A weird season in men's college basketball season ended with a weird title-game pairing Monday between a No. 7 seed, Connecticut, and a No. 8 seed, Kentucky.
There were some people out there, I'm sure, who picked those two teams for their championship game. I don't know any of them.
Unfortunately, the final game didn't quite live up to the levels of play and excitement as a number of other games in the tournament did. By my count, there were 17 games of the 64 games (the First Four in Dayton don't count) that were exceptionally interesting. That's a good percentage.
Here are my sweet 16 of games from this year's NCAA Tournament. From this list, it would be fair to gather that I found Kentucky and Wisconsin to be the most entertaining and interesting teams to watch – they each had 4 games on this list, one against each other.
16. Wisconsin 85, Oregon 77 (third round): The Badgers' second-half rally was something to watch.
15. San Diego State 73, New Mexico State 69, OT (second round): The Aztecs' tried to give this early-round game away, but the Aggies just couldn't take it.
14. Dayton 55, Syracuse 53 (third round): I take great joy in watching teams coached by Jim Boeheim lose.
13. Stanford 60, Kansas 57 (third round): I take great joy in watching Kansas lose.
12. St. Louis 83, North Carolina State 80, OT (second round): The Billikens had nothing until the last 5 or so minutes of regulation and the overtime. Turns out they had nothin' in the next round against Louisville.
11. North Dakota State 80, Oklahoma 75, OT (second round): For one game, a great story from Fargo.
10. Dayton 60, Ohio State 59: The image of Ohio State senior Aaron Craft on the floor after missing a game-winning shot was perhaps the most memorable of the tournament.
9. Michigan State 61, Virginia 59: A bruising, back-and-forth struggle between two teams playing at the top of their defensive game.
8. Michigan 73, Tennessee 71: The Vols' rally was stopped short by a controversial charging call.
7. Kentucky 74, Louisville 69: I don't get as excited about the Bluegrass State rivalry as some, but the exit by the defending champs was particularly entertaining.
6. Mercer 78, Duke 71: I take great joy in watching Duke lose.
5. Stephen F. Austin 77, VCU 75, OT: The 4-point play to tie the score by SFA with 3.6 seconds left in regulation made this one of the most improbable comebacks in NCAA Tournament history.
4. Kentucky 78, Wichita State 76: The Shockers' first and only loss of the season came in what might have been the best-played game of the tournament. Wichita State deserved its No. 1 seed.
3. Kentucky 75, Michigan 72: The first of two consecutive 3-point game-winning shots by freshman Aaron Harrison put the No. 8 seed Wildcats past the top-seeded Wolverines and into the Final Four.
2. Wisconsin 64, Arizona 63, OT: The Badgers reached the Final Four in this wild regional final. Arizona had a shot to win the game in overtime after an overturned loose-ball call, but missed.
1. Kentucky 74, Wisconsin 73: In a Final Four instant classic, Harrison's 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left was nearly answered by a Traevon Jackson jumper at the buzzer. But the Badgers missed, and the Wildcats were off to the title game.