Your Final Four: 3 Giants, 1 Underdog

Loyola-Chicago still in the hunt, along with Kansas, Villanova, and Michigan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2018 8:06 PM CDT
Your Final Four: 3 Giants, 1 Underdog
Loyola-Chicago guard Ben Richardson leaves with a piece of the net in his teeth after leading his team to a 78-62 victory over Kansas State in a regional final of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Atlanta.   (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Three teams that need no introduction. One from out of nowhere. Though the 2018 NCAA Tournament produced the biggest upset in the history of the event along with a seemingly endless string of wild finishes and unexpected results, the Final Four will look very much like it has over the last handful of seasons. In one of next Saturday's semifinals, it's a barnburner of a matchup between top-seeded programs with rich histories: Villanova vs. Kansas. In what will quickly become known as the "other" semifinal, it's an upstart vs. another school that knows this road: No. 11 Loyola-Chicago vs. No. 3 Michigan. Remarkable as Loyola's run—and this tournament—have been, this marks the fifth time over the last six seasons that three teams seeded 1 through 4 have been joined by another seeded 7 or higher, per the AP.

The four previous times, the underdog has bowed out in the semifinal. "Why not us?" Ramblers coach Porter Moser said, repeating his team's oft-used mantra this month—one he hopes can lead to yet another history-making upset. "You have to have high-character guys that believe to truly do that." Urged on by their 98-year-old nun, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the Ramblers are the fourth 11th seed to make college basketball's final weekend—joining LSU (1986), George Mason (2006), and VCU (2011). The teams will have trouble topping the show Kansas and Duke put on Sunday with the last spot in San Antonio up for grabs. The Jayhawks topped the Blue Devils 85-81 in overtime to send Kansas back to the site of its last national title, in 2008.

(Read more Final Four stories.)

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