After a thrilling come from behind victory last night by Michigan and a disappointing end to the year for Michigan State, it is Elite Eight time. Two Big Ten teams remain as the chance for an all Big Ten Final Four is gone, but Ohio State and Michigan could still meet in the national championship game.
I was really hoping this would be a rematch from last year between Louisville and Michigan State, but the Blue Devils got in the way of that. Regardless of who the Cardinals are playing in this game I think the outcome will be the same. Louisville is strong inside and out and I don’t think that Duke will be able to matchup well with them. Plus coach Rick Pitino would love to get the thoughts of the of the 1992 East Regional Final game out of his head. I’m picking Louisville to keep on rolling.
The Midwest region played out mostly like it should, while the West on the other hand has been a mad scramble to say the least. It all comes down to the classic matchup of Wichita State against Ohio State, the battle for the use of the name State I guess. The Buckeyes have been lucky to win ever since routing Iona in the second round. Wichita State on the other hand has been playing well all tournament long in victories over Pittsburgh, #1 Gonzaga and La Salle. I think that Ohio State will keep this game close as they usually do, and it won’t be the highest scoring game of the tournament, but I think that Wichita State represents the MVC in the Final Four this year.
Coming off one of the more improbably wins in tournament history, it will be interesting to see what Michigan has left in the tank for this matchup with Florida. The Gators ended the Cinderella streak of Florida Gulf Coast and haven’t had much competition so far this tournament with the closest game being against FGCU and winning by 12. Mitch McGary has played out of his mind so far this tournament with 19.6 points and 12.3 rebounds a game, well over his season averages of 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds. This was the type of player and games he was supposed to bring to Ann Arbor as one of the top recruits and it seems like he is starting to put it all together. Trey Burke said this team never gave up, so I’m not giving up on them either, Michigan to the Final Four.
Finally we have the Big East rematch from earlier this season, and the last time that Syracuse and Marquette will play each other as members of the same conference. The Orange completely confused Tom Crean and Indiana in the Sweet 16 to get here, but the Golden Eagles know and expect the 2-3 zone that Syracuse runs. Marquette won’t be as confused as the Hoosiers were, but just because they know how to beat it, doesn’t mean that they can. I think that Syracuse will be able to pull this one out behind star guard Michael Carter-Williams.