March Madness lived up to its nickname this spring, delivering an upset-filled first two weeks and a Final Four hardly any of us could have predicted when we were filling out our brackets.
Hometown favorite Butler and Big Ten power Michigan State will meet in one national semifinal next Saturday in Indianapolis, and surging West Virginia will square off with lone remaining No. 1 seed Duke in the other.
If the Final Four will miss the star power and instant name recognition of ousted No. 1 seeds Kansas, Syracuse and Kentucky, at least this field is not lacking for compelling story lines.
Fifth-seeded Butler upended Syracuse and second-seeded Kansas State to earn its first trip to the Final Four and the opportunity to play a mere five miles from its campus.
Fellow No. 5 seed Michigan State overcame year-long chemistry issues and a season-ending injury to star Kalin Lucas in the second round to make the most improbable of coach Tom Izzo's six Final Four runs.
West Virginia also survived an injury to starting point guard Truck Bryant, shocking favored Kentucky to land its first Final Four berth since the legendary Jerry West led the Mountaineers there in 1959.
Even Duke, the lone No. 1 seed still alive, was considered the most vulnerable of the four before the tournament began. The Devils ended a six-year Final Four drought with a 78-71 victory over third-seeded Baylor on Sunday, unleashing a late 11-1 run fueled by offensive rebounding to stave off the Bears' upset bid.
Will the upset trend continue in the Final Four? Who knows? But if the last three games of this tournament are anywhere near as entertaining as the first 61, we're all in for a treat.
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