Final Four Predictions
It’s very tough to predict which teams will advance to the Final Four each year in the NCAA Tournament. The year 2013 has been no different as there have been three pretty big surprises to reach Atlanta. Leading the charge is No. 9 Wichita State from the West Region. It will take on No. 1 Louisville, the top overall seed in the big dance this year.
The other two decent surprises were No. 4 Michigan from the South Region, and No. 4 Syracuse from the East. The Wolverines had to knock off No. 1 Kansas en route to Atlanta, while the Orange had to get by No. 1 Indiana. A No. 4 is guaranteed to reach the Championship Game considering these two will square off against each other on Saturday, April 6.
Now, it’s time to go through and give my Final Four predictions. I’ll pick the winner of each game in the semifinals, while also predicting an overall champ. Keep in mind that these are only my picks straight up without factoring in the spread. I’ll also give my reasoning for each selection.
Final Four Predictions
No. 4 Syracuse defeats No. 4 Michigan – This one is very tough to call considering both teams have really been playing their best basketball of the season in the NCAA Tournament. I just trust Syracuse more considering how dominant it has been en route to reaching the Final Four.
The Orange have outscored their four opponents by a combined 80 points for an average margin of victory over 20 points per game. That includes a 61-50 win over No. 1 Indiana in the Sweet 16, and a 55-39 triumph over Marquette in the Elite 8.
No team is playing better defense than Syracuse, either. It is allowing just 46.0 points per game thus far in the NCAA Tournament. That zone defense will cause Michigan a lot of trouble. The Orange’s length makes it tough to get open 3-pointers, as indicated by the fact that they allow just 28.2 percent from 3-point range on the season.
Michigan is very fortunate to be here after erasing a late 14-point deficit against Kansas in the Sweet 16 to come back and win by a final of 77-75 in overtime. I look for its luck to run out against an Orange team that is simply a match-up nightmare.
No. 1 Louisville defeats No. 9 Wichita State – The Cardinals have proven why they were pegged as the No. 1 overall seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. They really have yet to be tested, and I don’t expect the Shockers to put up much resistance in this one, either.
Louisville won its first two games over North Carolina A&T and Colorado State by a combined 57 points. Sure, it only beat Oregon 77-69 in the Sweet 16, but it jumped out to a 24-8 lead in that game. It was a much bigger blowout then the final score would indicate.
Clinging to a 3-point lead late over Duke in the first half of their Elite 8 showodwn, the Cardinals lost Kevin Ware to a gruesome leg injury. They would rally for him, dominating the game the rest of the way to pull away for an 85-63 victory over the Blue Devils.
Now, playing for Ware the rest of the way, this team has all the motivation it needs to not only beat Wichita State, but to go on and with the Championship Game of the NCAA Tournament.