Last weekend was quite a shake for many NCAA fans. After 64 tournament games, three of the four number ones that played the Sweet 16, slipped over as only No.1 seed North Carolina survived. The other surprise was given by number 10 Syracuse, which became the first 10-seed to reach a Final Four round.
With two games left before the Final, the night will be opened at Houston as Oklahoma faces Villanova on Saturday to set the closure with North Carolina vs. Syracuse matchup.
No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 2 Oklahoma 6:09 p.m. TBS
The first Final Four matchup was the rematch of December 7th game when Oklahoma smashed Villanova by 23 in Hawaii. Both teams apply similar strategies with strong perimeter players and accurate snipers. Oklahoma is second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (42.8). While Villanova is third in the nation in 2-point field goal percentage (56.3) and second in free throw percentage (78.4).
In the first game, The Sooners’ guard Buddy Hield, scored 18 points but was just 6-of-17 from the field. The mission of stopping Hield will probably lie on Wildcats’ defensive stopper Mikal Bridges.
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 10 Syracuse 8:49 p.m. TBS
Even though there is a distinct difference between UNC and Syracuse, the mere fact that this will be the third clash of the season between these two teams, opens the possibility of Syracuse pulling the upset and winning the final match of the trilogy. North Carolina and Syracuse met twice in ACC play this season. The Tar Heels won 84-73 in the Carrier Dome on Jan. 9 and 75-70 in the Smith Center on Feb. 29.
Syracuse shocked NCAA fans by making the Final Four as a ten seed. The Orange -which knocked off No. 1 Virginia to win the Midwest on Sunday has proved to be strong in defense, ranking 16th in adjusted efficiency numbers. However, it has as many losses as North Carolina and Oklahoma combined.
On the other hand, North Carolina is the most dominant team on its run to the Final Four, winning each of its four tournament games by at least 14 points. If Syracuse wants to dream even of making it into the finals, their leading scorer Michael Gbinije has to shine in a way he wasn’t allowed in their previous games when he was held to just 9-of-29 shooting in the two games combined.
A curious fact of this matchup is that both teams have been questioned lately about their policies, benefits and practices regarding players and their academic performances. These academic scandals could play an emotional role in the athlete’s mind.