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NCAA March Madness Regional Finals Recap

NCAAM

The Final Four field in Houston next weekend is set. North Carolina, Syracuse, Villanova, and Oklahoma have punched their tickets after a weekend of Regional Final action. Here is a recap of how they got to this point.

(2) Villanova 64-(1) Kansas 59: Beating Kansas, the No. 1 overall seed, required taking the Jayhawks out of their comfort zone while seizing the opportunities that resulted in putting vital points on the board. The Wildcats did both effectively even though it wasn’t always pretty, and their reward is a berth in the Final Four. Kris Jenkins made two free throws with 13.3 seconds remaining, Jalen Brunson added two more with 3.5 seconds left and second-seeded Villanova upset the top-seeded Jayhawks 64-59 on Saturday night in the South Region final.

(2) Oklahoma 80-(1) Oregon 68: Buddy Hield was brilliant from start to finish for Oklahoma, scoring 37 points with a fluid jumper and an answer for everything Oregon tried against him defensively. In fact, there was only one remaining question after Hield climbed a stepladder to cut down the net that he had just set on fire in the West Region final of the NCAA tournament. Can “Buddyball” take the Sooners all the way to their first national title? Hield hit eight 3-pointers in another dominant performance, and Oklahoma advanced to its first Final Four since 2002 with an 80-68 victory over Oregon on Saturday. Oklahoma will face Villanova Saturday night.

(10) Syracuse 68-(1) Virginia 62: The Syracuse Orange were among the last teams to get into the NCAA tournament after a rough closing stretch, but slipped in as a 10 seed before storming to its first Final Four since 2013 and No. 6 overall. It comes at the end of a challenging season for coach Jim Boeheim, who was suspended for nine games as the result of an NCAA investigation. Syracuse (23-13), which trailed by 16 at the start of the second half, becomes the first 10 seed to make it to the Final Four and just the fourth double-digit seed to accomplish the feat. It’s the lowest-seeded team to reach the national semifinals since No. 11 VCU in 2011.

(1) North Carolina 88-(6) Notre Dame 74: Brice Johnson had 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead North Carolina to an 88-74 victory over Notre Dame on Sunday night, leaving the Tar Heels as the only No. 1 seed in the Final Four. The Tar Heels reached the Final Four for a record 19th time and the first since 2009, when they won the last of their five national championships. North Carolina (32-6) will face Syracuse, the 10th seed from the Midwest Regional, in another all-Atlantic Coast Conference matchup in the Final Four on Saturday in Houston.

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