It’s the final weekend of basketball. Well, you know. Real basketball. And tonight, the big show is live as Cinderella squares off against Michigan Men while the only remaining Wildcats face That School Down the River.
Needless to say, there’s really only one acceptable outcome tonight.
The Games: The Loyola Ramblers (32-5, 15-3 Valley), the 11th seed out of the South, face the 3rd seed from the West, the Michigan Wolverines (32-7, 13-5 Big 10). That game is followed by the top seeds from the East and Midwest, as the Villanova Wildcats (34-4, 14-4 Big East) take on the Kansas Jayhawks (31-7, 13-5 Big 12).
Loyola has met Michigan on three separate occasions, winning the most recent clash way back in 1969, a 102-100 win at old Chicago Stadium. Michigan won the previous two meetings. It’s Loyola’s second trip to the Final Four (you all know the first was 1963); it’s officially Michigan’s sixth, plus two others which were vacated.
Villanova has also vacated a Final Four appearance, meaning tonight officially marks their fifth trip. Kansas is making its 15th. The Jayhawks and Wildcats have met six times previously, splitting the series evenly at 3-3. Two of those meetings have been in the NCAA Tournament, with Kansas winning in the 2008 Sweet Sixteen before going on to win it all, and Villanova winning two years ago in the Elite Eight... before going on to win it all.
Tipoff: Loyola and Michigan tip at 5:09pm CT at the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas. Kansas and Villanova will tip 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, at approximately 7:49pm CT.
Odds: Michigan is a five-point favorite over Loyola, with the over at 130. That means Vegas is predicting a 67-62 sort of result. OddsShark’s projection is 69-65 Michigan. Villanova is also a five-point favorite tonight, with the over at 154.5; that’s an 82-77 prediction. OddsShark has it 79-71 Villanova.
TV: The primary broadcast of both games will be on TBS with Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, and Tracy Wolfson. Each team, however, will have a dedicated TeamCast as well, staffed by broadcasters with ties to each program:
Loyola: TruTV with Jeff Hagedorn, Jerry Harkness, and Shams Charania.
Michigan: TNT with Matt Park, Jay Feely, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Villanova: TruTV with Scott Graham, Randy Foye, and Kacie McDonnell.
Kansas: TNT with Dave Armstrong, Scot Pollard, and Rob Riggle.
Radio: Westwood One Radio Network with Kevin Kugler, Clark Kellogg, John Thompson, and Jim Gray. Bill Walton will poke his head in at halftime and post-game. Each team’s radio flagship will also carry the game, meaning the Villanova-Kansas game will be available in Kansas City on WHB 810.