Saturdays NCAA’s D1 Final Four semi-final games features number 9 upstart Witchita State who upset their way to the final four against the number 2 ranked team in the regular season polls and the number 1 seed in their region the Lousiville Cardinals of Coach Rick Pitino.
In the other semi-final the first time that 4 seeds have ever met in the semi-finals are Big Ten Michigan and Big East Contender Syracuse.
In the Louisville-Witchita game Witchita has used a weapon that they had not used that much during the regular season the 3 point shot. After a 2 for 20 10% 3 point performance in their second round and first game win over Pittsburgh they have gone 27 for 60 at a 45% shooting percentage.
They went 14-28 for 50% from behind the arc in their upset win over the number 1 rated in the regular season final poll Gonzaga in country and the number one team in West region. In their win of LaSalle they went 5-12 from beyond the 3 point line. In their regional final victory they shot 8 for 20 beyond the arc.
The question is can they keep up that shooting sucess against a very strong defensive minded Louisville Cardinal Team. Louisville has not been really hard pressed in their four wins to get to the final four. Witchias will have a difficult job of stopping the penetraion of the two hard driving guard and may have to resort to some type of zone to stop their penetration off the dribble. Certainly on paper Lousiville is more athletic has been in more big games and played a much tougher schedule overall then the “Shockers”.
Witchia is only the 2nd 9th seeded tema to ever make the final four and they are not the lowest ever to reach that goial as 2 ll’s have done it in the past.
The lowest seeded team ever to win the NCAA CHampionship was the 8th seeded 1985 Villanova Wildcats as they defeated Georgetown in the finals.
My pick here is obvious, Lousiville just to strong physically and more athletically.
In the battle of the 4 seeds which is a 10th ranked national poll regular season standing Michigan agaainst the 16th ranked team in the country. The key in this game is can Michigan and Troy Burke solve successfully the tough and fa=mous 2-3 zone.
Very few teams have solved that zone successfully, although Louisville did in the final of the Big East Championship Game this year.
Michigan is a better shooting team, but both teams play in very tough conferences as the Big Ten is the number 1 ranked conference while the Big East is the 2nd ranked conference in the country. Michigan Coach is 0-9 against Syracuse and 0-1 since taking over the Michiugan job.
My pick here is Syracuse which would set up an All-Big East Championship Game for Monday Night, April 8.