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3 predictions for the Final Four

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3 predictions for the Final Four

The Final Four will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Final Four will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

NCAA.com

The Final Four will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

NCAA.com

NCAA.com

The Final Four will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Brandon Kruse and Tyler Kleine

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The scene is set at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota for this weekend’s Final Four action. The teams represent four different conferences in the Final Four. No. 5 seed Auburn from the SEC will duel with No. 1 seed Virginia from the ACC at 4:09 PM MST today, followed by the matchup between the No. 3 seed Texas Tech from the Big 12 and No. 2 seed Michigan State from the Big Ten at 6:49 PM MST. As is necessary, Tyler Kleine and I will give our predictions for the Final Four, as well as the championship game which will be played on Monday.

Big 12 proves supreme over the Big Ten

Texas Tech cruised past their first Big Ten opponent, Michigan, in the Sweet 16, limiting the Wolverines to just 32.7% from the field and beating the Wolverines by 19 points. Now, Texas Tech’s number one defense in the country will face the best offense in the Big Ten. Michigan State, during the regular season, ranked first in all the major offensive categories in the Big Ten, including scoring (79.2 PPG), field goal percentage (48.8%), three-point percentage (38.3%), assists (19.1 APG), and free-throw percentage (75.0%). With those stats, they would be a good bet to win it all.

However, the Spartans will face the best defense in the country. Texas Tech allows a mere 59.0 points per game. In the Sweet 16, Michigan could only score 44 points against Chris Beard’s Red Raiders squad. They identify screens, play great man-to-man defense, and rarely allow wide open shots. In addition, Texas Tech is a pretty good offensive team. The Red Raiders shoot 36.8% from behind the arc and 47.2% from the field, both of which were second in the Big 12. Similarly, the Red Raiders shoot 72.8% from the free-throw line, which includes Texas Tech guard Davide Moretti’s 92.2% from the charity stripe. Because of Texas Tech’s defense and ability to score on the other end, Texas Tech bests Michigan State in the last Final Four matchup.

Auburn rides momentum into the National Championship

Despite the injury to upcoming star Chuma Okeke, the Tigers have shown no signs of slowing down on their way to the Final Four. Jared Harper and Bryce Brown have improved their already spectacular play, as well as role players like Anfernee McLemore and Malik Dunbar have stepped up their game at the right time with Okeke being out. Despite the near upset against New Mexico State in the first round, Auburn quickly found their groove and cruised passed Kansas while also beating powerhouse teams like North Carolina. Auburn shot an absurd 52.5% from the field against the Jayhawks. As well Kansas racked up 16 turnovers. When the Tigers get out in transition they are one of the most dangerous teams in the country. Auburn has also been a threat from deep averaging 37.8% on the season. The Tigers will look to win their 13th consecutive game against Virginia.

This year’s outcome for Virginia is much better than their fate from last year’s tournament after being knocked out in the first round. Despite the scare in the first round, the Cavaliers have been cruising through the tournament. The Cavaliers defeated Gardner- Webb, Oklahoma, and Oregon to reach the Elite 8, where they met Big Ten powerhouse Purdue and star Carsen Edwards. Fortunately, for Virginia, they were able to beat Purdue and Carsen Edwards’ outrageous 42 points. Stellar guard play by Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy will be fun to watch matched up against the talented Auburn backcourt.

No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 3 Texas Tech – Who will cut down the nets?

Auburn has been quite the story these past few weeks. They survived a near upset to New Mexico State in the first round, destroyed two powerhouse programs in Kansas and North Carolina, and defeated conference foe Kentucky. And, after being shadowed by Kentucky and Tennessee in the regular season, Auburn is the lone SEC representative in Minneapolis. Auburn’s quest for the national championship will continue today when they upset No. 1 seed Virginia. Unfortunately, Auburn’s star power will end Monday when they meet Texas Tech. Led by star player Jarrett Culver, the Red Raiders will effectively lock down the perimeter and force Auburn to make difficult shots to secure its first-ever NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball championship title.

March Madness 2019 has been quite entertaining (as it always is). From Purdue’s Carsen Edwards scoring 128 total points in the first four rounds (breaking Steph Curry’s record set back in 2008) to Duke’s luck finally ending in the Elite Eight when they lost to Michigan State by one, the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been one to remember, and the champion hasn’t even been crowned yet.

About the Writers
Brandon Kruse, Sports Writer

Brandon Kruse, a senior, is in his first year of Journalism. He had spent the previous two years being a member of Fossil’s T.V. program pursuing an...

Tyler Kleine, Sports Writer

Tyler is a senior at Fossil Ridge, in his first year of journalism. He was previously part of the Ridge TV program here, but decided to focus on his sports...

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3 predictions for the Final Four