The 2014 Final Four has been set. This year’s contest consists of two SEC schools (Florida and Kentucky), and one each from the Big Ten (Wisconsin) and AAC (UConn).
Florida enters as the highest seed – overall tournament No. 1 – and the common link between all teams. It played, and beat, Kentucky three times on the season. The Gators’ only two defeats this year came to Wisconsin and UConn – by a combined seven points without their full roster.
Wisconsin is the next highest seed – No. 2 out of the West. This year’s Badgers’ squad is a departure from years past, in that the team is strong on the offensive side of the ball. For only the second time in school history, and the first under coach Bo Ryan, Sconnie nation is in the Final Four.
UConn has made the national semifinals under second-year head coach Kevin Ollie. Normally it’s difficult to replace a legend, but Ollie has carried the program torch that was lit by Jim Calhoun. The Huskies have ridden on the back of star guard Shabazz Napier, and put away consensus favorite Michigan State to make the Final Four.
Finally, there’s Kentucky. Following a (regular) season-ending loss to Florida, John Calapari claimed to “tweak” his coaching approach. Whatever Coach Cal did has worked. The ‘Cats are playing their best ball all season, and are the last team standing out of the Midwest region of death.
With the games a week out, it’s time to open up the debate: which team is the favorite to take home the hardware from Dallas?