College Hoops

Final Four Preview 2024: What you need to know about UConn, Alabama, Purdue and NC State

Final Four Preview 2024: What you need to know about UConn, Alabama, Purdue and NC State

After two chaotic weekends and four memorable rounds, we have reached the end of the road for the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Of the four teams left in contention for this season’s national championship, two — UConn and Purdue — have been the class of the sport throughout the season and now have a chance to finish strong. 

A title for either team would be significant: Either the Huskies become the first reigning champ to repeat since Florida (2006, ’07) and complete one of the most dominant two-year tournament runs in history, or Purdue finishes the redemption tour after the crushing disappointment of losing to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickenson in last year’s first round. 

Standing in the way are two teams with their own historical-driven motivations. Alabama has never been to the Final Four, and NC State is back for the first time since winning it all in 1983 with Jim Valvano and the Cardiac Pack. But while all the echoes of history, regular-season records and pre-Final Four form play a role in setting the stage, this is ultimately a championship that will be decided by players and the coaches — or, more specifically, the outcomes of three games between college basketball teams on the game’s biggest stage.     

So what about the players, strengths, weaknesses and what to expect from all four teams when they hit the floor on Saturday night? We’ve got that, and more, covered for you below in our team-by-team breakdowns to get you ready for the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, where it will be No. 1 seed Purdue vs. No. 11 seed NC State followed by No. 1 seed UConn vs. No. 4 seed Alabama on Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona. 

Donovan Clingan led UConn’s defensive effort that shut down Illinois in the Elite Eight. 

(1) UConn Huskies

No team in the 2024 NCAA Tournament has felt more invincible than UConn, which extended the NCAA Tournament record for consecutive double-digit wins to 10 after its 25-point runaway against the Big Ten Tournament champions, Illinois. Even though this is a different group than a year ago, the level of dominance remains the same with an average margin of victory of 27.8 points per game in the four wins that propelled the reigning champs back to the Final Four. This is a different team, for sure, but it’s the same…

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