The final weekend of the college basketball season is now set: South Region champ Duke will square off with the winners of the East Region, Michigan State, in Saturday’s openers, while West Region champ Wisconsin will try to end Midwest Region champ Kentucky’s bid for an undefeated season.
And Indianapolis will be, in a word, insane.
Let’s start with the obvious: Kentucky is trying to become the first team to even go 40-0 in a season while becoming the first undefeated champion since Indiana in 1976. The last team to make it to the Final Four without a loss on their resume? UNLV. In 1991.
That, alone, is enough to turn a Final Four into Big Blue Madness.
But it’s not alone.
For the first time since 2008 and just the second time since Y2K was a thing, there are three No. 1 seeds heading to the Final Four. In a season where one team — Kentucky — has been so dominant and the drop off between the elite and the very good is significant, this is a good thing. We want the Wildcats to be challenged. Did you see how great Saturday night’s Kentucky-Notre Dame game was? Give me two more of those, please.
It gets better, because the only team that’s not a No. 1 seed is Michigan State, the “underdog” No. 7 seed coached by Tom Izzo. Izzo has set a record for career NCAA Tournament wins when being the lower-seeded team, and it would be Peak Izzo for him to manage to win the national title in this Final Four. Are you going to put it past him? Because I’m not.
On the other side of the bracket, we get the Wisconsin-Kentucky matchup that we’ve all wanted to see. The Badgers have the makeup to pick off the Wildcats, especially if Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker play the way they did this weekend. And if they get past Kentucky? Well, that just means that ol’ Bo Ryan will be coaching for his first Division I national title.
And then there is Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose trip to Indianapolis is his 12th trip to the Final Four, a record that he now shares with the UCLA legend John Wooden.
If Coach K beats Tom Izzo and gets to Monday night’s title game, he will have a chance to win his fifth national title as a head coach, a number that will put him second of all time, one ahead of Adolph Rupp and behind only Wooden (who else?), who won ten.
The best part?
What if Coach K’s playing to win his fifth national title against a Kentucky team playing for a 40-0 season?
Buckle up, guys, because …