Looks like most of B. Braxton's predictions were accurate. No. 3 seed Texas Tech advances to the Elite 8 for the first time in school history over Purdue. Duke pulls off a close win against Syracuse and Florida State defeats Gonzaga, which is one I personally didn't see coming. Needless to say, he gauged the potential wins thus far pretty efficiently. Ultimately, doubting Kansas State is what ruined what could've been a flawless Sweet 16 bracket, who successfully bypassed the Wildcats by only 3 points.
The Madness isn't over just yet and the drama continues to unravel. Between tonight and tomorrow, we'll get to watch 3 unlikely-to-make-it-this-far contenders fight for a spot in the Final Four of the NCAA madness. Splitting the Dual Perspectives segments differently this time around, here are the squads I see moving forward to the Final Four after this weekend:
Kansas State vs. Loyola-Chicago
Loyola-Chicago was my sleeper pick for this tournament. Ever since the Philadelphia Eagles became Super Bowl champions, rooting for the underdog has become all the more enjoyable. Brackets destroyed and hearts broken, the Onions clearly have no intention of bowing down without putting up a tough fight. I applaud their ability to keep a steady pace, keeping up with Nevada in Thursday night's game, however, I do believe it will absolutely be in their best interest to pick up the pace facing Kansas State tonight. Not necessarily because I truly believe Kansas State is a better team, but because their defense is and we all know that ball pressure buys time, which was the same system that was able to push Kentucky out. Even still, my hope rest in Chi-town to be take the world by storm this year.
Florida State vs. Michigan
Florida State could be considered the Cinderella for those who favor Michigan, but I don't see them as an unlikely match against UM. I'll be the first to admit that I too had doubts about Florida State, but at this point it's hard to forget that Florida State is a solid Big 10 team who has a high level basketball program. There's such a high expectation for Michigan to not fail, yet this is the same team who barely scraped up a win against Houston. Granted, they came back the following weekend and played their hearts out against Texas A&M. They also have a set of shining lights in guards like Xavier Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman to add to their bragging rights. However, I'm going with the odd man standing on this one.
Prediction: Florida State
Villanova vs. Texas Tech
Their entire season has been an unstoppable run. Even throughout the duration of this year's tournament, they've been in slaughter mode, winning by at least 20 points in every game thusfar. Needless to say, the Wildcats have been completely ruthless when it comes to their competition. I agree with B. Braxton 100%, which doesn't typically happen: the best team left in the tournament is still Villanova, I know we've been in la-la land all month with teams like Loyola-Chi and Kansas State rising from the ashes, but having a Final Four full of sleepers and underdogs is unrealistic thinking. For that reason alone, I'm going with the more obvious choice in Villanova.
Kansas U vs. Duke
The last game in the Elite 8 portion of the tournament is Kansas State vs. Duke, which will take place tomorrow evening. Honestly, this is the game I'm looking forward to the most. Here we have two notoriously dominant teams, the Kansas Jayhawks and the Duke Blue Devils, battling against for the first time in 27 years. Hanging in the balance, we have a total production of 30 Final Four appearances and 8 national titles. This is the grand finale college basketball fans have been waiting for. Hard decision to make, even as I stare at stat lines for reference.