The field of 68 teams in the NCAA tournament has been narrowed down to just four teams who will compete in Minneapolis for the 2019 national title. Virginia is the only 1 seed and will look to complete full redemption after losing to a 16 seed last year. Michigan State is seeking it’s first title since 2000 and will look to establish the Big 10 at the top of college basketball again. Texas Tech and Auburn are both making their Final Four debuts and hope to play spoiler. Here are my previews and predictions for this year’s Final Four.
Saturday, April 6th 6:09 PM: #5 Auburn vs #1 Virginia (-6)
Two teams with a clash of playing styles will face off in the first game on Saturday. Virginia is known for their defense and grind it out style of play, while Auburn relies on hot three point shooting and an explosive offense. For Virginia, their key players include sharpshooting guard Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and Deandre Hunter, who is probably their most important player. Deandre Hunter missed last year’s tournament loss against 16th seeded UMBC. The Cavaliers barely survived against Purdue in the Elite 8 to reach this stage, but are now the favorites to win it all. Auburn has had impressive run by defeating big name schools such as Kansas, UNC, and Kentucky to reach the Final Four. However, their best player Chuma Okeke tore his ACL against UNC and is out for the tournament. Virginia has an elite defense defending the three pointer, and I think that will make the difference as they frustrate Auburn’s offense. Virginia wins and advances to the title game.
Saturday, April 6th 8:49 PM: #3 Texas Tech vs #2 Michigan State (-2)
After an epic takedown of Zion Williamson and #1 overall seed Duke, Michigan State will face another tough challenge against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have had an impressive run through the tournament, blowing out Buffalo and Michigan before taking down #1 Gonzaga. This matchup will feature two of the best defenses in the country going at it. The Spartans will need a huge effort from junior guard Cassius Winston, who averaged 19 PPG during the season and put up 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Duke. On the other end, Texas Tech will turn to lottery pick Jarrett Culver, who is averaging 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists this year. I think this will be a close defensive battle, but ultimately Texas Tech is playing too well right now to be stopped. Texas Tech wins to advance to title game.
CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTION: VIRGINIA OVER TEXAS TECH
Let me know your predictions in the comments below.