We admit it. We’re as flabbergasted as everyone else by this men’s Final Four grouping. Oh come on, so are you.
Sure, some veteran bracket pickers might have taken a chance on Connecticut or Miami (Florida) getting here. There might have even been a few who took a flyer on San Diego State. But for the most part, March Madness has lived up to its moniker, defying predictability at every turn.
Making any bold pronouncements about the events to come would naturally be a fool’s errand, but hey, we’re just the fools to give it a try.
In truth, we can’t really place a high probability on any of these scenarios actually coming to pass. But let’s have some fun anyway. Here are five bold predictions for the Final Four.
A first-time champion will be crowned.
This one, too, might not seem so bold on its face. Three quarters of the field are Final Four newbies, after all. But UConn has to be considered the odds-on favorite of the group. Not only are the Huskies the highest remaining seed – not that that has meant much throughout the rest of the tournament – but they’ve also been dominating this postseason like none of the other semifinalists. Even so, expecting events to go according to script now seems unwise.
The Most Outstanding Player award winner will be a non-starter
It’s happened before – think Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo – and every team that’s playing in Houston has a fairly deep rotation. UConn’s Donovan Clingan or San Diego State’s Jaedon LeDee are two of the top candidates. Florida Atlantic's Michael Forrest, who averages 8.4 points per game, is another possibility.
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The San Diego State-Florida Atlantic winner will score at least 75 points
Now this one is bold, given that both teams rely strongly on defense. Florida Atlantic has allowed 66.5 points per game in its four tournament wins with the highest total being 76 scored by Kansas State. San Diego State's average this postseason is even lower at 57.3 points per game and the biggest number was 64 by Alabama. Still, we expect this will have a better chance of coming to pass if overtime is required – and it just might be.
At least one head coach will pick up a technical
If you force us to be more specific, we’d go with Connecticut’s Dan Hurley as the most likely candidate. Florida Atlantic's Dusty May is a former Bob Knight student but doesn’t project that kind of demeanor on the bench. San Diego State's Brian Dutcher is a laid-back Midwesterner don't cha know. Miami's Jim Larrañaga is also usually pretty chill and he's been to the Final Four before.
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One flop will be called during the weekend
Supposedly a point of emphasis by officials this year, the rule to discourage foul embellishment has been largely ignored during March Madness. But some member of the crew might get a gentle reminder that this is still a topic of interest. Should it come at a critical point of the game or involve a potential damaging foul against a significant player then it surely will highlight this rule put in for this season.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Final Four bold predictions ahead of men's NCAA Tournament semifinals