The 2005 Final Four in St. Louis is set and if this past weekend’s games were any indication, basketball fans in the Gateway City will be in for quite a treat. Three of the four games on Saturday and Sunday were overtime affairs, as Louisville, Illinois, North Carolina and Michigan St. advanced to the semifinals.
On Sunday, North Carolina held off a stubborn Wisconsin team with an 88-82 win in the Syracuse Regional. Forward Sean May led the way for the Tarheels with 29 points and 12 rebounds. North Carolina will head to its 16th Final Four—an NCAA record. Head coach Roy Williams is making his first trip, since taking the head coaching job at North Carolina in 2002. He took Kansas four times.
North Carolina’s opponent will be Michigan State, which survived two overtimes to beat Kentucky 94-88 on Saturday. Patrick Sparks launched a three pointer for Kentucky at the end of regulation that bounced around the rim before finally falling through the hoop to overcome an eight point deficit with less than five minutes to go and force overtime. Referees had to look at replays for six minutes to determine whether or not Sparks’ foot was on the line or not. After a stalemate in the first overtime, Michigan St. took over in the second to clinch the schools fourth trip to the Final Four in head coach Tom Izzo’s tenure.