Final Four
Florida Atlantic head coach Dusty May watches practice for their Final Four college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 31, 2023, in Houston. San Diego State and Florida Atlantic play on Saturday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Men’s Final Four Preview

After a whirlwind of a men’s college basketball season, the Final Four is finally upon us. This year’s tournament is making history by being the first time that the Final Four does not feature a top-3 seed.

The highest seed still standing is the No. 4 University of Connecticut Huskies, followed by No. 5 seeds Miami Hurricanes and San Diego State Aztecs. The No. 9 seeded Florida Atlantic Owls round out the remaining teams.

The first matchup is between FAU and San Diego State. Miami will face UConn at the conclusion of the FAU/San Diego St. matchup.

Canes Still Dancin’

The Hurricanes had arguably the toughest road to the final four out of the teams still standing. Up to this point, Miami has faced the highest possible seed in each of their games. Other than their first round matchup, Miami has been predicted to lose every game of the tournament.

After beating Drake in the round of 64, Miami made light work of No .4 seed Indiana, defeating them by 16 points. Picking up right where they left off, the Canes took down No. 1 seed Houston 89-75. Miami’s offense was on full display in that one, as that game was the first time all season that a team scored 80+ against Houston.

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Miami then faced Texas in their Elite Eight matchup. After trailing by 13 points in the second half, the Canes stormed back to beat Texas 88-81. With that win, Miami reached its first Final Four in program history.

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Huskies Experience Matters

The Huskies are the only team left in the field that has won an NCAA Tournament. In fact, they’re the only program left that has ever even been to the Final Four.

UConn’s road to the Final Four has been dominant to say the least. They have won each of their first four games in the tournament by an average of 22.5 points. Junior forward Adama Sanogo has been the Huskies offensive leader in the tournament, scoring in double digits in every game of the tourney so far.

California Dreamin’

With San Diego State’s 57-56 win over Creighton, the Aztecs were able to reach their first ever Final Four. This also marks the first time a team from the Mountain West conference has advanced to the Final Four.

A big key to the Aztecs success so far in this tournament has been their defense in close games. Other than their round of 32 game against Furman, each of the Aztecs wins have been by single digits. San Diego St. has held its opponents to under 65 points in each game of the tournament so far.

One of the most surprising moments of the tournament was when San Diego St. knocked off the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama was the No. 1 team in all of college basketball heading into the tournament.

If the Slipper Fits

The Florida Atlantic Owls have without a doubt been the Cinderella story of the tournament so far this year. Before entering the tournament this season, the Owls had never won an NCAA tournament game, let alone advance to the Final Four.

Now FAU is the first No. 9 seed to advance to the Final Four since 2013. They are also just two victories away from being the lowest seed to ever win the NCAA tournament.

FAU’s leader in the tournament so far has been sophomore guard Johnell Davis. He has scored in double digits in each game of the tournament so far, including a monster 29 point, 12 assist performance in the round of 32 against Fairleigh Dickinson.

FAU and San Diego St. tip-off Saturday at 6:09 p.m. from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Miami and UConn are expected to tip-off at 8:49 p.m. Saturday.

About Jamie Goldman

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