Just as we had for the Sweet Sixteen, we have a handy guide to help you decide your rooting interests in the Elite Eight. This field of quarter-finalists is one of the strangest ever, especially on the left side of the bracket where there two 9-seeds and an 11. If you haven’t picked a favorite team in this field, we’ve got you covered.
9. Kansas State Wildcats vs. 11. Loyola Ramblers (4:00 MST, TBS)
There have been three 11-seeds in the Final Four in college basketball history: LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011. Only one 9-seed has made the Final Four: Wichita State in 2013. Whatever happens in this game, we will see one of the most unexpected teams cutting down the nets. We’re either going to see a mediocre Big 12 team bully their way into the Final Four, or we’ll see a mid-major team of destiny win each game miraculously. Loyola should be the easy rooting decision, if only because of Sister Jean, who may be a knockoff version of CU’s twins Peggy and Betty.
3. Michigan Wolverines vs. 9. Florida State Seminoles (6:50, TBS)
We have another 9-seed, Florida State, challenging for the Final Four, but they face a daunting challenge in the stylistic Michigan Wolverines. If you root for the underdog Seminoles, you’re confident that they can continue to play lockdown defense against the tournament’s deadliest offenses. If you’re rooting for Michigan, you want to see their beautiful pace-and-space offense go as far as possible, especially if they have Jordan Poole ready to bail them out.
1. Villanova Wildcats vs. 3. Texas Tech Red Raiders (12:20, CBS)
This is another stylistic and narrative clash as the heavily-favored, offensive-minded Wildcats take on the overlooked, grit-and-grind Red Raiders. If you’re a fan of seeing the established order of college basketball reign supreme, Villanova should be an easy pick for you, especially because their style of play is so easy to watch, especially especially when they have Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman doing mean things. If you love to watch random programs have impossible seasons, Texas Tech should be fun to see, especially because they play a Tad Ball style wherein they try to win every game with defense and sheer will power.
1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 2. Duke Blue Devils (3:00, CBS)
This game is filthy and you should only watch to see both teams on a not-before-seen technically that rules everyone on each roster ineligible. Or, you can avoid any rooting interests and just watch it for basketball sake, like you may have done when Alabama and Ohio State played in the College Football Playoff. Orrrrr, you can simply decide the lesser of both evils and root for whichever team has the players you like more.