On Saturday, April 6, the final four faced off to determine the final two teams for college basketball’s March Madness. First-seeded Virginia faced off against fifth-seeded Auburn, while second-seeded Michigan State played third seed Texas Tech. Both games lived up to the NCAA excitement, with the first game going down to the buzzer.
The most exciting upset was Michigan State’s win over Duke. The consistently strong Blue Devils were predicted by many to go all the way with their seemingly overpowered bench and star first-year player Zion Williamson. Despite this, the already weakened Michigan State team played their hearts out in a game that will go down in NCAA history. The entire game went back and forth, but with 30 seconds left, fourth-year forward Kenny Goins drained a bucket from beyond the arc for Michigan State, giving them the two-point lead. Duke struggled to get the ball in the basket in these last seconds, and Duke’s first-year forward R.J. Barrett was forced to take foul shots to tie the game. Unfortunately, he missed both shots, and the Spartans outrebounded the Blue Devils to snag the ball and run out the clock.
Sadly, this win streak didn’t last long, however, as they struggled in their game against Texas Tech. The Spartans couldn’t stop the hot hands of the Red Raiders. Texas Tech had just gone through two upsets, defeating the former first seed, Gonzaga, and the second seed, Michigan University. The momentum pushed Texas Tech through to the finals beating the Spartans 61-51.
Before this game, Auburn and Virginia faced off in a talented matchup. Auburn, seemingly on a path to defeat all in their way, had blown past fourth-seeded Kansas, first-seeded University of North Carolina and second-seeded Kentucky. Virginia, however, faced multiple low seeded teams, and faced their only true opponent in third seeded Perdue. Riding the momentum from their multiple upsets, Auburn charged onto the court against Virginia. However, Virginia proved their easy path to the Final Four didn’t overlook their first seed status and talent level, playing down to the wire against Auburn.
In an incredibly close contest between evenly matched opponents, Virginia was finally able to start building a lead in the second half. Auburn rallied late in the half, slashing Virginia’s lead and eventually leading by four points themselves. Virginia’s fourth-year guard Kyle Guy stole the game with a clutch shot from behind the arc to lower the deficit to one. With little time, Virginia fouled Auburn’s third-year guard Jared Harper forcing free throws. Harper made the first but missed the second, giving Virginia a chance not only to tie, but to win as well. With just a second left Guy pulled up from beyond the arc once more to win the game, but ultimately missed. He was fouled on the shot, sending him to the foul line to take three shots. Guy pulled through for the Virginia Cavaliers, draining all three shots, leaving no time on the clock as Virginia advanced to the national championship game.
The final game will be played Monday, April 8, at 9:20 p.m. between Virginia and Texas Tech. Both teams are sure to give it their all, and hopefully it will be just as much of a nail biter as the rest of the games in the tournament.