Final Cuatro: Michigan State, Connecticut, Villanova, North Carolina

The Connecticut Huskies and North Carolina Tar Heels, true to #1 seed form, waltzed into the Final Cuatro. Most of the opponents these two teams have faced have lost by significant margins, so perhaps the Final Cuatro will be the first big test of their basketball abilities.

Michigan State initially had a close one with #1 seed Louisville, but the game opened up in the second half and Michigan State game out on top for a decisive win. The depth of Michigan State’s bench was a clear factor in its win: Goran Suton, alone had 19 points to his name while teammates Lucas and Summers had 10 and 12 points respectively.

The big surprise is Villanova, which inched past a strong Syracuse squad to make the Final Cuatro for the first time in years. Despite a game leading 28 points from Syracuse’s Sam Young, Villanova fought tooth and nail to the final minutes, pulling off a 78-76 game that had the crowd on its feet. Villanova will face North Carolina in the Final Cuatro. If Nova can continue its impressive run, the semifinal game with the Tar Heels should be a nail biter.

Despite Louisville’s loss, it is still amazing to note the dominance of the Big East in this year’s tournament. 2 of the 4 final teams are from the Big East (Connecticut, Villanova), and had Louisville won, an astounding 75% of the Final Cuatro would be credited to the dominant Big East basketball conference.

Amongst sports bettors, 2 team Final Cuatro parlay bets are favorites, but usually high level of competition makes straight bets or totals a little safer for the recreational gambler. Some favor North Carolina and Connecticut as the national finalists, making an interesting 2 team parlay possibility. Still, one can’t dismiss the impressive performance of Villanova and Michigan State, who have survived stiff competition to get their Final Cuatro bids.