SI.com caught up with Seth Davis, who's serving as a CBS studio analyst during the tournament, to get his quick thoughts on the Final Four.
My nickname for this group of four teams: The Intangibles. It was just survival of the most efficient in all four regions. This tournament hasn't been about overpowering teams with athleticism. It hasn't been about outscoring teams or running anyone out of the gym in spectacular fashion. Rather, it has been about sticking together, being smart, being tough ... and being lucky; all four teams were lucky somewhere along the way. It proves once again that you really need everything to fall into place to reach a Final Four.
I will provide my picks on Wednesday, after letting the matchups marinate a little bit. In the meantime, here are my quick thoughts on the four schools still playing college basketball this season:
What I like about the Mountaineers: I love West Virginia's defensive toughness. This is a common characteristic for all four of these teams, but the Mountaineers in particular really clamp down in the halfcourt and pound you on the glass. Also, I think West Virginia will have the best player in the Final Four in Da'Sean Butler. He does so many different things well, and he's just a winner.
Points of concern: It's not exactly a weakness, but West Virginia has not quite excelled in the backcourt all season. The Mountaineers are not going to break you down off the dribble like a lot of teams do. If you just ranked the Final Four backcourts from 1-4, West Virginia would probably be fourth. Recent reports indicate that Truck Bryant may be able to play in the Final Four. Getting Bryant back in the fold would be a nice boost, but obviously the Mountaineers had him for most of the season and still struggled to produce a whole lot from the guard spots.
What I like about he Bulldogs: I really like the Bulldogs' poise and their belief in themselves. Syracuse and Kansas State took the lead against Butler late in the game, but the Bulldogs never panicked. They never get away from what they do well. No matter who they play, they always seem to control the pace. Butler is a very tough-minded team. Gordon Hayward is a dynamic player and a very difficult matchup. Defensively, they force a bunch of turnovers without really pressing, which is difficult to do.
Points of concern: Butler doesn't have great size inside. Therefore, the Bulldogs really have to gang rebound. Butler must rely on its guards to contribute on the boards -- Shelvin Mack averages around four rebounds a game. But the Bulldogs' general lack of bulk in the paint is a little disconcerting.
What I like about the Spartans: As is always the case with Tom Izzo's teams, it starts with their toughness, their competitiveness and their unbelievable will to win. This might be the least likely team Izzo has ever taken to the Final Four. Sure, the Spartans started off in the preseason top five, but they lost their best player (Kalin Lucas) in the second round of the tournament. Sure, they may have had a little luck on their side -- winning their four tournament games by a combined total of 13 points -- but at some point you make your own luck. Draymond Green has really been one of the main reasons the Spartans have been able to play so well without Lucas. You've heard of a point forward, he's essentially a point center. Durrell Summers has also really stepped his game up in the tournament. It's been a very up-and-down season for Summers -- he really had some bad games -- but he's found his stroke, he's very athletic and he's become a big X-factor for MSU. But that's the sign of a great team: when somebody goes down, everybody bands together.
Points of concern: The Spartans are a MASH unit at this point. Not only do they not have Kalin Lucas, but they have two players who are dealing with pretty serious injuries: Chris Allen has plantar fasciitis in his foot, which is very painful, and Delvon Roe has been playing basically the whole season with a torn meniscus in his knee. At what point does this become a problem? You think it would've by now ...
What I like about the Blue Devils: Well, it obviously begins with the Big Three of Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. I don't know if I've ever seen a Duke team rebound this well -- ever. Getting 23 offensive rebounds against Baylor's gigantic front line ... that's just ridiculous. That type of rebounding will allow Duke to overcome bad shooting games.
Points of concern: The Blue Devils still go through stretches where they don't shoot the ball well. That wasn't the case today, but they have endured long cold stretches from the outside at various times during the season. And it's odd that they have these three great players who are the core of their team, but they never seem to get all three clicking at the same time. Today, I think Singler was so focused on guarding LaceDarius Dunn that it may have thrown off his offensive game.
Opening Salvo: Just two really good games and four very impressive teams. These games come down to the little things: 50-50 balls, offensive rebounds, free throws and luck. All the little things really loom large in a regional final.
Most Impressive Team: Duke. I figured the Blue Devils would really have to shoot lights out from the field to beat Baylor. They did shoot it pretty well, especially from beyond the arc, but I never thought they would rebound that well against Baylor. Duke got to the free-throw line in the second half and really controlled tempo -- it was just an outstanding effort by the Blue Devils.
Most Surprising Development: Tennessee only having two fast-break points. Korie Lucious, Lucas' replacement, did not have a great game with five turnovers, but Michigan State only had 11 as a team. The Spartans did a fabulous job of taking care of the ball and playing transition defense.
Player of the Day:Nolan Smith, Duke. You get your career high in a regional final, that's pretty good timing. The kid literally played the game of his life on Sunday, finishing with 29 points on 9-for-17 shooting (including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc and 7-for-8 at the line).
Unsung Hero of the Day:Lance Thomas, Duke. Thomas really played his heart out. Eight offensive rebounds against the Bears' front line -- what a day's work. He's really the quintessential Glue Guy ; probably an oversight not to include him on my team. He's been an unsung hero for Duke all year. He was a very highly regarded recruit coming out of high school, and it was pretty evident early on that he was never going to be a featured scorer for Duke. A lot of guys transfer in that situation, so for him to stick it out and really buy into the whole team culture that they have down there and contribute the way that he has, that's what makes championship teams. You need guys like Lance Thomas.
Memorable Moment: Raymar Morgan's game-winning free throw for Michigan State. That's what senior team captains do.
One Thing I Learned: I learned (again) to stop making predictions on national television, because I was 0-for-4 this weekend in the regional finals. The good thing is I only have the opportunity to be wrong three more times ...