Final Four defies expectations: A fan’s projected bracket

Troy Losey
Staff Writer

So here were are again with another year of college basketball at its finest. We saw a lot of high seeds upset and a chance for underdogs to rise up and have someone we could root for.

We saw the likes of Duke, Syracuse, Villanova, and Wichita St. go home earlier than expected. We also saw the emergence of first round upsets in Mercer, North Dakota St., and Harvard. We will also see this week the emergence of high seeds playing to reach the final four in: Tennessee, Dayton, Stanford, Kentucky, and Connecticut. So here are my picks to reach the final four this weekend:

Elite 8

(1) Florida vs. (4) UCLA – I like this game to be a defensive game and not much scoring to take place. Both teams have a presence at the guard position and will look to utilize their play on the perimeter to win. I like Florida to outlast UCLA and a defensive game.

(11) Dayton vs. (10) Stanford- Dayton and Stanford are coming off of impressive weekends that included some upsets. What Dayton is doing right now on both ends shows to me they can outlast the Cardinals of Stanford. I’ll take Dayton.

(1) Virginia vs. (4) Michigan St.- Virginia is the new dog in town and has not been tested much this far in the tourney in recent memory. Tom Izzo’s bunch are playing very well and I believe they are destined to go back to the Elite 8. I’ll take Michigan St.

Wisconsin surprised everyone with a win over Arizona.
Wisconsin surprised everyone with a win over Arizona.

(3) Iowa St. vs. (7) UCONN- A lot of people are taking this as their upset of the next round. A lot of people like what Shabazz Napier is doing with the Huskies and it is showing some the likes of what Kemba Walker did a few years ago when Connecticut won it all. Unlike most, I like the traditional pick in Iowa St. Though they suffered a significant injury last week, Iowa St. looks like the better team and I think they will be able to come out on top. Iowa St. here.

(1) Arizona vs. (4) San Diego St.-I have watched both of these teams and I am looking to see Arizona come out on top here. Aaron Gordon has been playing well and is looking like the man that Arizona needs down the stretch to make a run at a title.

(6) Baylor vs. (2) Wisconsin- Baylor has been playing very well and has shown that they belong in this tourney. I do like what Wisconsin is doing on defense and is showing us all that they are one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Wisconsin here.

(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville- Louisville is looking very good and is trying to defend their title and Rick Pitino has his bunch in good shape to make another run at a title. Kentucky has been playing great but it ends this week. Louisville here.

(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan- Tennessee is playing to what some may have thought as how they should have played all year. Too bad their next matchup is with the Michigan Wolverines. I love how the Wolverines looked last weekend, they are looking almost as good as they did last year when they lost in the title game. Michigan in a blowout.

Final Four

(1) Florida vs. (11) Dayton- Florida gets a favorable matchup and cannot ask for a better opponent as the Flyers will be the lowest seed left in the tourney. I like Florida in a 15 point win.

Florida remains one of the top dogs in the NCAA Tourney.
Florida remains one of the top dogs in the NCAA Tourney.

(4) Michigan St. vs. (3) Iowa St. – Michigan St. has got to be good pick here. Iowa St. has played well all year long and beat opponent after opponent but I love what the Spartans are doing on offensive and their leader Gary Harris is showing us why he is a potential lottery pick. Michigan St. here.

(1) Arizona vs. (2) Wisconsin- This will be the best game of the Elite 8 and will feature the only 1-2 matchup. Arizona has great leaders and this will show in the game that will get them back to the Final Four for the first team in a bit. Arizona pulls it out.

(4) Louisville vs. (2) Michigan- This would be a rematch of last year’s championship game in which Louisville outlasted Michigan. The difference here is the Wolverines do not have their back court of Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Trey Burke to try and outlast Louisville. I love Louisville in a close one.

So there you have it. I like Florida, Michigan St., Arizona, and Louisville to win out this weekend and make it to the Final Four next weekend. The amount of play in this tournament and the intensity shows how bad these schools want to win. It will be interesting to see what the top seeds can do and if they can hold on and win like predicted. I am looking forward to the games that will take place.