This latest Final Four — won by Duke on Monday by a 68-63 score against Wisconsin at pristine Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis — was my 20th straight covering the national semifinals and final. It is a stretch that began in 1996 and has included some unforgettable moments, on and off the court.
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Michigan State is going back to the Final Four. The Spartans beat Louisville 76-70 for a thrilling overtime victory in the East Region on Sunday.
While other matchups in the Elite Eight feature some of the nation’s best players, the East Region final features a different kind of star-studded affair. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Louisville’s Rick Pitino are two of the best coaches in the country.
Gonzaga is one win from its first trip to the Final Four, but the last remaining obstacle is a significant one. The Bulldogs have lost only twice all season — by a total of six points — but must get past Duke in the South Region final.
William Hill books would suffer six-figure losses if Kentucky (38-0) wins the national championship, due to a prop posted last summer. The Wildcats opened at 50-1 odds to go undefeated, and they entered the tournament as even-money favorites.
Arizona coach Sean Miller is still oh-for-Final Four attempts, his second-seeded team having been sent home by Wisconsin 85-78 on Saturday.
Undefeated Kentucky advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the fourth time in five seasons, defeating third-seeded Notre Dame 68-66 in the Midwest Region final at Cleveland on Saturday.
A year ago, Wisconsin topped Arizona by one point in overtime to advance to the Final Four. On Saturday, the top-seeded Badgers moved on again, coasting past the second-seeded Wildcats 85-78 in the West region final at Los Angeles.
Travis Trice led Michigan State with 24 points, including six points down the stretch, and Denzel Valentine chipped in with 18 to lead the No. 7 Spartans to a 62-58 win over the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners in an East Regional semifinal at the Carrier Dome on Friday.
Justise Winslow scored a game-high 21 points as top-seeded Duke outlasted fifth-seeded Utah 63-57 on Friday night in an NCAA South Regional semifinal game at NRG Stadium.
If it feels like Wisconsin and Arizona just played each other for a Final Four berth, it’s because they did. The Badgers and Wildcats clash in the Elite Eight for the second straight year, with the West Region title at stake.
Kentucky reached the Final Four in 2011, won the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and was the national runner-up in 2014, while Notre Dame has not reached the Final Four since 1978. They’ll meet Saturday in the Midwest Region final.
Sean Miller is arguably the country’s best recruiter not named John Calipari. Miller is also considered an expert coach, having led teams to the Sweet 16 six times and Elite Eight four. But he is also the latest to own this moniker: Best coach not to have reached a Final Four.
Wisconsin plays for the right to reach a second straight Final Four today when it meets Arizona in the West Region final. Should they win, the Badgers then could face a national semifinal matchup against undefeated Kentucky.
Anton Gill, who was averaging 2.4 points per game, came off the bench to score seven points in the final seven minutes Friday night and spark fourth-seeded Louisville’s 75-65 victory over eighth-seeded North Carolina State in an East Regional semifinal game at the Carrier Dome.
Przemek Karnowski had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Gonzaga Bulldogs advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 16 years with a convincing 74-62 win over UCLA in Houston.
If your bracket picks still have a good chance of winning the office pool, you need to plan on paying taxes on your jackpot.
As a No. 7 seed, Michigan State wasn’t expected to do much damage in the NCAA Tournament but has emerged as the team to beat in the East Regional. Oklahoma has won 12 of its past 15 games and provides Michigan State with challenges on the perimeter and in the paint.
North Carolina State upset No. 1-seeded Villanova in the round of 32 to advance to the Sweet 16. Louisville advanced to the regional semifinals for a program-record fourth straight time with a 66-53 win over Northern Iowa.
Gonzaga dominated UCLA when the teams met Dec. 16, but there is much more at stake Friday when the West Coast powerhouses meet in Houston in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs led by double digits for most of the second half en route to an 87-74 road win.
Duke and Utah each rely heavily on a standout freshman in the post and a senior star in the backcourt — two matchups that will take center stage Friday in Houston when the teams meet in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
With the cover on the line, Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky calmly sank two free throws. Obviously, the 7-footer had no clue what the second shot meant, but he put the money ball in the bank, the Badgers walked off with a 79-72 victory over North Carolina and underdog players were left with a worthless ticket and a ridiculous bad-beat story.
Arizona received everything it expected and probably a little more than it desired from Xavier, but the Wildcats ultimately advanced with a 68-60 victory in a West Regional semifinal. The Wildcats will meet Wisconsin in an Elite Eight game with a trip to the Final Four on the line.