Add Bears to yet another thing the Wildcats aren't afraid of. Kentucky manhandled Baylor and cruised to yet another NCAA tourney victory. Photo courtesy Chet White/UK Athletics

A second weekend of basketball tournament action is in the books and we have our Final Four. Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, and Kansas will go to New Orleans but only one will leave as the national champion.

But the famous Road to the Final Four was not without some noteworthy points as it came to its final destination Saturday and Sunday. Here’s a quick glance back at some things the Elite Eight taught us this year.

Kentucky Wins Comfortably … Again

At this point, there’s no other way to say it: god damn, this Kentucky team is good. Who cares that you can’t understand a single word big man Anthony Davis is saying during postgame interviews, the Wildcats say everything that needs to be said on the court.

Some might’ve wondered how a team that didn’t even win their conference championship could end up as the #1 overall seed in the tournament. Kentucky has spent the ensuing two weeks answering that question. This isn’t a good or even a great team. This is an EXCELLENT team, and anyone who thinks otherwise is bound to come out looking like Baylor did in the first half.

Louisville has spent the better part of March disproving their doubters. But do they have another victory in them this Saturday? Photo courtesy Chris Carlson/AP

Louisville Continues Down a Familiar Road

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I said prior to the Elite Eight games that this Cardinal team was retracing the path set forth by the Big East champion last year. Connecticut, stuck in the middle of a supremely talented power conference, was nothing more than an afterthought at the beginning of March last year. Then they stormed the Big East tournament and made a few headlines. Then they won their region in the NCAA tournament and made more headlines. And THEN they won the National Championship.

Louisville wasn’t ever a bubble team, but they were stuck behind other conference contenders like Syracuse and Georgetown and Marquette. Well, the only one left dancing now are the Cardinals just like the Huskies a year ago. You may also remember who UConn played in the Final Four: the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats. Is this starting to sound familiar, yet?

Sure, Kentucky is a heavy favorite heading into Saturday’s Battle for Kentucky, but this Louisville squad is a textbook case of the right team peaking at the right time. Don’t be totally surprised if the Cardinals pull off the upset.

Ohio State is About Redemption and Revenge

Call me crazy, but the Buckeyes kind of got snubbed in this year’s bracket. They went down to the wire with Michigan State in the Big 10 championship. The Big 10 was probably the best conference outside of the Big East. And given how the Big East stumbled in yet ANOTHER year of March Madness, I’m even willing to say the Big Ten was the BEST power conference this year.

So, naturally, it should come with a bit of resentment to Ohio State that, even if they had beat Michigan State for the Big Ten title, the Kansas Jayhawks, who lost in the Big 12 semifinals to Baylor, would be put ahead of them. Well, it makes no difference now because the Buckeyes are going to get a chance to show who is the better team.

In a field that features the Big East champion, the top team in the country, and a Kansas team that WOULD’VE gotten a #1 seed if they hadn’t stumbled down the stretch, Ohio State isn’t getting as much attention as they should. The Jayhawks have to be considered favorites heading into Saturday’s game but that is a position that Kansas has struggled with before.

Kansas Gets Over the Hump … With Some Help

Rock Chalk! KU is in the Final Four! And how did they get here? By pulling out two squeakers to double-digit seeds and then edging a bruised and battered UNC squad. Forgive me if I’m not convinced that this Kansas team is as good as some are making them out to believe.

The Jayhawks were, however, able to wash away the bad taste left in their mouth by VCU last year by punching a ticket to New Orleans. But with a date with the Big Ten runners-up followed by either the best team in the country or the best team in the Big East, it’s very clear that the real test is just beginning.

Coach Bill Self had a tremendous quote where he said too often his Jayhawks aren’t happy when they win. Instead, they’re just relieved. To put his words into context, this team FEELS the pressure being put on them to succeed. The selection committee had them seeded as the strongest #2 seed or, essentially, a fifth #1 seed. If that’s true, Kansas should, at the very least, make it to the championship game a week from today. Needless to say, KU can’t relax just yet.

NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t wasting beautiful weekends indoors, he is on Twitter (also indoors)! Follow him @bclienesch!