Men’s Final Four preview: What to know about the last four teams standing in the NCAA Tournament


The stage is set for the men’s Final Four in Phoenix.

UConn and Purdue, the No. 1 and No. 3 overall seeds, will take to the court in State Farm Arena, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, on Saturday as favorites to meet in the title game against relatively unlikely foes in No. 4 Alabama and No. 11 NC State.

The Huskies look to finish their historically-dominant two-year stretch with back-to-back national titles, which has only been done twice in the last half-century. But Alabama stands in the way with a chance to become the first program to take down a reigning national champion in its Final Four debut.

On the other side of the bracket, Matt Painter and likely two-time National Player of the Year Zach Edey hope to finally get over the hump after last year’s first round exit at the hands of No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson. But D.J. Burns and NC State can add another chapter to the Cinderella story that’s captured America’s heart as they compete for the program’s third NCAA Tournament title.

Here is all you need to know about each Final Four team and its road to Phoenix:

Game One: No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 11 NC State, 6:09 p.m.

Purdue Boilermakers (33-4)
Head Coach:
Matt Painter (19th season)
Final Four appearances (record): 1969, 1980, 2024 (1-2)
KenPom ranking: No. 3 (No. 2 offense, No. 16 defense)

Road to Phoenix: Purdue beat Marquette to win a loaded November Maui Invitational before cruising to the Big 10 regular season title and a No. 1 seed for the second year in a row after going 17-3 in the league, with regular season losses coming against Northwestern (overtime), Nebraska and Ohio State. The Boilermakers, with the eighth-best margin of victory in Division I (14 points), were upset by Wisconsin in overtime in the Big 10 Tournament semifinal before beating No. 16 Grambling State (78-50), No. 8 Utah State (106-67), No. 5 Gonzaga (80-68) and No. 2 Tennessee (72-66) to get to their third Final Four.

Players to watch: Zach Edey, the 7-foot-4 traditional center, has been far…

Source link :

Author : Hartford Courant

Publish date : 2024-04-01 18:08:00

Copyright for syndicated content belongs to the linked Source.