March Madness Final Four Predictions
This year’s edition of the NCAA Tournament was not filled with 16 seed upsets over a 1 seed, only one double-digit seed made the Sweet Sixteen, but we ended up with the most bizarre Final Four anyone could have imagined. Michigan State, Texas Tech, Virginia, and Auburn stand alone to finish the season. Are these the best four teams in the country? Probably not, but they are here on College Basketball’s biggest stage. Let’s break down the potential championship game matchups and decide which one will look best and which would be a huge snore fest.
So, we are here on Championship Monday and are about to watch the best defense in the country, Texas Tech, against the 5th best defense in the country, Virginia. Let’s just hope the over hits 120. This game has the makings of being one of the worst offensive showings since UConn vs Butler in 2011. That score was 53-41, and we can only hope that this one won’t be as slow, boring, and offensively stagnant as that game.
Both of these teams did give us really exciting Elite Eight games. Texas Tech took out Gonzaga by hitting a barrage of threes in the first half, and if they do the same in this hypothetical game, it might actually be worth watching. It’s not that Tech is bad offensively, they boast the 28th best offense in the country according to KenPom‘s ratings. The thing is they play an awful brand of basketball on the offensive side. Their defense is actually exciting and could lead to some big plays regardless of their opponent.
Michigan State vs Auburn
This game sounds interesting because both of these teams are really talented offensively…BUT I have a feeling this could get out of hand.
Honestly, it has been amazing watching Auburn do what they have been doing. This has only been emphasized by the injury to Chuma Okeke, ending his season with an ACL tear. They almost lost in the First Round to New Mexico State, a 12 seed, but held them off. They then went on to beat Kansas and UNC by double-digits, hitting an insane amount of threes and took out Kentucky in overtime by a handful of points. Their postseason run goes back to the SEC Tournament where they also ran Tennessee off the court by 20. However, I’m not sure if their run can last much longer.
If Auburn does manage to get by Virginia, Michigan State might run THEM off the court. Their defense is rated 38th in the country in KenPom and Michigan State has the 5th best offense and 9th best defense in KenPom’s ratings. That will be the best offense they have faced since taking on Tennessee. Michigan State has Cassius Winston running things for them and I really think they should be the favorites to win the title now. They took down Zion Williamson and Duke and I think they are going to march to a title. It has been 40 years since March Went Mad and Magic Johnson took home the title against Larry Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores. It may just be Tom Izzo and the Spartans’ time to win.
Michigan State vs Virginia
This is the most likely outcome, just by seeding. This is also the second best title game matchup. Two very experienced teams, two great coaches, and honestly who wouldn’t enjoy this game? Both of these teams are rated in the top-10 of KenPom’s offensive and defensive ratings, they are both the best teams from their conferences, and are just really great at basketball.
Virginia is still carrying a little baggage from their First Round exit last year, in their historic loss to 16 seed UMBC. It will probably take a title this season in order to get that dark cloud off their head. It will be interesting if Virginia is able to take advantage of Michigan State’s shortcomings. They are missing two players from their rotation due to season-ending injuries and it might be due time that Sparty falls short due to those losses.
One thing is for certain, no one wants to see Coach Izzo lose it as he did in the Round of 64.
Tom Izzo goes after Aaron Henry pretty hard. pic.twitter.com/A4KUMT6XWa
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) March 21, 2019
Auburn vs Texas Tech
This does not really pop off the page as the most exciting game of the four possibilities, but I think it is the most interesting. Elite defense versus elite offense is going to lead to Texas Tech having to go out of their mind to keep up with Auburn’s offense, a grind it out game that leaves Auburn limping to the final buzzer or a really good game somewhere in the middle. If this game does happen, I want to see the final score in the 70s for both teams. That type of game is going to be exciting, compelling, and will leave people on the edge of their seats.
This could really be a repeat of the Gonzaga vs Texas Tech game if both teams play at their best. That would be the most ideal game to watch. Auburn is so interesting offensively. They have the amazing duo of guards in Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, but anyone on that team can score. Their big guys shoot from deep, little guys score inside and vice versa, they are hard to prepare for and Chris Beard will have his hands full if this game occurs.
Don’t forget that Texas Tech has Jarrett Culver. A potential top-5 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, Culver can make exciting plays happen out of nowhere.