Final Four Predictions
Waited until the last minute to fill your bracket? Don’t worry, Commradio’s very own Robert Cardini, Antonio Fondacaro, Juliana Steinmetz, Colin Snyder and Lucas Mcdowell have their picks for the Final Four.
This year’s March Madness seems to be more open than any year in recent history which should make for a month full of mayhem.
Too many the East is the weakest region in the field with its number one seed being Purdue and its two seed being Marquette. I don’t think either of these teams will win the East but rather arguably the hottest team in the NCAA, Duke. I think Duke will top Marquette in a tight Elite Eight matchup.
The west region is full of big-name brand teams like Kansas, UCLA, Gonzaga, and UCONN. When it’s all said and done, I expect Kansas to make it out to the West led by one of the nation’s top players Jaylen Wilson. I see Kansas taking down a talented and experienced UCLA team in the Elite Eight.
The Midwest is highlighted by its number one seed Houston and two seed Texas. A few of the lower seeds that might have a shot at a Cinderella run are Miami, Indiana, and Penn State. But, I think Texas will come out on top vs an injured Houston team in the Elite Eight.
The South is shaping up into what could be the most entertaining region with a lot of potential upsets. One team I don’t see getting upset in this region though is Alabama led by star Brandon Miller who will go on to beat Arizona in the Elite Eight.
In a rematch of the Big 12 Final, I think Kansas, with head coach Bill Self this time, will get their revenge on Texas, while Duke will out-duel Alabama in a high-scoring game. In the final, I think Kansas will be too much for Duke’s strong defense and we will see the first repeat champ since Florida did it in 2006-2007.
Antonio Fondacaro's Picks:
Perfecting the art of bracket-making is an impossible task. I may not have the capabilities to shatter the impossible, but I can tell you my confident picks of who the big dogs are in the NCAA Tournament.
Let’s start with the winner of the East.
The East features four elite teams in the running for the Final Four. Tennessee, Marquette, Kansas State, and Purdue are the following teams who will compete for an NCAA title.
Purdue is the consensus No. 4 seed in the entire tournament per ncaa.com.
The Boilermakers may be backed by the pros, but I believe Marquette is more dangerous come tournament time.
In their latest game, Purdue almost blew a 15-point lead against Penn State during the Big 10 Championship.
Marquette played against Purdue earlier in the season. The Golden Eagles let the game slip late and Purdue was able to win by five points.
Marquette was more banged up at the time, and Purdue was playing their best ball when they faced Marquette.
Marquette’s starting four all average 10+ points per game, very friendly for tournament ball.
If Purdue lasts until the Elite 8, count on Marquette to take the upset and move into the final for representing the East.
The West is the wildest division in the NCAA tournament.
According to ncaa.com, Kansas is the third seed in the entire tournament.
I don’t trust Kansas as I did a year ago. Last year they had a superior roster and were playing their best ball later into the season.
Now it looks like they can beat up on worse teams, but some of the better teams can give them trouble.
The saving grace for Kansas is its bracket position. The toughest opponents being UConn and St. Mary’s before the elite 8 makes life very easy.
Gonzaga may have the highest-ranked offense in the entire tournament, but their regular season schedule was a cakewalk compared to the other top tournament teams.
Kansas coasts their way to a top-four spot, don’t trust them to make it any further than that
How about the Midwest?
Chaos becomes commonplace in march madness, but the potential bracket-busting Nittany Lions’ run ends at Texas, the future Midwest champion.
Texas is my pick to win the entire tournament. Unlike Houston, Texas is fully healthy, and the roster is playing some of their best ball as of late.
Xavier is the third most dangerous team in the conference, but Texas has an easier path to the elite 8 which they should win.
The South is simple, Arizona or Alabama flip a coin.
Alabama is healthy and playing great team ball, strong defense, and timely plays have kept the Crimson Tide as the cream of the crop in college basketball.
Although Arizona has some serious star power, I trust Alabama more since they have more wins against the top 25 teams.
Like Kansas, Alabama should cruise to the elite 8 where they will most likely face Arizona to move to the top four.
Alabama will then face Marquette in the final four and make it into the National Championship game.
Alabama will lose to Texas in the National Championship
Julianna Steinmetz's Picks:
March is always unpredictable and this year’s NCAA Tournament is flooded with talent and interesting matchups. We are bound to witness some upsets in the early rounds, but what teams have the potential to go all the way to the final four and have the potential to cut down the nets in Houston?
The Golden Eagles have not lost a game since February 7 against UConn. Since then, the team has produced win after win, earning the Big East Tournament Title. To earn their position in the final four, Marquette will have to face another final-four-caliber team in the elite eight.
However, this team knows how to defeat top-25 teams. With a strong starting lineup consisting of Oso Ighodara, Kam Jones, Tyler Kolek, Stevie Mitchell and Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the Golden Eagles can compete against and beat any team they meet.
The defending national champions are looking to keep possession of that title. I predict that the Jayhawks will meet the UCLA Bruins in the elite eight and defeat them in a close game.
The Bruins are strong but injured. If the Jayhawks can capitalize on the absence of Jaylen Clark and potentially Adem Bona as well, they will certainly find themselves a spot in the final four.
The Midwest bracket consists of arguably the most talent with Houston and Texas also being teams with final-four potential. However, the Musketeers stand out to me.
I had originally thought Houston would be the team from the Midwest to reach the final four, but with star Guard Marcus Sasser’s recent injury and no statement of when he will return, the Cougars may suffer.
The Musketeers will not have an easy path to the final four, but their fate will be sealed when they defeat Texas in the Sweet 16.
The Wildcats, coming off a win against UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament finals, are prepared to face any team who comes their way.
Alabama is the only other team in the South that can pose a real threat to this squad, but I predict that the Wildcats will play the way they did this past Saturday and come out on top.
Championship: Marquette vs Kansas.
The Kansas Jayhawks will become the eighth team to achieve back-to-back national titles this year. The Golden Eagles will put up a strong fight, but will simply not be able to keep up with the Jayhawks. Kansas will cut down the net once again, this time in Houston.
Lucas McDowell's Picks:
All roads lead to Space City this year with now only 68 teams’ aspirations of cutting down the nets in Houston still alive.
The South is headlined by the number one overall seeded Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide are coming into March Madness fresh off of an SEC regular season and tournament championship. Their biggest threats in this region are Arizona, Baylor and Creighton.
Each of these teams have shown a lot of inconsistency throughout the regular season and because of that, I believe Alabama will come out of the South.
In the East, the top seed is the Big Ten Champion Purdue Boilermakers. This region also contains the Duke Blue Devils, who have won their last nine games.
In this region, however, I believe it will be the Marquette Golden Eagles led by Tyler Kolek making it to the Final Four.
When looking at the Midwest I see a two-team race between the Houston Cougars and the Texas Longhorns. I like Houston’s route to the Final Four more than I like Texas’s so therefore I believe the Cougars will make it out of the midwest
As for the final region, the West is headlined by the defending national champion Kansas Jayhawks. I believe the Jayhawks will make it to the West Regional Championship game however I do not believe they will be able to win it as I predict the Gonzaga Bulldogs will be going back to the Final Four for the second time in three years.
In the Final Four, I have Alabama taking down Marquette and Houston beating Gonzaga. In the National Championship, I believe Alabama will once again defeat Houston in a rematch from December where Alabama won by a score of 71-65. I think the Tide are too complete for any team to take them down and I think they will be cutting down the nets on April 3.
Rob Cardini is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com
Antonio Fondacaro is a sophomore studying broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Julianna Steinmetz is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com
Lucas McDowell is a first-year majoring in accounting. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org