Originally Published: April 2, 2008
It’s that time of year again. Everyone’s checking their brackets to see how they compare with others in their office pool. It is just simply a great time to be a basketball fan. The Final Four will take place on Friday but let’s look back at some of the memorable moments thus far in the tournament that brought us here:
1. Freshmen Phenoms: When the brackets were first announced, everyone immediately looked at the first round 6 vs. 11 in the Midwest Regional. USC versus Kansas State or better known as Mayo versus Beasley. Those two players were all the hype at the beginning of March but they are not playing anymore. The two freshmen still in the spotlight are Kevin Love of UCLA and Derrick Rose of Memphis. In his team’s four tournament games, Love has averaged 21.8 points and 11 rebounds per game. Derrick Rose’s statistics are also impressive, averaging 20.5 points, six rebounds and six assists.
2. Upset Utopia: Seriously, how many people picked San Diego over Connecticut? Siena over Vanderbilt? Western Kentucky over Drake? I know I didn’t. The greatest story out of all of them has been Stephen Curry and how he advanced his Davison Wildcat team to the Elite Eight. I picked Davidson to beat Gonzaga but that was it. Very few people gave them much of a chance and they have answered their critics. Curry and his lightning-quick release averaged 32 points per game on the Wildcats’ run to the Elite Eight. They even had a chance to beat Kansas in the final seconds but fell just short.
3. Top Seeds Still Alive: Despite all the upsets that have taken place, all four top-ranked teams are still alive and headed to the Final Four. UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas and Memphis have now become the first set of number one seeds to all advance to the Final Four. The previous record was three number ones and one number two seed in 1993. Also, in both 1997 and 1999, three number one seeds were accompanied by a number four seed.
There was a lot of madness in March. But now that we are in April, there is still one weekend of March Madness remaining. On Saturday, the two semifinal matchups will take place. UNC and Kansas will play the nightcap tipping off at 7:47 p.m. local time, with UCLA and Memphis preceding them with a 5:07 tip. The winners of those games will then play for the National Championship on Monday, April 7. It’s a great time to be a basketball fan!