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The road to the Final Four for 2024

The Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament was loaded with chalk teams as the top seeds rampaged through the first two rounds of March Madness. However, just a pair of No. 1 seeds, a No. 4 seed, and a ‘Cinderella’ No. 11 seed survived this past weekend to advance to the Final Four.

Here’s a look at the journey taken by each of the Connecticut Huskies, Purdue Boilermakers, Alabama Crimson Tide, and NC State Wolfpack at this year’s NCAA Tournament heading into the Final Four.

Connecticut Huskies

The Connecticut Huskies began their postseason journey by rolling to quarterfinal and semifinal victories over Xavier and St. John’s in the Big East Tournament and then cruising to a 73-57 win over Marquette in the championship game of that event. That earned UConn a No. 1 seed in March Madness.

And the Huskies have barely been challenged so far in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, thumping Stetson 91-52 in their first-round matchup, getting past Northwestern 75-58 in their second-round matchup, beating San Diego State 82-52 in the Sweet 16, and then having no problem in a 77-52 win over Illinois in the Elite Eight. Donovan Clingan led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds for UConn in that win over the Fighting Illini, with Cam Spencer adding 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Purdue Boilermakers

Unlike the Huskies, the Boilermakers did not have an easy time in their conference tournament, first earning just a five-point win over Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals and then losing 76-75 in overtime to Wisconsin in the semis. Still, Purdue received a No. 1 seed for March Madness.

That loss to the Badgers might have served as a wakeup call for the Boilermakers, as they topped Grambling State 78-50 in their first-round matchup at the NCAA Tournament, blasted Utah State 106-67 in the second round, took care of Gonzaga 80-68 in their Sweet 16 matchup, and then held off second-seeded Tennessee 72-66 in the Elite Eight. Boilermakers star Zach Edey poured in 40 points for his team in that win over the Volunteers and picked up 16 rebounds in the game as well.

Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide were the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament but were one-and-done, falling 102-88 to Florida in an upset loss in the quarters. Alabama then received a No. 4 seed for March Madness.

From there the Crimson Tide came together, grabbing a 109-96 win over Charleston in the first round, beating Grand Canyon 72-61 in the second round, and pulling off the huge upset with an 89-87 victory over top-seeded North Carolina in their Sweet 16 matchup. Alabama then faced Clemson in the Elite Eight and pulled out an 89-82 victory to advance to the Final Four. Mark Sears led the way for the Crimson Tide with 23 points against the Tigers. Nick Pringle had 16 points.

NC State Wolfpack

NC State was the No. 10 seed at the 2024 ACC Tournament but won five straight games – including an 84-76 victory over North Carolina in the conference tournament championship game – to win the event. Still, that only earned the Wolfpack a No. 11 seed from the tournament selection committee.

The Wolfpack then went on to prove themselves again during March Madness, beating Texas Tech 80-67 in the first round, getting past Oakland 79-73 in the second round, knocking off second-seeded Marquette 67-58 in the Sweet 16, and then beating fourth-seeded Duke – a team they also bounced in the ACC Tournament – by a score of 76-64 in their Elite Eight matchup. DJ Burns Jr. led the way with 29 points for NC State against Duke, with DJ Horne adding 20 points for the Wolfpack that day.

The Final Four gets underway at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night with Purdue tipping off against NC State at 6:09pm ET and then UConn battling Alabama starting at 8:49pm ET. The national championship game is then scheduled for 9:00pm ET on Monday night.

With zero championships between his MLB, NHL, and NFL teams over the last 30 years, Dave keeps one foot in the past while shaking his fist at the present. Having provided content to all manner of sports websites over a 20-year career in the industry, Dave brings to Attiq an eye for all things editorial and a disdain for all things New York Yankees. Click here for Dave's posts.