Fikkle Fame’s Picks for the NCAA Final Four
The NCAA Basketball Tournament is once again upon us, with millions of brackets filled out in offices nationwide. Grown men will be brought to their knees when picks made after painstaking research are dashed with early round upsets. Bearing in mind that your guess is as good as ours, here’s a look at Fikkle Fame’s picks for the NCAA Final Four and championship.
Kansas, the #2 seed, is without injured center Joel Embiid, at least in the early games. They could potentially face a very tough and probably under seeded New Mexico (#7) in the Round of 32. The Lobos looked awesome in beating 8th ranked San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament championship game. Third seeded Syracuse has faded a bit down the stretch, but if the Orange get their second wind in the tournament, they could go far. Number one seed Florida finished undefeated in SEC play; the Gators haven’t lost to anyone since losing at Connecticut on December 2nd, and have won 26 in a row. They are the team to beat.
Virginia earned the top seed in the East by winning the ACC regular season and tournament championships. The Cavaliers don’t score a lot (65.5 points per game, 294th in the country) but they do it with defense, allowing just 55.3 points per game, which is the fewest allowed by any Division I school. Second seed Villanova would face former Big East rival Connecticut (#7) or fellow Philadelphia school Saint Joseph’s (#10) in the round of 32. The Wildcats beat St. Joseph’s by 30 points back in December. Villanova would have its hands full with third seeded Iowa State if that matchup occurs; the Cyclones started and more importantly finished the season strong. But we see Michigan State advancing from this regional. The Spartans are 26-8, but they had key injuries throughout the season. The injured guys are back now, and Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament in impressive fashion.
Pick: Michigan State
Second seeded Wisconsin beat both Florida and Virginia earlier in the season, and could potentially face #3 Creighton and All World forward Doug McDermott, who would be kept busy by the Badgers’ defense. If fourth seeded San Diego State makes it past New Mexico State and possibly Oklahoma, the Aztecs could face top seed Arizona. The Wildcats beat San Diego State back in November, and we think they can do it again. It won’t be easy but we think Arizona should have enough just enough to beat Wisconsin in the regional final and advance.
This regional has the toughest road to the top. Three of last year’s Final Four teams—Wichita State, Michigan, and Louisville—are in this regional. At 34-0 top seed Wichita State is the only undefeated team in the tournament, and would face the winner of the game between #8 Kentucky and #9 Kansas State. Wildcats vs. Wildcats in that one. The Kentucky variety of Wildcats are not happy with an uncharacteristically low seeding, but they did go 5-5 in their last 10 games. An upset over Wichita State is possible, but we think unlikely. Second seed Michigan could face #3 Duke; the Blue Devils beat the Wolverines back in December. But we think the top team in this regional is #4 Louisville, the defending NCAA champ. All five of the Cardinals losses were to Top 25 teams, and we think Louisville would, like last year in the national semifinals, beat Wichita State, a matchup that would occur if both reach the Sweet 16.
Louisville over Arizona
Florida over Michigan State
Florida over Louisville