We have made it to the Final Four weekend, and it is exactly who we thought would be here! Right? Probably not. Nonetheless, these are the teams that have earned their spot to play for a chance at the National Championship. We have four teams that are completely different in the ways they play, which makes for an interesting weekend. Let’s get into it!
Final Four Predictions
No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic
San Diego State eked out a last-second victory against favored Creighton in the Elite Eight. The Aztecs showed great resolve in the second half as they were down five going into intermission. Creighton was only able to muster 23 points in the second period in what turned out to be a rock fight for that half. Matt Bradley continued to struggle with only two points, but the Aztecs found sources of scoring from others, including Darrion Trammell, who continued his hot streak with 12 points and the game-winning free throw, and Lamont Butler, who poured in 18 points on 8/11 shooting. San Diego State’s defense showed up when it mattered, aided by their bench depth which the Bluejays could not match. Florida Atlantic continued to shock people in the Elite 8, pulling off yet another upset of another storyline team in Kansas State. Despite turning the ball over 22 times, the Owls overcame them with their fast-paced, team-centered style of play. They stayed together during Kansas State’s second-half run and ground out a win behind a big game from center Vladislav Goldin, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Owls keep finding ways to win and make the necessary plays when it matters the most. With San Diego State’s inability to score for stretches of time and the sheer will Florida Atlantic is playing with right now, give me the Owls to make history as the first nine seed to advance to the National Championship game.
No. 4 UConn vs. No. 5 Miami
UConn is back in the Final Four behind another stellar performance against Gonzaga. The Huskies were able to control the pace of the game on both sides of the ball and dismantled Gonzaga. UConn is looking like the best team left in the tournament, blowing out every opponent they have faced so far. They are shooting the ball with confidence and accuracy and playing defense like it is the last possession of the game and they are only up by a bucket all game. Miami has now defeated three of the four top seeds in their region to advance to the Final Four. Hurricane senior guard Jordan Miller scored 27 points on 7-7 shooting and 13-13 at the free throw line. Miami seems to do just enough to get by these teams, but that is March Madness in a nutshell. UConn will be facing their toughest offense yet in the tournament, and vice versa for Miami. Texas and UConn have similarities, but the Huskies are just a bit better than the Longhorns. I like the Huskies to advance to the National Championship game, but this will be a tough, hard-fought game.