College basketball's national championship tournament is down to the Final Four teams with the two semifinals set for Saturday in Detroit, Michigan. Michigan State challenges Connecticut in the first game, and then underdog Villanova battles North Carolina.
Villanova has been dubbed the "Cinderella team" at this Final Four, because few expected the Philadelphia school to be here. But the East Region's third-seed shocked number-one Pittsburgh 78-76 in the quarterfinals to advance for the first time since 1985.
Villanova (30-7) will face South Region top-seed North Carolina (32-4), which is back in the Final Four for the second straight year. North Carolina has been dominant in its four previous tournament games and is favored to win the national championship.
Villanova coach Jay Wright knows North Carolina will be tough to beat. "Probably what concerns us most is the completeness of their team. You mention right away you've (they have) got one of the best point-guards in the country who can create shots, who can control the tempo of the game. You (they have) got one of the best big-men in the country who's got the ability to play inside-outside, you (they have) got wing-players can shoot it, who rebound, and you (they have) got a deep bench and you've (they have) got length and size. I mean, it's just a complete basketball team," he said.
The other semifinal pits top-seeded West Region champion Connecticut (31-4) against the Michigan State University Spartans (30-6). The third-seeded Spartans advanced by surprising overall top-seed Louisville, 64-52 in the Midwest Regional final.
With their campus in East Lansing just 90 minutes away by car from Detroit, Michigan State should see the biggest percentage of the 70,000 fans at Ford Field decked out in the Spartans' green and white. Despite Michigan State's apparent home-court advantage, coach Jim Calhoun's Connecticut team is favored by four points. "We were a very good road team this year and we are going to have to be. But it is an away game for us and we clearly understand that. But once we get to the game, the hoops are 10 feet high, the foul line 15 feet, the ball is round and we are going to play basketball," he said.
The winners of the semifinal games play for the national championship Monday night.