Raise your hand if you had this Final Four in your bracket.
Now put your hand down, liar.
It's not exactly difficult to see why each team is headed to North Texas next weekend. Florida, the tournament's No. 1 overall seed and the nation's most complete team, was a popular pick. Wisconsin has a dangerous offense that can beat teams in a multitude of ways. Connecticut has Shabazz Napier, and it's clear you don't bet against Shabazz Napier. Kentucky has the most talented roster in the country, and the Wildcats are finally clicking at the right time.
Still, if you were legitimately expecting a No. 7 seed and No. 8 seed to join Florida and Wisconsin in the Final Four, you should probably buy a lottery ticket.
This is exactly why the NCAA tournament is so captivating, though, and if the first two weeks are any indication, the final three games of the season will be unbelievable.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know.
All Your Bracket Essentials
Final Four Schedule and Viewing Info
|2014 Final Four Schedule|
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|(1) Florida vs. (7) Connecticut||6:09 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|(2) Wisconsin vs. (8) Kentucky||8:49 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
(1) Florida vs. (7) Connecticut
When these two teams met at Gampel Pavilion in December, Shabazz Napier hit a four-point play with 33 seconds remaining to give the Huskies a one-point lead, and after Michael Frazier put the Gators back in front, the galvanizing guard did this:
Since that stinging defeat, though, Billy Donovan's squad has won 30 straight games, including victories in all four of its NCAA tournament games by double digits.
In fact, as SportsCenter pointed out on Twitter, Florida's only two losses this season were to fellow Final Four teams:
UConn's ride since that win has been significantly bumpier. The Huskies went 12-6 in the American Athletic Conference with wins over Memphis and Cincinnati, but they closed out the regular season with a 33-point loss at Louisville and followed that up with another defeat to the Cardinals in the conference championship.
However, with wins over three of the top four seeds in the East, including popular national title favorite Michigan State, Kevin Ollie has his team clicking on all cylinders.
The point guard matchup here is undoubtedly the most intriguing.
Although the Naismith Player of the Year finalists may indicate differently, Napier is arguably the best point guard in America. Another UConn point guard, who led the Huskies on a similar run three years ago, certainly thinks so:
Basically the equivalent of Dumbledore with the ball in his hands, Napier is capable of getting (or assisting) whatever shot he wants, and as the Gators know all too well, he only seems to get better as the moment becomes more intense.
On the other end, Scottie Wilbekin may not have the same star power as Napier, but he epitomizes everything Florida has been about this season.
He's strong and physical. He's a terrific on-ball defender. He's solid on the offensive end. He makes some incredibly difficult shots, and, much like Napier, he tends to come up big when his team needs him most. As Bleacher Report's C.J. Moore noted on Twitter, Wilbekin should give Napier a much more difficult matchup than an obviously injured Keith Appling did:
The senior is the engine that drives the best team in the country, and it will be fascinating to see him square off against the best player remaining.
(2) Wisconsin vs. (8) Kentucky
Kentucky is young, and it clearly doesn't matter.
Future top-five pick Julius Randle owned the interior en route to being named the Midwest Region's Most Outstanding Player, and the much-maligned Aaron Harrison put the Wildcats on his back against Michigan before hitting the game-winning three:
This Kentucky squad, which brought in arguably the best recruiting class in history, struggled with inconsistency for much of the season, but it has finally realized its potential. Harrison gave an explanation for how that's happening, via Rivals' Brett Dawson:
With the Wildcats now playing close to their ceiling, they are arguably the most dangerous team left. But don't overlook Wisconsin.
The Badgers, who rank 12th in America in defensive rebounding percentage, have hard-nosed bigs Frank "The Tank" Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes to keep Kentucky away from the offensive glass. They also typically have five shooters on the court at all times, and Kentucky can have lapses on the defensive end.
Don't be surprised if, much like Kentucky's Elite Eight battle with another Big Ten team, this one turns into a back-and-forth offensive exhibition.
It's probably safe to say most people would be OK with that.
Note: All advanced stats courtesy of KenPom.com unless noted otherwise.
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