Final Four Preview and Predictions

Final Four Preview and Predictions

Final Four Preview and Predictions 800 600 OnTheStacks

final four predictions

By Spencer Ripchik

Final Four Preview and Predictions: The NCAA Tournament has been nothing but chaos and the Final Four shows it.

A 4-seed, two 5-seeds and a 9-seed make up this year’s Final Four teams, which is completely different compared to last year’s Final Four, which was filled with Blue Bloods.

The highest seed left is No. 4 UConn, who’s been one of the hottest teams in the NCAA Tournament, knocking off Gonzaga by a whopping 28 points in the Elite Eight.

If this NCAA Tournament has shown anything it’s that the numbers next to a team’s name doesn’t matter. No. 1 Purdue was upset in the first round by No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson, so anything can happen.

The longshot this weekend is No. 9 FAU, who takes on No. 5 San Diego State. UConn takes on No. 5 Miami for its bid to the National Championship game.

There were once 68 teams, after Saturday, there will be just two remaining. What two will they be?

No. 4 UConn vs. No. 5 Miami

No. 4 UConn has been on a hot streak, winning every game in the NCAA Tournament by more than 10 points.

The Huskies are led by their one-two punch in junior forward Adama Sanogo and sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins. 

Sanogo and Hawkins average over 15 points each and Hawkins played a big role in UConn’s dominant win over No. 3 Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.

UConn coach Dan Hurley’s plays have been on another level in the NCAA Tournament and are one of the main reasons why UConn’s offense clicks.

The supporting cast of Sanogo and Hawkins is also really strong. Guards Tristen Newton and Andre Jackson Jr. can make plays to help the attack for the Huskies.

The Huskies’ offense is hot, but a hotter offense is who they play, Miami.

Miami made a run in the NCAA Tournament a year ago as a 10-seed, making the Elite Eight, and most of the players on that squad came back for this run.

Guard play is the Hurricanes’ specialty, and Miami has a trio of them, junior Isaiah Wong, senior Jordan Miller and sophomore Nijel Pack.

Wong, the lead guy last year, has the same role in 2023. He leads the team averaging 16.2 points per game.

With both teams having strong offenses, it is going to come down to who can create the most stops and the Huskies have the edge.

UConn has held every NCAA Tournament team to under 65 points, including No. 2 Texas, who puts up 78 points per game. 

However, it’s not going to be an easy task with the shooters Miami has. If the Hurricanes can outshoot UConn from deep, it could be Miami headed to the National Championship.

Overall, though, UConn’s the more balanced squad, so the Huskies will be the one in the Championship.


UConn 76, Miami 71

No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 9 FAU

No. 9 FAU, the low team on the totem pole but still in the Final Four, comes out of the chaotic East that had No. 1 Purdue lose in the first round.

On their path to the Final Four, the Owls knocked off No. 4 Tennesee, and a Lil Baby “Low Down” powered No. 3 Kansas State in the final minutes.

No. 5 San Diego State has a strong NCAA Tournament resume too, beating No. 1 Alabama by a couple of scores and edging out No. 6 Creighton. 

The Aztecs have been besting teams with their defense and physicality under the rim. San Diego State has one of the best defenders in the nation playing the 5, senior Nathan Mensah.

At 6-foot-10, 230 pounds, Mensah is a force in the paint and leads the team with 1.7 blocks per game.

Mensah holds down the fort in the paint and junior guard Lamont Butler guards out by the perimeter. Butler locks up the shifty guards and posts a team-best 1.5 steals per game.

Out on the perimeter and in the paint, San Diego State’s defense is hard to crack, but FAU has the firepower offensively to put an end to the Aztecs’ run potentially. 

The firepower has come from sophomore guard Johnell Davis. Davis is the Owls’ playmaker. He leads the team in scoring and in steals per game. 

Davis has a flurry of players around him, too. Freshman Nicholas Boyd averages 8.9 points per game and comes off the bench. The depth of the team is their biggest strength.

The depth is going to have to unload on San Diego State’s defense, though. The Aztecs’ physicallty and defense might shake up the Owls.

There has never been a seed higher than an 8-seed, and that’s not going to happen this year.


San Diego State 68, FAU 60

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