The Final Four is here. Anyone who said that they predicted this quartet of teams would be lying through their teeth. To say that there are surprising teams filling out the Final Four would be the understatement of the century.
There have been upsets galore on the path to the last four standing. With the elimination of Alabama and Houston, all four of the top seeds were ousted. We have seen 16 vs 1 upsets, 15 vs 2, 13 vs 4, and just about everything you can imagine.
The focus now, however, should be on who is left standing. Each of these teams has had a notable path to get here and a story all their own.
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March Madness 2023 Final Four Schedule and Venues:
- No. 5 San Diego State – 72 vs. 71 – No. 9 Florida Atlantic – NRG Stadium, Houston, April 1st, 6:09 p.m. | CBS
- No. 4 UConn – 79 vs. 59 No. 5 Miami (Fla.) – NRG Stadium, Houston, April 1st, 8:49 p.m. | CBS
NCAA Championship Final:
- No. 4 UConn vs No. 5 San Diego State – NRG Stadium, Houston, April 3rd, 9:20 p.m. | CBS
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March Madness Final Four Teams: Favorites And Underdogs
This is the first Final Four appearance in the history of Florida Atlantic. This is, without a doubt, the Cinderella story of the tournament, even when 15-seed Princeton was still alive and kicking. FAU has been the underdog at every stage and they keep on having strong victories.
They took out eight-seed Memphis in the round of 64 before ending FDU’s Cinderella bid in the round of 32. In the Sweet 16, they held Tennessee to just 35% shooting to pull the sizable upset and make their first Elite Eight.
Once there, FAU showed a more balanced attack. Four of their five starters managed to hit double-digits as the team shot nearly 50% from the floor. Where FAU has really dominated is on the glass. Against Kansas State, they won the rebound battle 44-22, including a 14-5 advantage on offense.
As the third ever nine-seed to make the Final Four, the climb is not over. They will face one of the toughest defensive teams in the tournament in San Diego State but it is safe to say that no matter who wins, it will be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Florida are currently priced at +600 to win the NCAA tournament.
"Y'all the toughest son of a guns we've played all year long."
Jerome Tang went to the Florida Atlantic locker room to congratulate them and wish them luck in the Final Four 🤝#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/jiF2N2Wl0U
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 26, 2023
San Diego State
Also making their first Final Four appearance, the Aztecs had a quiet path to the Sweet 16 but have really picked up their game since. They not only met but soundly defeated one-seed Alabama, the prohibitive favorite to win the entire tournament.
If that weren’t enough, they eeked out a win over six-seed Creighton in the Elite Eight to book their first appearance in the Final Four. In the Creighton game, the Aztecs needed a little moxie as they shot 40% from the field. A last-second foul by Creighton led to the winning free throw from Darrion Trammell.
San Diego State is here because of their defense. They have the fourth-ranked defense in the country according to KenPom and it has showed. They have only allowed one opponent – Alabama – to top 60 points and even then, the Tide only managed 64 points. If they want to advance to their first ever national championship game, the defense will need to continue to be the driving force behind it all.
The San Diego Aztecs are currently priced at +360 to win the NCAA tournament in ClutchBet sportsbook.
Kawhi Leonard after seeing his San Diego State Aztecs make it to the Final Four 🗣 🎙️pic.twitter.com/sLeimUkmIJ
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 26, 2023
Wouldn’t you know it, this is yet another program that is making its first ever Final Four appearance. They are one of the top offenses in the land according to KenPom and have displayed that in three of their four tournament victories.
Though things were tight in a 63-56 win over Drake, the nets have not been safe since. They dropped 85 on Indiana, dominated Houston in an 89-75 win, and outshot the proficient Texas Longhorns 88-81 to land themselves in the Final Four.
They even showed a little resilience by coming from behind to defeat Texas. They were down 11 around halfway through the second half before finally taking the lead with just over five minutes to go. Jordan Miller was the catalyst, going 13-for-13 from the line and 7-for-7 from the field, putting up 27 points in the victory.
Miller and leading scorer Isaiah Wong (16.3 ppg) will need to be at their best once again to defeat the dominant UConn and book the program’s first national championship appearance.
Miami are currently priced at +490 to win the NCAA tournament.
Miami's LIVE ML was a high as +1300 🤯 pic.twitter.com/YrTceCzem3
— ClutchBet (@ClutchBetSB) March 26, 2023
If you could not see seeding, you would never know that UConn is a four-seed. They have been dominant in every round of the tournament so far, beating every single opponent by 15 points or more. They have confidently dismantled every opponent to date.
The momentum really began to roll after taking apart eight-seed Arkansas – fresh off its upset of Kansas – to the tune of 88-65. But their performance in the Elite Eight really set the tone for the rest of the tournament. They completely locked down and crushed Gonzaga 82-54, leaving little doubt as to who the favorite is.
UConn has been holding opponents to under 40% shooting, including 33% against Gonzaga. The offense has casually been doing as they please and Miami is going to have a hell of a task before them. There has been no safe money in this tournament but, at this stage, UConn may be the closest thing to it.
Currently the undeniable leading favorite, the Huskies are priced at -120 to win the NCAA tournament.
AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR! ✅
UCONN (-125) opens as the favorites to win the National Championship! 👀 pic.twitter.com/il5Ucy3sNK
— ClutchBet (@ClutchBetSB) March 27, 2023