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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Two crazy weeks produce a Final Four full of surprises

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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March Madness lived up to its name this spring, delivering an upset-heavy tournament and a Final Four hardly anyone predicted when filling out their brackets two weeks ago.

For the first time in NCAA tournament history, not a single No. 1 or 2 seed managed to advance to the Final Four.

Connecticut and Kentucky will meet in one national semifinal, a matchup between two of the college basketball's blue bloods who endured some struggles during conference play but have played their best in March. The other national semifinal will pit Butler and Virginia Commonwealth, easily the two biggest surprise teams of this year's event.

If the Final Four will miss the star power and instant name recognition of ousted No. 1 seeds Kansas, Pittsburgh, Duke and Ohio State, at least this field is not lacking for compelling storylines.

Eighth-seeded Butler followed up last year's improbable trip to the national title game with an even more unlikely run this March, toppling Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and Florida on its way to Houston.

VCU's run was even more surprising. Many suggested the Rams didn't even belong in the field at all after they earned one of the final four at-large bids, but VCU emphatically proved its critics wrong by winning five games culminating in Sunday's monumental 71-61 upset of top-seeded Kansas.{YSP:MORE}

It's not as shocking to see either Kentucky or UConn reach the Final Four, but there were times during this season when neither looked like they would advance deep into this tournament.

The Huskies went 9-9 in Big East play and dropped four of five to end the regular season before tearing off nine straight postseason wins, while the youthful Wildcats went 1-7 on the road in SEC play but now have a chance to give coach John Calipari his first national title.

Since this is only the third Final Four in history with no No. 1 seeds, it's hard to anoint anyone the heavy favorite. No matter that the title game will pit an upstart against one of the sport's juggernauts, which should make for a compelling finale to what has already been a memorable college basketball season.

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