And then there were four … Underdogs

Over the course of the past four days, college basketball fans have witnessed twelve outstanding games and are now left with four unexpected teams to compete at this year’s final four in Houston this weekend. 

Starting the week off hot, UConn showcased their dominant offense in a statement 88-65 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks, who in the round of 32 upset number one seed, Kansas. The Huskies dominance continued to shine in the Elite Eight as they defeated a fan-favorite Gonzaga by a whopping 82-54, stamping their ticket to the final four. The Huskies have been led by star post player, Adama Sanogo, who leads the team in both points and rebounds, and put up a double double against the Zags on Saturday.

Despite only one percent of brackets nationwide having Florida Atlantic in the final four, the Owl’s cinderella run continued this week, proving that these Boca Raton boys have some serious talent. Starting off their week with a win against the heavily-favored Tennessee Volunteers, the Owls would then move on to face the red hot Kansas State Wildcats. Despite 22 turnovers, the Owls managed to survive the Wildcats, advancing to the program’s first-ever final four appearance. The team is led by star guards Johnell Davis, who averages 13.9 points per game, and Alijah Martin, who averages 13.1 per game. 

The Hurricanes of Miami proved their dominance knocking off one-seed Houston on Friday night. Houston, known as one of the powerhouse teams of this year, couldn’t seem to find the Eye of the Storm in the Hurricanes performance, leaving Houston with an upsetting exit at 89-75. Miami’s multifaceted offense continued their run into the Elite Eight, topping another incredibly talented team in the two-seed Texas Longhorns 88-81. Outstanding performances in the guard position from Nijel Pack, Tyler Wong and Jordan Miller earned the Hurricanes their first Final Four appearance in school history and left a trail of destruction behind them. Although Miami will now take on an incredibly tough opponent in the Uconn Huskies, they have proven that no one should count them out.

Brian Dutcher and his San Diego State Aztecs have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in this year’s tournament. Their cohesiveness and enjoyment of the game translates into outstanding team performances so far throughout their run. Coming into the tournament, they raised many questions about whether they would advance as a highly-ranked five seed coming out of the Mountain West Conference. Their smothering defense and fundamental offense, however, validated their program as a possible contender for this year’s national championship, knocking off a favored champion in one-seed Alabama 71-64 in the Sweet 16, and then knocking off a solid team in Creighton, 57-56 in the Elite Eight. The only thing standing in their way between a national championship appearance is the surprising, yet talented, Florida Atlantic Owls.

The madness will continue on April 1, starting with the Owls and Aztecs, and finishing with an offensive battle between the Huskies and Hurricanes. The National Championship will take place on April 3 to conclude what has been a historic and exciting tournament.