One of the wildest NCAA Tournaments in recent memory finally has just one game remaining. It was a tournament where a 98-year-old nun was the most popular person on media day, and a tournament where despite the ACC leading all conferences in berths, there were no ACC teams to be found the weekend of the Final Four. College basketball season is, unfortunately, almost over. And with no spring football game this year, it’ll be up to UNC baseball to sate our thirst for Tar Heel action.
But if you’re really scheming for something to do on Monday night, you could do worse than watching the men’s basketball final. With Loyola-Chicago’s fairytale run ending at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines and with Villanova shooting the absolute lights out against Kansas, it’s hard to argue that there are more deserving teams than the ones still alive. Now, for all you Tar Heels out there whose brackets have already been busted, who should you root for on Monday night? We visited this yesterday for the entire Final Four, but now that we know the final two teams, we can be a bit more precise.
The Case for Michigan
They’re the Final Four representative from our region, first and foremost. Remember, in that utter first-weekend chaos that left the top two seeds from the South (Xavier and...us) to watch the rest of the tournament from home, Michigan needed a buzzer-beater against Houston to make it to the Sweet 16. In this tournament alone, they’ve won games scoring 99 points and 58 points. They can do it all.
Not to mention, there’s obviously the Fab Five memories and the 1993 highlight reels that will certainly get dredged up yet again. Moreover, the last time Michigan played for the title in 2013, they lost to a team that vacated it this year. If there’s anything worse than vacating a championship, it might be losing to a team that had to vacate that championship. (There’s probably nothing worse than vacating a championship.) John Beilein has another chance to bring Michigan its first title since 1989. Is the second time the charm for him?
The Case against Michigan
Earlier this year, we did handle Michigan. So despite the fact it might be cool to say, hey, at least we won against the team that eventually won the tournament, it might only serve as a bitter reminder that were it not for the rim closing up one fateful night, it could have been us. Also, they had to go and eliminate Sister Jean, although it may not be a bad thing for the attention to focus back on the players, as lovable as that nun is.
The Case for Villanova
Patterns! Nova won in 2016, we won in 2017, so if Nova wins again in 2018, we will surely win again in 2019. It’s basic math. They eliminated Kansas, who eliminated Duke, so basically they eliminated Duke. And if you want the best team to win, they’ve made their case spectacularly well so far. Their closest games of the tournament have been back-to-back 12-point affairs the second weekend of the tournament. If they blow Michigan out on Monday night, they’ll be in rare air...
The Case against Villanova
Hey, wait a second! That’s our rare air! The last team to win every game of an NCAA Tournament by double digits was the 2009 Heels. It feels pretty good to not have that record matched since! That’s not to mention the fact that Villanova was the most popular pick in a ton of bracket pools, and who’s the type of person who craves predictablity come March and April?
Plus, we’re going to have to see The Most Painful Highlight In UNC history. The championship did a lot to dull that pain, but it’s still there.
The Verdict: GO BLUE