Everything you need to know about the Final Four today
Here's everything you need to know about today's Final Four games, which feature No. 11 Loyola and No. 3 Michigan at 6:09 p.m. Eastern and No. 1 seeds Kansas and Villanova at 8:49.
(11) Loyola Chicago Ramblers vs. (3) Michigan Wolverines
Game time: 6:09 pm ET
TV: TBS | Loyola TeamCast on truTV | Michigan TeamCast on TNT
What you need to know: The Ramblers are the fourth 11 seed to make the Final Four. The past three (1986 LSU, 2006 George Mason, 2011 VCU) all lost in the semifinal game, but two stats make Loyola a more enticing 11 seed than ever: The Ramblers are the only one of the four 11 seeds to have an undefeated record against ranked opponents heading into the Final Four (at 4-0), and they have the best winning percentage of the four in tight games (six points or closer), at 72.73 percent. That clutchness was evident early in the tournament when Loyola won its first three games by a combined four points before blowing out Kansas State by 17.
But Michigan is a formidable opponent for the Cinderella. The Wolverines’ Moe Wagner will be a matchup problem for Loyola. And Michigan is fantastic at forcing turnovers (their opponents average 12.8, ranked No. 39 in the country), without giving up many of their own. Loyola averages 12.3 turnovers a game (266th in DI), which should translate to a fair share of fast-break opportunities for the Wolverines — something no Ramblers fan wants to see.
(1) Villanova Wildcats vs. (1) Kansas Jayhawks
Game time: 8:49 pm ET
TV: TBS | Kansas TeamCast on TNT | Villanova TeamCast on truTV
What you need to know: The last two 1 seeds standing are, on paper, the best two teams in the Final Four. One of the two was ranked in the top 5 of the AP poll every week this season, and both were in the top 5 in six of the 18 weeks this year. But only one can play for the championship.
Villanova is in its second Final Four in three years. The last time the Wildcats made it to the semifinal (in 2016), they won the whole thing with one of the best championship endings we’ve ever seen.
This year’s team boasts the No. 1 offense in the country, thanks in large part to AP Player of the year Jalen Brunson, who averages 19.2 points and 4.6 assists a game. But don’t be tricked into thinking Villanova is a one-man army; six Wildcats average double figures.
Kansas may have 15 Final Fours to its name, but the Jayhawks haven’t been in the semifinal since 2012, when they lost in the title game to Kentucky. Of those 15 Final Fours, Kansas has just three titles to show. But this year’s team, led by senior guard Devonte’ Graham, has everything it needs to hang another banner in Phog Allen. Kansas is the 11th best shooting team in the country from the floor and the three-point line.