Almost there. The Final Four on Saturday will determine who among North Carolina, Michigan State, Connecticut and Villanova are good enough to play for the title on Monday night. In the first game, at 6:07 p.m. EDT, Michigan State, which beat No. 1 seed Louisville in the Midwest, will face off with West top seed Connecticut. The Huskies feature 7-foot-3, 263-pound junior center Hasheem Thabeet, who averages more than 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks a game. And he's not their only player averaging a double-double. Add Jeff Adrien to that list, and then factor in A.J. Price's more than 14 points a game. Freshman Kemba Walker, who contributed 23 points to help topple Missouri, is also perfectly capable of stepping up. The Spartans, who last won a title in 2000, will have the advantage of playing just 90 miles from their home court. Senior Goran Suton, who averages 10 points and eight rebounds per game, went for 19 and 10 in the win over Louisville. Michigan State averages fewer rebounds than UConn, but it still matches up in points allowed. And it has Travis Walton, the Big Ten's defensive player of the year. The Huskies have only made it to the Final Four three times, but in the previous two they went on to win the title. In order to do that again, they'll have to first beat the Spartans and then the winner of the late game, North Carolina vs. Villanova.
Tipping off at 8:47 p.m. EDT, Villanova will look to put a lid on North Carolina's 90-point a game offense, something Oklahoma and Blake Griffin did. But it will also have to make shots and put its own points on the board, something the Sooners did not do. Tyler Hansbrough, who contributes 21 points a game, is only one weapon in North Carolina's arsenal. In addition to the 2008 national player of the year, Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington will look to set the tone. Those four players together average more than 65 points a game. On the Wildcats side, senior Dante Cunningham, who grew up playing with Lawson, averages 16.4 points and 7.4 rebounds, to lead the team in both categories. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher pitch in an average of 15 and 10 points, respectively. Senior Dwayne Anderson and Junior Reggie Redding offer modest rebounding support, with a combined 11 per game. Villanova hasn't been to the Final Four since it won the title in 1985. By contrast, North Carolina, a 7.5-point favorite for the game, has been to 17 Final Fours previously and won its last title in 2005. While North Carolina clearly has experience on its side, its last trip to the Final Four wasn't a good one. Last year, the Tar Heels were stopped in a rout by eventual national champion Kansas.