Defending champion UConn heads to Arizona for the Final Four in the 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament

An exciting weekend of college basketball across the United States has brought the Final Four to Phoenix, AZ. The 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has reached the end of its month-long saga, with history potentially on the line for one of the teams and Cinderella dreams still alive for others. It all starts next weekend, on Saturday evening, how the final two teams are determined.

UConn Huskies want to repeat

On Saturday, the University of Connecticut Huskies looked to make history. Since 2007, when the University of Florida Gators accomplished the feat (and, it should be noted, also repeated as national champions), no team that was the defending champion had returned to the Final Four the next season. Given a chance to make history, the Huskies beat the University of Illinois and defeated the Fighting Illini 77-52. This gave UConn its first ticket to Phoenix on Saturday evening as East Region champions.

The surprising matchup took place in the West Region, where sixth-seeded Clemson and fourth-seeded Alabama were the finalists. In a hard-fought battle, the Crimson Tide survived the game and sent the Tigers back to South Carolina with an 89-82 victory. The only group where both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds met in the regional final was the Midwest, where Purdue had to work hard to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers 72-66. In doing so, the Boilermakers shook off the “monkey on their back” of losing to three consecutive double-digit seeds in 2021 (#13 North Texas in 2021, #15 St. Peter’s in 2022 and #16 Farleigh Dickinson last year). NCAA tournament.

Perhaps the most impressive result was Sunday’s final game, which completed the Final Four. The tournament’s favorite so far has been the North Carolina State Wolfpack, who won five straight games in five days to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament (otherwise they would NOT have been selected to this year’s NCAA Tournament). Three more wins this year’s March Madness saw the Wolf Pack on the precipice of an improbable trip west – and it would face the bluest of the blue bloods in college basketball.

Against their conference rival, the Duke Blue Devils (one of the teams they defeated en route to the ACC Championship), NC State did not start well and fell behind by six points at halftime. However, the Pack would dominate in the second half, outscoring the Blue Devils by nearly twenty points to claim a stunning 76-64 victory over their conference opponent.

Obstruction of the Final Four

It will be a tale of two Davids facing off against two Goliaths when these four teams arrive in Phoenix next weekend to play for the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament champion. On one side, Eastern champion UConn faces Western champion and upstart Alabama. On the other side of the bracket, it’s South Surprise, NC State, trying to stop Midwest champion Purdue.

According to HardRockBET, both underdogs will have a hard time defeating their opponents. NC State is a 9.5 dog for the Boilermakers, in part because no one has figured out what to do with Purdue C Zach Edey. The Wolf Pack may have the answer in their own “man in the middle,” DJ Burns, Jr. Burns (pictured) is listed at 6-foot-3 and a very mild 275 pounds and basically has brought everyone who stood against him into submission. Whoever wins the battle between Edey and Burns will win this game – and while I want Purdue to win, I think the Wolf Pack covers the spread.

A similar situation can be found in the battle between UConn and Alabama. “Bama is an 11.5-point hit to the Huskies in the second game, and this is one that the recruiters may have corrected.” UConn has been trying to repeat its title as national champions since the start of this season, and in the process there were there are few pitfalls. While Alabama could keep up with the Huskies for a while, UConn has pulled away in every game of the NCAA Tournament and buried its opponent in the second half – I think that will happen again.

That leaves you with Purdue versus UConn for the National Championship…but let’s let the teams enjoy their regionals and trip to Phoenix before discussing the eventual winner!

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