Welcome to the Truda Report everyone. Today the last four teams in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament face off and decide who moves on the Monday's Finals. It has been a crazy year in the tournament, especially in the West and South brackets. I'll be taking a look at both the West and South match up of Michigan vs. Loyola Chicago, and the two one seeds facing off, Kansas vs. Villanova. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow, and hopefully I've helped you up to this point with your brackets.
Loyola Chicago vs. Michigan:
This game could be one of two things, a thriller with an outcome that changes the history books, or a wash. I've liked Michigan all season long and had them making the Final Four, but then losing to Virginia (that obviously didn't work out). Because of that, I'm inclined to continue picking Michigan to win games. Loyola Chicago has been a true Cinderella story though, and they've continued to win close games against good teams. That's why I say, this could either be a Michigan dominated game, or one that goes down to the wire, and so far those down to the wire games have gone Loyola's way.
Currently, though, I'm leaning Michigan in this one. Once you get down to the Final Four, teams have had a solid couple of days of rest and time to prepare. I like John Beilein as Michigan's coach, and I think he'll have prepared his team well. The Wolverines have been great defensively all season long and the rest and preparation will definitely help continue that trend. Also, Michigan's best offensive player, Moritz Wagner, was in foul trouble pretty early on last game and yet the team was still able to put points on the board. This offensive success should continue against Loyola, and if the Wolverines continue to play lockdown defense this game should be a wash. I'm taking Michigan to win this game, and it is just because I think that the two best teams in the country usually end up playing in the Finals every year, and despite Loyola's historic run, they aren't better than Michigan. Trust me, I would love to see Sister Jean's squad in the Finals against a one seed, and I'll definitely be rooting for them tonight, but I think realistically this is where the road ends.
Kansas vs. Villanova:
I think that a lot of people, including myself, had this matchup in their Final Four. This is a battle of blue bloods, and of two coaches who could each one day end up in the Hall of Fame. Both of these programs are consistent and dynastic, so this should be a really, REALLY, good game. I had Villanova making it to the finals over Kansas because I think heading into the tournament they were head over heels the best team. Right now though, after witnessing Kansas come back to beat Duke in a really close game, I'm having second thoughts about taking Nova. Kansas showed they can be clutch, and I think that they've actually been really slept on this year. Usually there is a star player on the team that draws headlines, but I haven't seen too much of that this year. They've just been an all around solid team and I think that could actually be to their benefit in this game. Nova had been shooting the three point shot at a historic rate, and they are very reliant on the production of Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson. Kansas has the ability to limit the production of at least one of those two, and if they can continue to play balanced team basketball they could win this game. I'd also like to point out that all it takes is one bad game from three and the Wildcats are goners. Kansas, by the way, has also been good from three, shooting at about 41% while not being so hot that I'm concerned about a drop off in their percentage causing a huge decrease in quality of play. Nova is so reliant on the three that if they stop hitting their shots at this high of a rate, the offense could really struggle.
In the end though, I can't ignore Villanova's body of work so far this season. They've been great from three. They've been able to drive to the basket and get to the free throw line. Their defense has been solid enough to limit opponents best players from going for huge scoring totals against them. Villanova is good, really good, and I think deserves to win the championship. That being said, I'm taking Kansas in an upset victory over the Wildcats. The Jayhawks have been slept on too much this season, and they are going to come into this game with a chip on their shoulder. Nobody is picking them to win this game, and I think that based on what I've seen from them so far this tournament, they should win this game. Kansas has played much tougher competition than Nova has had to face, and I think that does a lot for the Jayhawks confidence coming into tonight, as well as their preparedness for their match up with Villanova. Don't be mad at me if Nova wins this game and you picked Kansas; I told you that I think the Wildcats are the best team and deserve to win the Championship. I just think that this matchup favors Kansas more than it does Nova, and I can't keep on sleeping on the Jayhawks this season.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.