PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS KEANE FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Arms of Coates Florida State guard Emiah Bingley may have regretted venturing into the paint against South Carolina on Sunday: When she got there she was greeted by a crowd led by 6' 4'' Gamecocks center Alaina Coates (green sneakers), who had nine inches on Bingley before leaving the ground. Behind 14 points from Coates and a game-high 21 from guard Tiffany Mitchell (25), South Carolina beat the Seminoles 80--74 to lock down the first women's Final Four appearance in school history.
PHOTOGRAPH BY AL TIELEMANS FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Arch Madness There is only one non--No. 1 seed in the Final Four, but regardless of where Michigan State begins the month, it's no upset when a Tom Izzo--coached team is part of the final quartet. On Sunday the seventh-seeded Spartans—with the help of 15 points from junior guard Denzel Valentine (45)—beat No. 4 Louisville in overtime to win the East Regional and send Izzo to the Final Four for the seventh time in his 20 years at Michigan State. Izzo is the only coach to reach three Final Fours with teams seeded No. 5 or lower.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID E. KLUTHO FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Auguste Decree Kentucky heads into the Final Four with 38 wins, and none have been harder-earned than the Wildcats' 68--66 victory over Notre Dame in the Midwest Regional final last Saturday (page 28). The Irish, who got 20 points from power forward Zach Auguste (30), led the Cats for most of the second half, but Kentucky proved too strong inside in the final minutes—something Auguste discovered when he tried to take it to the rim against 7-foot Willie Cauley-Stein (15). Kentucky's next step on the road to 40--0: the national semifinal against Wisconsin on Saturday in Indianapolis.