This year’s March Madness has been easily one of the most exciting of all time, with some massive upsets, exciting finishes, and also being the first-ever year where no one-seeded team made the final four. As a matter of fact, the highest seed in the final four this year is only a four seed, which means we are going to see quite a surprising national champion this year. Let’s look at the matchups that will send two teams to a national championship on April 3rd.
- #5 San Diego St. vs. #9 Florida Atlantic-The two teams that were the biggest surprise to make the final four to most out of the two matchups are featured here. San Diego St. won the Mountain West Conference tournament, which gave them their spot in March Madness after an impressive regular season. Their first game was a hard-fought matchup against #12 seed Charleston where they survived and moved on to then defeat #13 Furman, who had upset #4 seed Virginia in a stunner. They then went on to come back and defeat #1 seed Alabama, arguably the best team in the tournament, then, in a controversial end, they defeated #6 Creighton after they made a crucial mistake, fouling San Diego State on the final shot of the game, leading to the two game-winning free throws being made, sending the Aztecs to the final four. Florida Atlantic had the best season in the school’s history and was able to soundly defeat all teams in the Conference USA tournament to get their bid to March Madness. Their first game was against #8 seed Memphis which ended controversially, but regardless, FAU was able to pick up the win in an instant classic. They then faced the team who had just pulled off the biggest upset arguably in the history of March Madness, that being #16 seed FDU, who had just shocked the world by beating #1 Purdue. FAU outlasted them, pulling away late, and were able to snag the win in their game against them. They would beat #4 seed Tennessee next, pulling away late once again, before defeating #3 seed Kansas State to advance to the final four, who had the best-performing player in the tournament Markquis Nowell. This game will come down to if San Diego State can continue to be as defensively sound as they have been and not allow FAU to pull away. If they aren’t, FAU could offensively outpower them and cruise to a victory.
#4 UConn vs. #5 Miami FL-Arguably the two best teams left in the tournament face each other in the second game. UConn fell short of the Big East conference title as they lost to Marquette before the championship game. But in the tournament, they went on a roll as they soundly defeated #13 Iona in what was a close game through the first half. Then they faced #5 seed Saint Mary’s, where they took care of business once again, before facing #8 Arkansas where they faced zero issues. Their biggest statement win was against #3 Gonzaga where they absolutely demolished them in a game where many believed Gonzaga would win. Miami fell short as well in the ACC conference tournament championship game to Duke. In the first round of March Madness, they faced #13 Drake, which was very close until the late stages, when Miami was just a little stronger and pulled out the victory. The next round was a much simpler game for the Hurricanes as they soundly defeated #4 Indiana, then they went on and stunned #1 seed Houston in the Sweet 16. Miami then faced Texas, where they were down for the majority of the game. However, late in the second half, Miami went on a run and was able to snatch the lead from Texas before securing the win to beat one of the best teams in the tournament. UConn has won more impressively in the tournament while Miami has faced stiffer competition. This game will come down to who can win in the late stages as it’s more than likely going to be a close game where crucial shots will be the game-changer.