The Final Four isn’t just two games being played on the court. It also goes deeper, with stories off of the court.
This year, it’s no different.
This might be one of the more interesting Final Fours in recent memory. There have been more than a few big storylines, including one that shook the nation.
The Louisville Cardinals and Wichita State Shockers went through two very different roads to get here, but their stories are both intriguing. Here are some of the biggest ones in this matchup.
The Cardinals Playing for Kevin Ware
By now, nearly every single person has seen the gruesome injury to Kevin Ware in the Elite Eight matchup against the Duke Blue Devils. It was a frightening incident that reminds many that this is just a game, and that these are just kids.
Ware wasn’t the best player on the team, averaging only 4.5 points per game. However, his positive attitude after such a horrific injury has not only motivated his team, but the entire country. He even went on Late Show with David Letterman to give this funny Top 10:
It’s hard not to root for this team after what they’ve been through. It seemed unlikely that they would be able to move on after witnessing the tragic event, but Ware's injury appeared to motivate them to win for their teammate. The entire country will be watching, and most of them will be rooting for the Cardinals.
Will the Cinderella Story Live On?
The Shockers have been tested in every game in the NCAA tournament, yet they’ve proven themselves time and time again. They were able to knock off the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the round of 32, making Gonzaga the first No. 1 seed to go down. They also beat the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes in the Elite Eight, despite the Shockers being a major underdog.
Although there have been other lower seeds, the Shockers are actually the first ever No. 9 seed to make it to the Final Four. The only lower seeds to go farther were LSU, George Mason and VCU, all who were No. 11 seeds.
People will continue to doubt this team, and they’re fine with it. With players like Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall, they can attack opponents from anywhere on the floor. They don’t have a problem being the lower seed since it hasn’t stopped them this far.
Rick Pitino a Hall of Fame Coach?
There are few coaches in the NCAA right now that have been as successful as Rick Pitino has been.
Now he’s likely going to be a Hall of Famer.
The head coach for the Cardinals is expected to be named to the Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday, according to a Friday USA Today report. Pitino, who won a National Championship at Kentucky, has the chance to be the first head coach to win a title at two different schools.
The pressure will be high. Not only is he a game away from going to the championship game, he’s two wins away from making history.