It is now countdown time until the big games Saturday night. #7 MSU and #1 Duke will be playing first Saturday night at 6:09 (TBS) and, following that game, #1 Wisconsin and #1 Kentucky will play at 8:49 (TBS). Thankfully, after a rough start to the week, I have two more days to get ready to cheer on our teams in the big games before my mom fires me from our bracket pool next year. Due to all of the stress I experienced last weekend watching the Elite 8 games with my mom, my stomach has been upset all week. I finally started feeling better today, but then I took off after a squirrel for the first time this Spring and pulled a muscle in my leg. I have full faith that I will recover and be prepared to help my mom cheer on our Big Ten teams Saturday night, but due to my illness I will have to limit my Final Four analysis to the top four reasons why MSU and Wisconsin should be in the NCAA Championship game:
- MSU Coach Izzo will be in his 7th Final Four since 1999 and the coach has his team, that was not ranked at the end of the season, playing its best basketball of the season and the team leaders, Travis Trice, Branden Dawson, and Denzel Valentine, playing confident and making critical plays to win games.
- Wisconsin’s team has won 10 straight games, with Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky leading the charge, and it will be a great matchup of the most efficient offense (Wisconsin) against the best defense (Kentucky). Wisconsin lost to Kentucky in the Final Four last year and this year’s team includes eight returning players determined to achieve a different outcome this year.
- This will be the second time MSU and Wisconsin are in the Final Four together. The first time was in 2000, when MSU went on to win the NCAA Championship after defeating Wisconsin and Florida (more Big Ten Conference mojo for MSU). It would be a another great ending this year if one or two of the Big Ten teams move on to play in and potentially win the NCAA Championship.
- Cheering MSU and Wisconsin to victory on Saturday night would mean a rematch of the Big Ten Championship game that Wisconsin won in overtime and a chance for MSU to even the score and win the NCAA Championship (my mom is still talking about the last eight seconds of the Big Ten Championship game).
I have three teams from my bracket playing in the Final Four (Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Duke) and my mom has two teams (MSU and Wisconsin) remaining, but she has MSU defeating Notre Dame in the championship game (she is still talking about the Notre Dame/Kentucky game). Hopefully, Coach Izzo’s magic and the Big Ten Conference mojo surrounding this tournament will lead to a NCAA Championship game between MSU and Wisconsin and keep the unbeaten season of the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers as the last perfect season in the record books.
Go Spartans!!!! Go Wisconsin!!!