Final Four Finances: Kansas' season expenses almost quadruple Loyola Chicago's

  • Final Four Finances: Kansas' season expenses almost quadruple Loyola Chicago's

Final Four Finances: Kansas' season expenses almost quadruple Loyola Chicago's

The overtime showdown between two of the best programs in the nation may have been the best game of the tournament to this point. In a piece a few weeks back, I alluded to the strength and character of both programs.

"We consistently had very good players", head coach Jay Wright told Dan Gelston of the Associated Press. Ah, yes. The beauty of sports, ladies and gentlemen. As much as I believed in Kansas and Bill Self's coaching, this is one of the only brackets where I had them losing in the Sweet 16. However, the presence of Loyola is a huge shock to the college basketball landscape.

The nun is a former basketballer herself; The Chicago Tribune reports Sister Jean played basketball during high school, before joining the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Iowa.

With Michigan up by four, Florida State allowed the Wolverines to dribble out the clock without fouling again. They have a leader in Brunson, an National Basketball Association talent in Mikal Bridges and a know-how coach in Wright.

The difference is Omari Spellman. Here's why each team could bring home the title of national champions. You need to avoid turnovers, play good defense, shoot a good percentage from three and avoid foul trouble for your best players.

People are quick to point out Villanova's relatively easy schedule - the best team they played was probably West Virginia -but that doesn't really matter if one considers the way Villanova's second-half offense keeps lighting up the competition.

If Kansas can't prevent Nova from doing these things, the Wildcats will be playing for their second national championship in three seasons. This was a unique moment in March Madness history, as it was the first Elite Eight that ever pitted a No. 11 seed against a No. 9 seed.

Villanova was the most popular pick to get there, winning the East Region on 58.4 percent of the submitted brackets.

In the Final Four, Loyola Chicago will play MI and Kansas will battle Villanova in a contest of one seeds.

The third-seeded Wolverines are much less of a surprise, but the achievement is no less impressive for coach John Beilein's squad, which wore its "Do More, Say Less" shirts throughout the week. It has definitely carried over in their NCAA Tourney march.

That said, America does seem to be putting its eyeballs where its mouth is when it comes to the Cinderella-story Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. If it wasn't destiny for LUC, it was divinity.

Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, otherwise just known as Sister Jean, stole the spotlight this year.

But if you look at things in terms of hoops talent, the Ramblers certainly don't have a lack.

Lerg, a 5-6 libero, led the team in digs in 28 of its 33 matches, posting 486 saves or 4.12 digs per set in 2017. They have some talented offensive players. During their Dance to the Final Four, LUC won their first three games by a total of just four points. That dropped MI to 2-2 against the spread during the tournament, as they covered against No. 14 Montana (61-47) in the first round and No. 7 Texas A&M (99-72) in the third round but fell short against No. 6 Houston (64-63) in the Round of 32; MI was favored by 3.5 points against Houston. They have demonstrated the ability to rally on defense as well, with them contesting 86 percent of shots from Texas Tech.

Speaking of three-point shooting, this is where Michigan's offense is the strongest. "But that's where I started watching him, and you saw the same consistency, quality of character, quality of players he recruits, class of his team on the court, off the court". Rambler fans who remember their last win 55 years ago said they have a good feeling about this one.

The 6-foot-5 junior is back to playing reliably productive minutes again, and that's a big reason why the Jayhawks are back in the Final Four for the first time in six years.

Come Saturday, college hoops will consume the gorgeous River City of San Antonio.