By JOSE REYES
The frenzy that is March Madness, filled with both excitement and despair, has finally come to an end. We witnessed some crazy upsets, big wins, and some close competitive games that kept us on the edge of our seats until the final buzzer. With that being said let’s get into the most electrifying games, the Final Four.
The game to kick off the final four was between Michigan, a three seed, and the fourth 11 seed to ever make it into the final four, Loyola-Chicago. Looking at the seeds, the result might have been clear, but since Loyola was on a 14 game streak, it was sort of a toss up. Michigan came out on top, and moved on to the championship. Moritz Wagner, with 24 total points, 15 plus rebounds, 10-16 shots from inside the three point line, and 3-7 from behind the three point line, the first ever since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1983.
Both teams shot fairly the same, with Loyola hitting 43.1 percent of its field goals, and Michigan not far behind with 42.4 percent. Cameron Krutwig, with 17 points, held Loyola’s ground fairly well. Michigan hit 25 percent of their 3 pointers while Loyola only made 10 percent. Wagner, with no surprise, shot a crucial 3 pointer with 6:59 left in the game. That shot was a huge momentum shift for Michigan and they rode that wave to finish strong at 69-57.
The following game was between two competitive number 1 seeds, Kansas and Villanova. Villanova worked hard, and waited for no one to finish up the first half with a 15 point lead. Villanova had a historic shooting performance from behind the arc with an astounding 13 3-pointers by half time, an amazing feat that tied an NCAA tournament record for most 3-pointers in a game.
Eric Paschall was one of the most influential players of the game, and his stats were pristine. He totaled 24 points, making 10-11 shots, and as if that was not enough, he got 3 rebounds along with 3 assists. This is their second time competing for a title in the last three years, and their 3-pointer before half time was their sixty-first of the tournament, which also meant they tied for a NCAA record. A monumental 3-pointer shot by Collin Gillespie with 13:06 left in the first half had Kansas trailing by double digits for the rest of the game.
As it came time for the championship game, excitement and suspense was very high. Villanova, who had won all their previous tournament games by double digits, was trailing by 7 points midway through the first half. They finally switched gears and dominated the rest of the match. Donte DiVincenzo made 18 of Villanova’s 37 points in the first half, making 5–7 shots from the 3-point line. In addition, DiVincenzo had 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Michigan’s Moritz Wagner made a total of 11 points and had 5 rebounds at halftime.
He went on to get four turnovers. Wagner was one of the main reasons Michigan took their largest lead in the game with 11 minutes left in the first half. The score was 21- 14 and Villanova was able to close that distance by scoring 23 of the next 30 point in that half to take the lead at the end of the half with 37-28. They went on to finish strong with a score of 79 – 62. Villanova really played their hearts out after the latter period of the first half, and the stats prove. Well deserved some might say.