Final Four is set
For the first time in history, all four No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Final Four. The selection committee got it right, at least with regard to the top four teams.
Out of the East region comes the top overall seed in North Carolina. The Tar Heels cruised into the Elite Eight. The regional final against Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals provided the first test for Roy Williams’ squad.
Junior All-American Tyler Hansbrough rose to the occasion, scoring 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting to lead the Tar Heels. UNC was ahead by 12 at halftime, but the lead was cut to two with 6:20 remaining. A 17-9 run to end the game gave Chapel Hill a 83-73 victory. The Heels face Kansas in the national semifinal.
UCLA dispatched third-seeded Xavier 76-57 to advance to a third consecutive Final Four. Like North Carolina, the Bruins were tested just once in the tournament, barely nipping Texas A&M in the second round 51-49. Freshman All-American Kevin Love has been fantastic, scoring 22.3 points per game in the tournament. The Bruins will need him to continue to play at a high level if they want to stop Memphis in San Antonio.
The Memphis Tigers have survived arguably the toughest road to the Final Four. They easily overcame the giant-killing Texas Longhorns, who had victories over Kansas, UCLA and Tennessee this season, 85-67. Memphis is driven by Conference-USA Player of the Year Chris Douglas-Roberts and super-freshman Derrick Rose. The two combined to create the best back court in the nation this season, but the Tigers will depend on forwards Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier to control Love in the semifinal.
The Kansas Jayhawks provided the most drama in the Elite Eight, overcoming superstar Stephen Curry and a determined Davidson team. Curry’s costly decision to pass up the last shot resulted in a 59-57 defeat at the hands of the Jayhawks.
Bill Self’s balanced attack is led by junior Brandon Rush, who scored 12 points while defending Curry in the win over Davidson. There will certainly be a revenge factor when they take on former head coach Roy Williams in San Antonio.
This Final Four promises to be one of the most exciting in history, as the four most talented and best-coached teams will duke it out for the National Championship.
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