And then there were four.
Michigan and Louisville secured massive wins on Sunday, joining Syracuse and Wichita State as the four representatives in college basketball's promised land.
It's a been a truly unpredictable season, and the surprising Final Four group is perfectly fitting.
It may surprise you, but those on Twitter have had some opinions regarding the foursome heading to the Georgia Dome next week.
Let's start with Syracuse and Michigan. As CBS Sports' Gary Parrish pointed out, these weren't likely candidates for Atlanta a month ago:
Michigan went 3-4 in February. Syracuse went 4-4. They'll play each other Saturday in the Final Four. Blog: cbsprt.co/Xl4J0R— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) March 31, 2013
But some of us (like USA Today's Nicole Auerbach) are certainly happy they made the successful turnaround:
Beilein vs. Boeheim. Michigan offense vs. Syracuse zone. Cannot wait.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 31, 2013
As ESPN's Chad Ford noted, the guard matchup also serves as an enticing matchup:
Will be interesting to see how Burke handles the length of Syracuse's zone. MCW is 6-6. Triche 6-4. Burke 6-0.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) March 31, 2013
If it comes down to the head coaches, Michigan might be in trouble. Boeheim has had quite the upper hand against the Wolverines head coach (via The Desert Sun's Andrew L. John):
No matter who wins, though, we're going to have a chance to witness something we haven't seen in 16 years (via ESPN Stats & Info):
4th seed Michigan will face 4th seed Syracuse in a national semifinal. Winner will try to become 2nd 4-seed to win title (1997 Arizona)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 31, 2013
(That was 16 years ago?!)
On the other side of the bracket, Wichita State is clearly the unanticipated Cinderella. ESPN Stats & Info puts on a number on how unanticipated the Shockers' run really was:
1,820 out of the 8.15 million brackets in ESPN's Tournament Challenge correctly picked Syracuse and Wichita State to reach the Final Four.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 31, 2013
I'd be interested to know how many of those aren't alumni or didn't pick based on the awesomeness of each team's mascot.
But the Shockers get Louisville in the Final Four, and with the Cardinals tearing through the entire country right now, that could spell trouble for Gregg Marshall and company. Grantland's Shane Ryan broke down the matchup:
As for Wichita, Pitino will look at them, whisper the word "press," and they will faint— Shane Ryan (@ShaneRyanHere) March 31, 2013
CBS Sports' Seth Davis agrees with Louisville being (very, very, very) far ahead of the pack right now:
The Heat RT @thecoaxer: which of the final four do you think matches up best with Louisville?— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 31, 2013
Meanwhile, Yahoo! Sports' Andy Glockner is simply looking forward to a potential Big East swan song in the championship:
Michigan (and maaaaaybe Wichita St) will have a lot to say about it, but can you imagine an all-BE final post mortem?— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) March 31, 2013
ESPN's J.A. Adande isn't nearly as excited:
If Louisville-Duke couldn't provide a great game I have low expectations for the Final 4.— J.A. Adande (@jadande) March 31, 2013
That makes one of us. Is it Saturday yet?