Most prognosticators expected some Final Four surprises, yet usually a name few successfully identified a final teams standing.
According to ESPN College Basketball‘s Twitter account, a little commission of joint plea participants nailed their Final Four predictions:
1,140 out of usually over 13 million brackets in a ESPN Bracket Challenge picked this Final Four. Less than 0.01% pic.twitter.com/fYjv3m5l6L
— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 28, 2016
This is where a Syracuse Orange smile and giggle during their critics, this author included. No. 1 seed North Carolina didn’t jolt anyone by transferring a prohibited palm into a tournament. Even if Villanova and Oklahoma didn’t tip a list of marker choices, they were still distinguished contenders.
Not No. 10 Syracuse, though, whose inclusion was distant from certain before Selection Sunday. The Orange keep defying a odds, and they’ll have to do it dual some-more times to constraint their second inhabitant title.
Saturday’s doubleheader will establish that dual squads strife for a championship on Monday night. Before looking brazen to a remaining report in Houston, here’s a refresher of a tournament’s joint results.
Final Four ScheduleDate
No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 2 Oklahoma
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 10 Syracuse
National Championship Game
Villanova vs. Oklahoma
Villanova and Oklahoma aren’t usually advancing; they’re winning in fatiguing fashion. Both schools have notched 3 double-digit victories in 4 rounds, including beatings over No. 3 seeds.
Even after a five-point Elite Eight delight over tip seed Kansas, a Wildcats swing a 16.75-point normal domain of victory. Their stellar contest success has bumped them adult to No. 1 in KenPom.com’s group ratings:
The Wildcats have won 9 of their final 10 games, with a two-point detriment to Seton Hall portion as a sole outlier. Yet they can’t feel too assured of holding a tip hand. After all, a Sooners clobbered them during a unchanging season.
Both sides entered Dec. 7’s matchup undefeated, yet Oklahoma left with a record unblemished. Despite Buddy Hield going 6-of-17 for 18 points, an off diversion by his standards, a Big 12 powerhouse won 78-55.
Alonzo Adams/Associated Press
On one hand, Villanova knows it can enclose a star scorer, who is averaging 29.3 points per diversion this tournament. It also, however, contingency worry that it didn’t make a difference. Villanova sophomore ensure Phil Booth discussed a hurdles and advantages of confronting Hield again with USA Today‘s Nicole Auerbach.
“He’s gotten a lot improved given then,” Booth said. “But it helps personification him. We got a feel for how his diversion is, how tough he plays, how most he’s relocating on a court. He’s nonstop, even when he doesn’t have a ball.
Booth’s right about Hield improving given December. The comparison ensure hasn’t suffered many off sharpened nights since, usually once tallying fewer than 15 points given a initial meeting. As remarkable by ESPN Stats Info, he’s falling his burst shots with lethal efficiency:
Buddy Hield: sharpened 50% on jumpers in a NCAA Tournament (21-for-42), a large reason for his success this season: pic.twitter.com/94s87zBBsV
— ESPN Stats Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 30, 2016
Hield will glow improved this time, yet so will Villanova. The fourth-best group in adjusted offense isn’t going 4-of-32 from behind a arc again. The Jayhawks finally derailed a impassioned offense, yet it wasn’t adequate due to gloomy invulnerability and accurate free-throw shooting.
No group looks as extreme on both sides as a Wildcats, who will overcome a tournament’s tip star by a common effort.
Prediction: Villanova 76, Oklahoma 73
North Carolina vs. Syracuse
This can’t keep happening, right? Can a No. 10 seed with 13 waste better another tip seed? Will Syracuse somehow win it all?
For Syracuse to lift off another upset, a 2-3 section invulnerability contingency stymie a nation’s most fit offense. The Tar Heels have posted 89.3 points per diversion this tournament, yet a Orange have halted their opponents to 55.8 points per bout.
Eastern Michigan manager Rob Murphy, who picked adult a section as Jim Boeheim’s partner manager for 9 years, described how it can discourage an offense to the Washington Post‘s Adam Kilgore:
Forty mins of personification opposite a section takes we out of a comfort zone. The section invulnerability army a offense to consistently consider each possession. Over a prolonged duration of time, it army we to overthink. One shot competence be there one possession, and it competence not be there for another 10 possessions. Consistently personification opposite it for 40 minutes, it wears on you. You might be scoring on it, and afterwards we go on a 10-to-1, possession run where we can’t, and it kind of messes we up.
Kilgore also identified resilient as a intensity ambuscade for Syracuse opposite North Carolina, that has grabbed a NCAA’s second-most descent rebounds this season. Syracuse, meanwhile, binds a minus-26 miscarry margin.
UNC brazen Brice Johnson could means a section to crumble. The comparison brazen has averaged 17.1 points per diversion on a 61.6 field-goal percentage. His glorious 33.1 actor potency rating, per Sports-Reference.com, rates aloft than anyone left in a Final Four. Due to Johnson’s effective sharpened and passing, Kilgore labeled him “precisely a kind of actor who can overcome” Syracuse’s defensive schemes.
Chuck Burton/Associated Press
UNC’s offense enters another stratosphere when comparison Marcus Paige catches fire. Unlike prior years, however, a large tour from a ensure isn’t a requirement.
“There is a large difference,” manager Roy Williams told ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan. “[In a past], if Marcus didn’t play well, we didn’t win.”
Syracuse might obscure a streaky shooter, yet Johnson will negate any struggles and concrete a championship bid. Don’t feel bad, Syracuse fans. This author also likely waste to Dayton, Gonzaga and Virginia.
Prediction: North Carolina 82, Syracuse 74
Advanced stats pleasantness of KenPom.com unless differently noted.
Check out Bleacher Report’s live updating bracket to track your picks along the road to the Final Four.