Sports Roundup - Final Four

Well, UCLA got to the Sweet 16 but Gonzaga was too much for them.

Anteaters got to the last possession and a no call finished them.

Thus, as a fan of both programs, they got farther than I could have hoped.

In the end, the big upsets were in the first round but that was pretty much it. By the end of the first weekend, only UCLA was a double-digit seed still playing. And by the Final Four, it was three one-seeds (Duke, Wisconsin, Kentucky) and one seven (Michigan State). For all the talk of parity, it really still does come down big names from the big conferences that make the Final Four.

Went back to the history books:

If you look at the last 10 years (2006 to 2015), how many "surprise" teams made the Final Four?

2006 George Mason (Colonial, 11 seed)
2010 Butler (Horizon, 5 seed)
2011 Butler (Horizon, 8 seed)
2011 VCU (Colonial, 11 seed)
2013 Wichita State (Missouri Valley, 9 seed)

5 out of 40 spots (87.5%) in the Final Four of the last 10 years came from outside the big conferences. The rest went to big conferences teams often teams with a history of doing well. On might argue that some big conference teams with a 7 or 8 seed is a surprise team. But in the era of one-and-done players and teams less likely to have seniors, a talent laden 7/8 seed from a big conference finally getting its act together doesn't count as a true surprise team.

Anyway, who wins tonight?

Duke or Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has an experience advantage over Duke that relies on more freshman talent.

Wisconsin has defeated UNC/Arizona/Kentucky to get to the finals while Duke's only top seed (1-4) opponent was Gonzaga.

On the other hand, Duke probably has more future NBA talent on the team and Coach K on their side of the court. Not to say Bo Ryan isn't a good coach but Coach K has been on the big stage number of times.

So its clearly a toss up game.

If Wisconsin gets to run its deliberate offense (71.9 pts/game) then they win. If Duke can get the scoring higher (80.6 pts/game) then they win.

My guess:
Wisconsin 69 Duke 68.

UPDATE:  Hats off to Duke for the win 68-63. Wisconsin slowed the game down as they wanted but in the end Duke guard play delivered big in the second half and their defense forced Wisconsin into bad shots.