March Madness: Final Four

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There are only four teams remaining in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. It’s been quite a wild ride this year, too. For the first time since the tournament expanded to 64 total teams, not a single 1-seed reached the Elite 8. The final four squads feature a 4-seed (UConn), two 5-seeds (Miami and SDSU) and a 9-seed (FAU). To understand the likelihood of that happening, DraftKings had two bettors nail their Final Four parlay.

And as crazy of a payout as that is above, that bet was made after the first weekend had been played. One can only imagine how large a payout would’ve been had the bet been made pre-tournament.

But one way or another, we’re down to the Final Four, which will be played on Saturday, April 1st. And for the first time in over 50 years, we’ll have three schools making their first-ever Final Four appearances. That’s right – only UConn has ever made it so far in the NCAA tournament.

Quick Assessment:

This is the first time since the 1970s that we’ve had a Final Four with no team seeded higher than fourth in the NCAA tournament. But that 4-seed is the overwhelming favorite to win the whole thing.March Madness basketball

As of right now, UConn is my pick (not only to beat Miami but to win it all). Back at the beginning of this tournament, Miami and UConn were both picks I made as the “biggest challengers” to win the entire tournament. I credited the Huskies talented starting five, led by Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins, who have both played outstanding basketball in the Big Dance. I also predicted that a fully healthy Norchad Omier would round out a deep, balanced offensive attack for Miami, which is precisely what has happened. In the end, UConn wins, however, as they have looked like the most talented team so far. A win for them would be their fifth national championship in the last 25 years.

While I want San Diego State to win, something about this FAU team just feels special. They have a remarkably balanced team. They’ve hit a high percentage of their shots at the free throw line, and starting center Vlad Goldin blossomed against Kansas State in the Elite 8. In order to beat SDSU, Johnell Davis, Bryan Greenlee, and Alijah Martin will have to combine for at least 32 points. This should be a low-scoring affair, but FAU needs its best offensive scorers to produce.

Final Prediction:

Miami’s impressive tournament run comes to an end against the tournament’s best overall team, the UConn Huskies. An upstart FAU squad surprises SDSU in a low-scoring affair that comes down to the final minute.

But in the end, on the biggest state, UConn wins on the backs of its stars – center Adama Sanogo, guard Jordan Hawkins, and coach Dan Hurley. Lest anyone forget, Hurley’s family is made of basketball legends. His father is a high school Hall of Fame coach. His brother won two national titles as a player at Duke. It’s time for Dan Hurley to put his stamp on college basketball.

UConn has steamrolled opponents so far (4 wins, by a combined 90 points). There’s nothing that indicates that is going to change.

 

National Champion:

UConn Huskies.

Catie Di Stefano has worked in the gambling industry since 2011 for major brands like Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Gaming Innovation Group and Betsson Group. She started in customer support at age 19 and has since worked her way through VIP, CRM and Marketing. Today, Catie is passionate about educating players on consumer rights and the best approaches for legal play in the United States as the Director of Community Marketing at OnlineGamblers.com. Catie was born in Indonesia but grew up in Sweden. Currently, she resides in Spain with her two daughters.

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