Tori Foster, Staff Writer
The National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Men’s Basketball tournament for 2019 has been a nail biter for everyone across the country.
The tournament started with 68 teams from all over the United States. Millions of college basketball fans filled out their March Madness bracket before the tournament start, just to be ruined by the uprising of different college teams. Currently, the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament is in their Final Four Round. The Final Four consists of Auburn, Virginia, Texas Tech and Michigan State.
The fifth seed in the Midwestern region, Auburn (30-9, SEC 11-7) was victorious against the second seed in the region, Kentucky (30-7 SEC 15-3). After going into overtime, Auburn won 77-71.
Texas Tech (30-6, Big 12 14-4), No. 3 in the West, finished with a six-point win over the No. 1 seed Gonzaga (33-4 WCC16-0). The final score was Texas Tech 75 Gonzaga 69.
Auburn and Texas Tech will be making their first appearance in the NCAA’s Final Four Saturday, April 6. They both have the determination to win a national title in the initial Final Four appearance like the University of Connecticut did 20 years ago.
The quarterfinals heated up as the No. 2 seed in the East, Michigan State (32-6, Big Ten 16-4) faced the No. 1 seed in the region Duke (32-6 ACC 14-4). The game went down to the wire, but Michigan State had 68 and Duke 67.
Virginia (33-3, ACC 16-2) was still able to remain the number seed in the South after competing against Purdue (26-10) which was ranked third in the region. Virginia 80-Purdue 75.
Michigan State is the only team left in the final four that has won a national championship. Virginia on the other hand is making history by making their first appearance in the Final Four since 1984.
When analyzing the Final Four teams there are many things to take into consideration.
Auburn’s overall team statistics are 80.1 points per game, 34.1 rebounds per game, 14.4 assists per game, and 69 points allowed to be scored by the competitor. Head coach Bruce Pearl has a record of 100-71 within his five years of coaching Auburn, but an overall 526-216 record. Auburn is a team that likes to run, because it’s all about tempo and pace. Despite not having the versatile forward Chuma Okeke (38.7 percent 3-pointers), sophomore, Auburn’s leading scorer Bryce Brown (15.8), senior, leading rebounder Austin Wiley (4.2), junior, and assist leader Jared Harper (5.9), junior, could lead the team to victory.
Michigan State’s coach Tom Izzo has a 606-231 record throughout his 24 years of coaching the team. This is not Michigan State’s first time making a Final Four appearance, it is actually their 10th. Their first time making it to the Final Four was in 1957. The leading scorer, 3-point shooter and assist player, Cassius Winston, junior, has played a big part in securing Michigan State’s spot in the Final Four. Xavier Tillman, sophomore, Nick Ward, junior and Kenny Goins, senior, make up a very dangerous mixture on the court along with Winston and his defensive skills.
Texas Tech is not a team to underestimate even though it is their first time in the Final Four. Texas Tech’s coach Chris Beard (75-30 Texas Tech 171-60 overall) has America’s most effective defense. They are ranked No. 1 in defense according to the Basketball Power Index. Once Texas Tech’s Tariq Owens, senior, Matt Mooney, senior, Jarrett Culver, sophomore, Davide Moretti, sophomore, Norense Odiase, senior, Brandone Francis, senior and Kyler Edwards, freshman, hit the court the team’s personnel is unmatchable. If one player fails, then the other player will assist.
Virginia is a slightly different team than the other teams, because they play a slow tempo game. The players usually pack the paint and close off driving lanes, so teams are forced to attempts 3-pointers. Virginia is ranked second in defense and offense in the Basketball Power Index. Actually, they are ranked higher in offense efficiency than defense efficiency. The team averages 71.3 points, 34.8 rebounds, 14.3 assist, and 55.4 allowed points per game. Ty Jerome, junior, is the assist lead for Virginia and he makes sure the team and himself are getting as many points possible. Kyle Guy, junior, holds the most 3-pointers made over his career at 114 and he is the team’s leading scorer. Guy knows how to find openings and take advantage of the space to shot.
Auburn will face Virginia Saturday, April 6, at 5 p.m. Following that game will be Texas Tech and Michigan State at 7:49 p.m. on CBS. Who will advance on to the championship game Monday?