April 1, 2022 | SPORTS | By Max Giles | Illustration by Xixi Qin
The 2022 March Madness Tournament has been nothing short of, well, madness. It’s been full of the usual craziness that consumes the basketball world in the month of March, featuring upsets, nail-biters, and blowouts.
One of the most prominent stories in this year’s tournament was the “Cinderella” run of Saint Peter’s University, a 15-seed. The Peacocks took down basketball giants like Kentucky and Purdue, making them the only 15-seed to ever reach the Elite Eight.
Now, the Final Four is set. It’s made up of legendary basketball programs. The only remaining first seed, Kansas, will play second seed Villanova University. Another No. 2 seed, Duke, will be challenged by the University of North Carolina.
Many basketball analysts are calling it the final four of “the blue bloods” due to the fact that these teams are deemed to be college basketball royalty. Combined, these teams have claimed half of the last 14 national championships.
The first game will take place at 4:09 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. It will feature the Villanova Wildcats against the Kansas Jayhawks. Jay Wright, the Villanova head coach, will be searching for his third national title in the contest.
The Wildcats will be without one of their star players, senior Justin Moore, who suffered a torn achilles tendon in the Elite Eight, putting him on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. Moore has been the bright spot of the team in the tournament, leading the charge with close to 15 points a game. The Wildcats will turn to Collin Gilliespie, a fellow senior, to make up for Moore’s absence.
The Kansas Jayhawks, on the other hand, are being referred to as the “most complete outfit in the Final Four.” Star players like Remy Martin and Ochai Agbaji have been putting up impressive performances on the offensive side of the ball thus far. The team has a solid defense as well, ranking 25th in the nation among inside the arc defense.
The second game will follow close behind at 6:49 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, featuring North Carolina rivals Duke and UNC. Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary Blue Devils coach in his last season with the team, will hope to lead them to one last championship before he retires.
The eight-seeded UNC Tarheels, on the other hand, are hoping to bust brackets by making it to the championship. First year Head Coach Hubert Davis, who took over this season after the legendary Roy Williams retired, has made a magnificent run with what many thought to be a sleeper team going into the tournament. Caleb Love and R.J. Davis are at the pinnacle of this newly designed team that focuses on a modern style of play, utilizing three-point shooting and versatile big men to win games.
Can UNC defeat Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils, making the matchup the final game of his career? Duke is hoping they can’t. Phenom Paolo Banchero will be the primary factor in this effort. He is the “toughest matchup in the Final Four” and has been nothing short of amazing throughout the season.
In a Final Four of college basketball royalty, who will take the crown?