The field of 68 teams has been dwindled to just four in the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. Some of the Final Four teams were expected by many to be where they are, but there are two teams that while filled with superb talent, were not expected to make it this far. Representing the South, the No. 1 overall seed Florida Gators will take on the East Regional winner, the No. 7 seeded Connecticut Huskies. The West Regional winner, the No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers will take on the eighth seeded Kentucky Wildcats, who won the Midwest Regional.
Both games will be played on April 5 from the home of the Final Four this year, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Huskies are currently 30-8 this season and were 12-6 during their American Athletic Conference. They finished the AAC regular season tied for third place and were not expected to reach the Sweet 16 by many pundits, let alone the Final Four. In the first round, they came from behind to beat St. Josephs, and added victories against former Big East rival Villanova, Iowa State and Michigan State.
The Huskies, led by Shabazz Napier, will take on the top ranked Gators, led by Casey Prather. The Gators are currently 36-2, including a perfect 18-0 conference record in the Southeastern Conference. The Gators were the easy pick to come out of their bracket and despite struggling a bit in their opening game against Albany, recovered and began to look like they had all season with wins against Pittsburgh, UCLA and Dayton. The Gators have been the most consistent team this season, but one of their losses came against UConn in December at Gampel Pavilion.
On the opposite side of the Bracket, the Badgers of Wisconsin are currently 30-7 including a 12-6 mark during their Big Ten Conference schedule. The talented Badgers are led by Frank Kaminsky, who has been one of the best players in the tournament this year. In their win against the top seeded Arizona Wildcats, Kaminsky scored 28 points. The Badgers also defeated Baylor, Oregon and American University in their previous games to reach the Final Four.
In the stacked Midwest Region, any one of five teams could have reached the Final Four. From top seeded Wichita State to Louisville to Michigan to Duke and Kentucky, this bracket could be equated to the “Group of Death” in the World Cup. The eighth seeded Wildcats are a young team that is filled with National Basketball Association type talent that is coming together at the right time. They are 28-10 this season including 12-6 in the SEC and advanced to the Final Four with wins against Kansas State, Wichita State, Louisville and Michigan. All four wins were decided by seven points or less, allowing the very young team to get much needed experience.
AT&T Stadium is the home of the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. The facility opened in 2009 and at the 2010 NBA All Star Game, sat a venue record 108,713 fans.