NCAA Tournament: Beware the Lower Seeds in Final Four Matchups

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 31, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

The Final Four of the NCAA Tournament is set, and just because a seven-seed and an eight-seed have joined two top-two seeds, it does not mean the lower seeds cannot advance.

The Final Four of the 2012 NCAA Tournament is now set and, as has become the norm, only one top-seed has advanced far enough to make it to the Final Four with that being top ranked Florida, as top-seeded Arizona lost in the Elite Eight Saturday allowing second seeded Wisconsin to advance, and top-seeded Virginia lost in the Sweet 16 after the other top-seeds from Wichita State lost the previous weekend in the round of 32.

Those latter two upsets paved the way for two higher seeds to crash the Final Four, as seventh seeded Connecticut advanced by topping the team that vanquished Virginia in Michigan State, and eighth-seeded Kentucky rode the momentum of its upset of Wichita State to two more wins over Louisville and Michigan to crash the party.

Thus one Final Four matchup has the one-seeds from Florida taking on the seven-seeds from Connecticut, while the other one has second-seeded Wisconsin taking on the eight-seeds from Kentucky. And you would probably be best served by ignoring the high-seeding numbers next to the teams’ names in these contests on the NCAA Basketball odds as it is entirely possible that we could have a totally bracket-busting seven-vs.-eight National Championship Game!

Florida Gators (1) vs. Connecticut Huskies (7)
The Gators probably have the most interesting storyline of this Final Four, as the number one team in the country is now 36-2 and has a chance to avenge both of those regular season losses here in Arlington. Their last loss before their current 30-game winning streak was by one point to this Connecticut team on a last-season shot by Shabazz Napier, and their other loss was to Wisconsin, a defeat they can avenge in the championship game if the Badgers cooperate.

Still, it is not a foregone conclusion that Florida will avenge either loss. For a point of reference in regards to the streak that Connecticut is on right now, just flash back to 2011 when the Huskies finished only ninth in the Big East Conference before Kemba Walker took the team on his shoulders and rode them to four wins in four days to win the Big East Tournament, and UConn then just kept on winning with six more triumphs in the NCAA Tournament.

The final victory that year was over Butler for the national title.

Fast forward three years to this season, substitute Napier for Walker and here is Connecticut again making an improbable run as a seven-seed that is now two wins away from another national title at what were longshot odds prior to this tournament. And the Huskies got to this point with perhaps their best victory of all knocking off a Michigan State team that, now at full strength, was considered one of the favorites to win this whole thing.

Yes Florida probably has more raw talent and it has the motivation of revenge, but if you do not think that Connecticut has a chance here, well, you have not been paying attention!

Wisconsin Badgers (2) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (8)
A case can be made that Wisconsin has been the best team in this tournament from an “eye test” perspective, and the first time they were involved in a close game, they passed the test with flying colors by knocking off top-seeded Arizona in overtime.

With that said however, Kentucky is no ordinary eight-seed. But do not take our word on that, just check out the latest odds that have the Wildcats as small favorites in this game vs. a second seeded team!

John Calipari almost always gets the best recruits in the country to come to Lexington every year, and that usually means that he ends up with very young teams that only get better as the season goes on and the peaks at the perfect time come tournament time.

Well, here we go again! The Wildcats are led by four freshman and they had a very uneven regular season that saw them finish at 22-9, resulting in their eight-seed. And yet, all that they have done in the last three games is knock off a Wichita State team that was previously undefeated, beat a Louisville team that was one of the three favorites to win the national title and then beat second seeded Michigan on a last-second three-pointer by Aaron Harrison!

Yes the Wildcats are the lowest seed remaining but they may also have the best momentum right now considering the caliber of the teams that they have had to beat as an eight-seed, and the fact that they are favored speaks volumes for the respect that they merit right now.

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