Is This the Craziest Final Four We’ve Ever Seen?
With the Final Four finally set in stone, I can confidently say that no one saw this coming. Each region gave way to a winner very few predicted, except for UConn who has been nothing short of dominant in each round. This Final Four gave us the highest combined seeds in the round’s history.
Starting in the South, the San Diego State Aztecs made their first Final Four in team history. The Aztecs are now the only Mountain West team ever to make the Elite Eight, let alone the Final Four. The Aztecs hadn’t won a tournament game since 2015 and had never passed the Sweet Sixteen. The Aztecs only have one double-digit scorer in Matt Bradley, no one averages more than six rebounds, and the leading passer only averages 3.3 assists. The only thing that jumps off the paper about the Aztecs is their stout defense, which helped them knock off one-seeded Alabama, and popular Final Four pick Creighton. The team came into the bracket with +10000 odds to win it all, those odds now lay at +375.
In the East, the Florida Atlantic Owls put in their bid to compete in Houston. In the Owl's only other tournament appearance, they were bounced in the first round. Despite only making it twice in team history, the team has made a miracle run to the Final Four this season. Knocking off teams such as red-hot Memphis and the scrappy Kansas State Wildcats, those upset bids were led byJohnell Davis who has been absolutely incredible for the Owls throughout this run, most recently posting a statline of thirteen points, eight rebounds, and six assists to help lead the Owls past Kansas State. The Owls had +13000 odds to win it all, and those odds have fallen all the way down to +600.
On to the Midwest, the Miami Hurricanes make their first appearance in the Final Four as well. The Hurricanes were a solid squad last year, and with that squad, they made it all the way to the Elite Eight. This team has improved this year from last, almost putting the bar at the Elite Eight. Not only did the Hurricanes reach it, but they surpassed it. Led by guard duo Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller, the Hurricanes hadn’t flown under as many radars as going into the tourney, but still surprised many with their run. Miami had +7500 odds to win it all and now those odds sit at +475.
On to the chalkiest section of the bracket, the Uconn Huskies find themselves back in the Final Four for the third time since 2011. The Huskies were the most likely to make it to the Final Four out of the aforementioned teams. The Huskies were my personal pick to represent the West in the Final Four, and they did just that. It is rare to see a team dominate the way these Huskies have; the Huskies have won their four matchups by an average of 22.5 points. Taking the lead for the Huskies is elite forward, Adama Sanogo. Sanogo has been the best player throughout March Madness, and has been the leader that this Uconn roster has so desperately needed. The Huskies’ odds have gone from +2500 odds, to being the heavy favorites with -125 odds.