Here it is, as we are halfway there through my predictions, my current Final Four includes Villanova and Michigan State. Today, as you read on, you will find out the 3rd finalist in my Final Four. Here in the South region, our top 4 seeds are Virginia, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Arizona. Something to take note of is the fact that these top 3 seeds are 1,2,3 in terms of the best defenses in college baketball. Will they make the Elite 8 in my predictions? Find out as you read on!
Be sure to follow the blog on Twitter @ufblogg_lijoi and Facebook at: Ultimatefanaticsblog. Tomorrow I’ll predict the West region and predict who will win the National Championship game. Now lets dive into the South:
1. Virginia vs 16 UMBC
Knowing Virginia and their suffocating defense and the fact that there is probably a reason no one even knows where UMBC is I think that along gets Virginia through. This is a TNT game that you don’t wanna see.
8. Creighton vs 9 Kansas State
Now this game should be damn good. Kansas State is trying to overcome several injuries and Creighton suffered an injury with to one of their better players and still beat Villanova. You be the judge here. I think the offense of Creighton should be strong enough in this one.
5. Kentucky vs 12 Davidson
Kentucky is great at guarding the paint so if you’re playing them, you better pray for a great shooting night. Davidson is really good at shooting the 3 and their offense in general is very effective. Honestly, I’m putting Kentucky on upset alert. Davidson shocks the world and takes care of business here.
4. Arizona vs 13 Buffalo
The Buffalo Bulls are on a hot streak coming into this game but I don’t think they have enough offense to beat a high powered offensive squad. I say Buffalo gives them a good scare but the Wildcats will dominate the paint and secure the win.
6. Miami vs 11 Loyola-Chicago
Miami is one of the teams that have a key injury in Bruce Brown Jr and in order to beat this Loyola team they have to fight through adversity. I mentioned that teams with a key injury scare me and let’s not take away from the fact that Loyola is pretty good. They have a very strong defense and 4 players that average double figures so this is an upset pick that I’m extremely confident in. So go Ramblers!
3. Tennessee vs 14 Wright State
There is a good chance that Tennessee will go far in this tournament since they have at least 7 players in their rotation that are committed to the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders of Wright State aren’t known for their offense so this one should be a freebie for the Volunteers.
7. Nevada vs 10 Texas
I know I shouldn’t underestimate Shaka Smart from his VCU days but I’m taking Nevada here. Their defense is awful but the question remains if they will produce enough offense to beat a strong defensive team. I would give Texas the advantage, if they were a good shooting team but they aren’t. Should be exciting but I take the flip-flopping Nevada squad by no more than 5 points.
2. Cincinnati vs 15 Georgia State
Georgia State is a good team but the defense of the Bearcats will suck the life out of them and this will be another freebie I take the Bearcats.
Round of 32:
1 Virginia vs 8. Creighton
Virginia will be tested here as it’s extreme offense vs extreme defense. There will be a point in this game where the Blue Jays will take a lead but I say Virginia figures them out midway and shuts them down. Virginia will be tested like they have been throughout the season but they will prevail and move onto the Sweet 16.
4. Arizona vs 12 Davidson
Davidson will try to run the game at their pace and drill 3s at will. It comes down to Arizona guarding the perimeter in order to win the game. Arizona will own the paint and make the difference late so I pick the Wildcats in the Sweet 16.
3. Tennessee vs 11 Loyola-Chicago
Incredible defense vs incredible defense it should be a low scoring game that Tennessee should win. I think Tennessee wins by a game winning block as they squeak away with a victory over a hungry Ramblers side
2. Cincinnati vs 7 Nevada
I think Nevada doesn’t stand a chance vs Cincinnati. Their imbalance in terms of offense and defense will prove to be fatal as the Bearcats should take care of business.
1. Virginia vs 4. Arizona
Can Arizona’s defense back their ferocious offense? Can Virginia’s defense stop Arizona’s offense. This is where the region gets exciting as Virginia needs to at least limit Deandre Ayton in order to move onto the Elite 8. I don’t see this Arizona team beating Virginia, as dominant as they’ve been. As much as ESPN will hype up Arizona’s offense to make the Final Four, defense wins championships. Even in a game that is mainly about offense. Either way I see the Cavaliers winning by more than 7 here.
3. Tennessee vs 2. Cincinnati
For a defensive buff like me, this matchup is a dream come true. It will be low scoring, it will be tight, there will be plenty of lead changes and it will come down to one stunning defensive play. Which team will make that play and squeak away with the win? For me, it’s the Volunteers. I say Tennessee squeaks by, just barely.
1. Virginia vs 3 Tennessee
The winner of this game is the team who commits the least amount of turnovers. Virginia limits their turnovers better than Tennessee can and their offense is just slightly better. Don’t forget to mention that Tennessee has been severely battle tested from a very strong Cincinnati team. Factor that in with the dominance of Virginia and the Cavaliers are my 3rd team in the Final Four. Who’s in your Final Four? Let me know in the comments down below!