While choosing who can win some of the first round games is hard enough, picking the wrong team to make the Final Four can ruin your bracket. There are so many good teams every year who don’t end up making it to the final weekend of college basketball. With it being so tough to pick who will get there, this article should help pick the team from each region with the highest chances of reaching the Final Four.
South Regional: Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia and Kentucky are one of two teams in the region that rank in the top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Being ranked within those parameters, is a good indication of success in the 21st century, as all but one champion since 2002 were able to hit those marks.
The Cavaliers are really good defensively at 53.4 points allowed per game. The most points they have given up in a game this season is 68, which came on the road at West Virginia. Defense always travels, so even if they have a poor shooting game, the defense should be able to keep them competitive.
Stacking them up against everyone else in their region, Virginia is clearly the best and most battle-tested team. The two seed,Cincinnati, has some big wins over Wichita State and Houston, but were unable to beat good teams throughout the season. Tennessee, the three seed, is vastly undersized, which will make it easier for teams to match up with them. The four and five seeds in the region are Kentucky and Arizona, have potential, but are inconsistent.
Virginia has the best odds to win the whole tournament from the region at 5/1 odds. The next likely team from the region to win it all is Arizona at 12/1 odds, but they were only able to win a down Pac-12 by two games. They will be without sixth man De’Andre Hunter, but the Cavaliers should be able to cope without him.
East Regional: Villanova Wildcats
Villanova is the number one seed and the most likely to advance out of the East. They had only four losses all season, which all came in conference play, and finished with 29 wins. While they fell short of winning the Big East in the regular season, they were able to win the Big East Tournament.
The Wildcats have the best offense in the country that scores 87.1 points per game. They are fueled by future NBA players Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. Brunson is a point guard who can score, set up his teammates for easy shots and protect the basketball. Bridges is a mismatch for a lot of teams as a solid wing player that can shoot and drive.
Purdue will be a tough test as a two seed, but they have lost the last three games they have played against teams who made the tournament. The three seed, Texas Tech has not been able to beat a ranked team in over a month, when they beat a reeling Oklahoma team on February 13. Wichita State and West Virginia, the four and five seed in the region, but Wichita State hasn’t played the toughest competition this season and West Virginia hasn’t won four straight games (the number necessary to make the Final Four), since non-conference play.
Villanova is tied for the best odds to win the tournament with Virginia at 5/1. Purdue is the next likely from the region at 15/1 odds. They are a trendy pick to make the Final Four, but Villanova has the best chances to reach San Antonio.
Midwest Regional: Duke Blue Devils
Duke is just a two seed, but is the team most likely to come out of the Midwest. The Blue Devils finished the season at 26-7, but had a young team that had to take time to gel together. While they won neither the ACC regular season championship or the ACC Tournament, they have one of the most talented teams in the whole bracket.
The defense of Duke was criticized for most of the season, but Coach K then made the switch to go to a 2-3 zone, which has worked wonders for the Blue Devils. They are now one of the top ten most efficient defenses in the country. Their offense has never been in doubt, as they score 84.7 points per game and average the ninth most assists in the country at 17.5 per game. With Marvin Bagley III and Grayson Allen, along with a few other players who produce at a high rate, Duke has enough talent to win the whole thing.
Kansas is a solid number one seed, but they are very thin and have relied on point guard Devonte’ Graham all season. If he gets in foul trouble or injured, they are in some real trouble. Michigan State is a real threat, but Duke already beat the Spartans earlier in the year. Auburn and Clemson are both teams that are trying to overcome the loss of players, whether for injuries or the FBI investigation.
Duke has the third best odds to win the tournament at 6/1. Michigan State isn’t too far off in the region at 8/1. Duke has better odds by most sportsbooks, but Michigan State has a more experienced team. If you believe that Michigan State has a better chance at winning and want to get good value out of your wager, but don’t know where to start, take a look at Bovada sportsbook review. All the reputable reviews and user experiences will dampen any confusion that you may have.
West Regional: Michigan Wolverines
Michigan came in fourth in the Big Ten, but got hot and were able to win the Big Ten Tournament. They finished the season at 28-7 and were rewarded with a number three seed in the West. While they are a three, they actually have the best chance to make the Final Four.
Under John Beilein, the Wolverines have always had good offenses. This year though, Michigan has a great defense that ranks ninth in the country allowing 63.5 points per game. Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman is a senior leader and scores from the perimeter, while Moritz Wagner is a do-it-all center, who is hard to stop.
The other teams in the region have their weaknesses. Xavier and North Carolina don’t have the best defenses and Michigan could take advantage. While Gonzaga has a good offense and defense, they haven’t faced the same level of competition as the rest of the region.
The Wolverines have the best odds in the region to win it all at 8/1 odds. North Carolina has the next highest odds in the region to take home the trophy at 18/1, which makes this region as rare as they come.