Let’s Talk: It’s Final Four Saturday! 


The year dominated by seniors, controlled by upsets now leads us to the Final 4 of rematches. Villanova vs Oklahoma followed by Syracuse vs UNC is this years Final Four that no one may have seen coming.

Both games feature teams that have already battled each other at least once this season. For Syracuse/UNC, this will be the third match-up between these ACC teams. So, let’s look at their game first. 
UNC( 32-6) 

  • ACC Regular Season & Tournament Champions. 
  • Pre-Season number 1. 
  • 19th Final Four appearance. 
  • 8th under Roy Williams (4th most all-time). 
  • The first trip to the Final Four since 2009. 
  • Only #1 seed left. 
  • Has beat 13 tournament teams this season including two vs Syracuse. 
  • 5 of the 6 losses came by teams also in the tournament. (UCLA only other loss) 
  • Game 1: UNC 84 Syracuse 73
  • Game 2: UNC 75 Syracuse 70 
  • 70 McDonald All-Americans in program history. Most by any program. 

Syracuse (23-13)

  • Lowest seed left. (10)
  • ACC finish 10th. 
  • 6th Final Four appearance. 
  • 4th double-digit seed to reach the Final Four. (Only 10th seed to do so) 
  • Jim Boeheim’s 5th Final Four. 
  • .9% of brackets had them reaching the Final Four. 
  • Overcame a 16 pt deficit to beat UVA in the Elite 8. (29-8 run) 
  • Both men’s and women’s team in the Final Four. 
  • 13 losses tied for most all-time by a Final Four team. 

Williams and Boeheim have a combined 176 tournament wins, most in any coaching match-up in tournament history. 
One question does surround this game that isn’t necessarily related to these players. That question is, “Is the UNC vs Syracuse a bad look for the NCAA?” 
This question is because UNC and Syracuse have been under investigation by the NCAA. UNC’s investigation involved 18 years of academic fraud. They were charged with “lack of institutional control” in June 2015. But, the are still under investigation. Syracuse’s investigation was for them violating their own drug policy, athletes receiving “impermissible benefits” and academic fraud. They have been handed their punishment by Boeheim serving a 9 game suspension and loss of scholarships. 

But, this isn’t the only Final Four game tonight. So, now let’s look at the Villanova vs Oklahoma game. 
Having these two teams in the Final Four was all little more predictable than a UNC/Syracuse but like that game, this will also be a rematch. They met back in December with Oklahoma winning 78-55. 
Let’s take a look at these two teams seasons. 
Villanova (29-5) 

  • First trip to the Final Four since 2009. 
  • Have beat 12 tournament teams including #1 overall seed Kansas in the Elite 8. 
  • All 5 losses were against tournament teams including Oklahoma. 
  • Regular season Big East Champions. 
  • Lost tournament championship game to Seton Hall. 
  • Two seed. 

Oklahoma (30-7)

  • First Final Four trip since 2002. 
  • Beat 13 tournament teams this season. 
  • 5 of 7 losses came to tournament teams. Finished 3rd in Big 12. 
  • Lost to West Virginia in the Big 12 tournament. 
  • Two seed. 

Will this rematch be a blowout like the first one or will it be a thrilling Final Four game. We will have to wait until tonight to find out. 

Another important aspect of the Final Four, for some, is the location. This year, the Final Four is located in Houston, Texas. They are playing at NRG Stadium which is the home of the Houston Texans. It is a retractable roof stadium. Out of all the Final Four locations that the NCAA uses, Houston has the lowest shooting percentage of them. We will have to see with these elite teams change that statistic. 

Villanova/ Oklahoma tip off is set for 6:09 EST and UNC/Syracuse to follow at 8:49 EST. Both games are airing on TBS. 

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