The Candy 16 is ready, and we’re two rounds away from the 2019 Ultimate 4, which begins April 6 at U.S. Financial institution Stadium in Minneapolis.
With that in thoughts, Sporting Information explored all of the engaging Ultimate 4 potentialities — lots of which revolve round Duke, which survived a second-round scare in opposition to UCF. Now that Zion Williamson and the Blue Devils put away 7-6 Tacko Fall and the Knights, who else may get in the way in which?
Right here’s a better have a look at eight intriguing Ultimate 4 mixtures:
The one nationwide networks need
Duke, Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina
It will probably be the most-sought after mixture by nationwide networks. It permits for the continuous tease of a nationwide championship sport between the Tar Heels and Blue Devils. Earlier than that, nevertheless, you get Duke-Michigan in Minneapolis in a task reversal of the 1992 NCAA championship sport. This time, the Blue Devils have the star-studded freshman lineup. You additionally get Tennessee’s hot-and-cold-team in opposition to the Tar Heels within the Ultimate 4. (This would go well with my bracket, too.)
Networks would additionally take
Duke, Gonzaga, Virginia, Kentucky
Should you can’t get the Duke-North Carolina storyline, then Duke-Kentucky is a detailed runner-up. These have been the top two programs this decade. If that doesn’t materialize, maybe Gonzaga and Virginia meet in a sport between groups with the first- and third-best regular-season data, respectively, of the final 5 years. Someone would lastly get that nationwide championship.
The one SEC followers need
LSU, Florida State, Tennessee, Kentucky
Auburn may win the Midwest Area too (providing you with Bruce Pearl in opposition to the Vols), however Kentucky could be the larger draw with LSU and Tennessee. Florida State would add one other Southern college to the combination. This may take some focus off spring soccer observe — however only for per week.
The one Massive Ten followers need
Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Auburn
You’ll get the fourth sport between Michigan State and Michigan — within the Ultimate 4, no much less — and Purdue would break a Ultimate 4 drought that extends again to 1980. Why Auburn for the fourth spot? Massive Ten groups have their final seven nationwide championship video games since Michigan State received all of it in 2000. The Massive Ten brass will need to take their possibilities in opposition to the bottom seed, if doable.
The one ACC followers need
Duke, Florida State, Virginia, North Carolina
The community launches in August, however there’s little doubt the convention would flex if Duke or Virginia Tech, Florida State, Virginia and North Carolina made the Ultimate 4. It’s doable to get all 4 ACC Event semifinalists to Minneapolis. That could be a testomony to simply how good these 4 groups — and this convention — have been.
One with West Coast attraction
LSU, Gonzaga, Oregon, Houston
Begin in Baton Rouge, La., cross the Mississippi River and go West. This may do poorly within the East Coast time zone, however at the least these groups would complain much less in regards to the late begin time on Monday evening. These colleges are a mixed 1-Three within the NCAA title sport.
One with most Ultimate Fours
Duke, Michigan, Oregon, North Carolina
These 4 colleges have 46 mixed Ultimate 4 appearances, and that counts the 2 vacated by Michigan. Virginia and Purdue have two Ultimate 4 appearances, however we gave the nod to Oregon as a result of the Geese received the primary NCAA championship sport in 1939.
One with no Ultimate Fours
Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Auburn
Rankings wouldn’t be nice, however don’t inform these packages that. The Tech battle could be well-deserved for coaches Buzz Williams and Chris Beard if they’ll lead their groups by means of powerful areas, and the SEC wouldn’t have bother promoting Bruce Pearl and the Tigers in opposition to his former crew, particularly contemplating Auburn beat the Vols on March 9 and once more within the SEC Event championship on March 17.
One with highest seeds remaining
Duke, Gonzaga, Virginia, North Carolina
All No. 1 seeds for the primary time since 2008. These have been the 4 most-consistent groups all season, and there’s nothing unsuitable with chalk punching by means of to the Ultimate 4. Gonzaga beat Duke at full energy. Virginia beat North Carolina of their solely regular-season assembly.
One with lowest seeds remaining
Virginia Tech, Florida State, Oregon, Auburn
Would this be a greater School Soccer Playoff? In any case, Virginia Tech-Florida State and Oregon-Auburn have been championship video games within the BCS period. These conventional soccer colleges, nevertheless, would benefit from the highlight in Minneapolis simply the identical.