The college basketball world will be focused on Houston, Texas where the men’s Final Four will tip off Saturday.
The Cinderellas have taken over the sport in the last two weeks and now four teams who each surprised and busted brackets along the way.
Florida Atlantic, a school of about 25,000 students located in Boca Raton, Florida is making only its second NCAA Tournament appearance. The Owls blitzed through the East Region and will take on San Diego State, who are also making their first Final Four berth.
In the second semifinal, UConn will take on their former Big East Conference foe Miami. The Huskies are used to being in this position, making their sixth Final Four appearance in the past 25 years with four national championships, the last coming in 2014.
The Hurricanes took care of the top two seeds in the Midwest Region to make their way to Houston. Led by ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong, Miami is looking to break through with its first title after making the Elite Eight last season.
Follow the madness: Latest Men’s NCAA Tournament College Basketball Scores and Schedules
Follow along for live updates throughout the night:
The first national semifinal between Florida Atlantic and San Diego State tips off at 6:09 p.m. ET on Saturday.
The second game between UConn and Miami will begin 30 minutes after the first game finishes, at approximately 8:49 p.m. ET.
The winners of the two semifinals will meet in the men’s national championship game, which will be played on Monday, April 3, starting at 9:20 p.m. ET.
HOUSTON — Nine minutes before Saturday’s second national semifinal is scheduled to tip off, Connecticut center Adama Sanogo is going to eat.
It won’t be much. Maybe just some oranges and coconut water, but he will get something in his stomach. And that’s going to be a lot better than what Sanogo had to deal with last weekend at the West Regional in Las Vegas.
“I’m not trying to think about it,” he said. “The more you’re thinking about it, the more it’s hard to do it.”
Sanogo, a native of Mali who has arguably been UConn’s best player during the NCAA men’s tournament, is Muslim and currently observing Ramadan, a month where he is not allowed to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset.
– Dan Wolken
The assistant confined to a wheelchair helps explain the makeup of the men’s Final Four.
More specifically, to understand how fifth-seeded San Diego State earned the school’s first trip to the Final Four where it will be playing Saturday against Florida Atlantic in Houston, it helps to know Mark Fisher, who serves as an assistant to Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher.
He is the son of Steve Fisher, the retired basketball coach who won a national championship with Michigan in 1989 and took the school back to the Final Four in 1992 and 1993 with the celebrated “Fab Five.”
More importantly, Mark Fisher, 44, has no use of his arms and legs.
But before tip-off here is some essential reading to get you ready.
– Josh Peter
HOUSTON — In May of 2008, Craig Angelos was looking for something that would give Florida Atlantic basketball a spark. So he drove two miles from campus and went to church.
The purpose of the trip wasn’t prayer, even though the program could have used some. Angelos, then FAU’s athletics director, had gone to meet with Mike Jarvis, the former George Washington and St. John’s coach who had moved to Boca Raton and become an influential member at Spanish River Church. They did the interview right there in the pastor’s office.
“He was a great coach, but I also thought, he’s part of this 6,000-member church right by FAU,” said Angelos, now a senior deputy athletics director at Long Island University. “So if we have any of his friends come to games, maybe 100 or 200 or even 1,000 because they want to support their fellow church member, that’s a huge plus. In Boca, you need a guy who can do more than just coach.”