The 2014 edition of the NCAA Tournament has reached its Final Four stage with two teams from the SEC (Florida, Kentucky), one from the American Conference (UConn) and one team from the Big Ten (Wisconsin).
None of the teams in this Final Four were here last year, but all four schools are previous national champions. Kentucky the most recent ones in 2012; UConn last winning a championship in 2011; Florida winning a second of a back to back in 2007; and Wisconsin hoping to win their second championship overall, and first since 1941.
The #1 team in the nation and the only #1 seed remaining in the tournament. The road to the Final Four has been through Albany, winning 67-55; then came Pittsburgh, beating the Panthers 61-45; next were the UCLA Bruins, losing 79-68; followed by beating Dayton in the Elite Eight 62-52. Casey Prather with 14.2 points per game is their leading scorer. It is the program’s first Final Four since 2007, and they’ll be facing #7 UConn next.
The #8 Wildcats are the lowest seed remaining in the tournament, but they’re also the number one preseason team. Don’t get confused. They started out with beating Kansas State 56-49, followed by a 78-76 win over undefeated Wichita State. In the Sweet Sixteen they beat Louisville 74-69, and in the Elite Eight they overcame Michigan 75-72. Julius Randle with 15 points per game is their leading scorer. It is the first Final Four since 2012, and they’ll be playing against #2 Wisconsin next.
Connecticut are a #7 seed making it to the Final Four, which has only happened once before in NCAA Tournament history. They started out by beating Saint Joseph’s 89-81 in overtime, followed by beating Villanova 77-65. In the Sweet Sixteen they overcame Iowa State 81-76, and in the Elite Eight their victim was Michigan State, beating the Spartans 60-54. Shabazz Napier, averaging 17.4 points per game is their leading scorer. It is the program’s first Final Four since 2011, and they’ll be playing Florida next.
The #2 Badgers are into the Final Four for the first time since 2000. They’ve beaten American 75-35 followed by a 85-77 win over Oregon before reaching the Sweet Sixteen, overcoming Baylor 69-52 there, followed by a 64-63 win over Arizona, in overtime, at the Elite Eight stage. Frank Kaminsky, scoring 13.6 points per game is their leading scorer, and they’ll be playing Kentucky next.