2024 Men’s Final Four Preview

DALLAS, TEXAS - MARCH 31: Jayden Taylor #1 and DJ Burns Jr. #30 of the NC State Wolfpack react during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at American Airlines Center on March 31, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. | Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The 2024 Men’s Final Four will be played Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, as the four remaining college basketball teams compete on the national stage to determine a national champion.

The remaining field includes No.1 seeds UConn and Purdue, No.4 seed Alabama, and No.11 seed North Carolina State.

UConn, the No.1 overall seed in the tournament and defending national champion, steamrolled through the East Regional, defeating Illinois 77-52 in the Elite Eight. The Huskies have won their past 10 NCAA Tournament games by at least 13 points and are the favorite to repeat as national champions.

The Huskies will play Alabama, the No.4 seed out of the West Region who knocked off No.1 seed North Carolina and No.6 seed Clemson with superb three-point shooting. The Crimson Tide can run hot and cold but has been on fire lately, leading to its first Final Four appearance in program history.

The Alabama-UConn matchup will feature plenty of athleticism and should be fast-paced based on each team’s style of play. Alabama’s three-point shooting will have to remain sharp if it wants to pull off the upset against a team playing and executing at an extremely high level.

UConn center Donovan Clingan has been a monster throughout the tournament and is surrounded by playmakers, while Alabama focuses more on guard play. The Huskies also arrived later than expected due to issues with flights to Arizona.

Purdue, the No.1 seed out of the Midwest Region, is in the Final Four for the first time since 1980. Under head coach Matt Painter, the Boilermakers have developed a reputation for losing early in the NCAA Tournament, including becoming the second-ever No.1 seed to lose a first-round game last season. The good news? The only other team to lose as a No.1 to a No.16 (Virginia) won the national championship the following season.

To continue that trend, Purdue will have to go through No.11 seed North Carolina State, which has won nine games in a row and upset Texas Tech, Marquette, and Duke on its way to winning the South Regional in Dallas. The Wolfpack will bring a challenge through forward/center DJ Burns Jr., who put up 29 points against Duke on Sunday,

Burns’ matchup against Purdue star Zach Edey, the back-to-back AP Player of the Year, will be a highlight this game. Burns brings physicality and unique skill to his game, while Edey has a size advantage at 7-foot-4 that Burns has not yet faced.

While everyone is concentrating on the bigs in that one, the guards could end up being the difference.

Purdue and North Carolina State will lead things off at 5:09 p.m. CT on Saturday, followed by Alabama and UConn at 7:49 p.m. The winners will return to Glendale’s State Farm Stadium for the National Championship Game on Monday night.

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