The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Saturday June 15th

The Signal’s Sports Staff’s Final Four predictions

Photo courtesy of Mabry Cambpell/Flickr.
Photo courtesy of Mabry Cambpell/Flickr.

By Eddie Young, Aidan Mastandrea, Joey Bachich and Zach Jacovini
Sports Editor and Staff Writers

Eddie’s Prediction

SDSU vs. FAU

Five seed San Diego State and nine seed Florida Atlantic have both made amazing runs to the Final Four. Not a lot of people predicted either of these teams to make it this far in the tournament (I had them both losing in the first round). These two teams from mid major conferences will look to make waves in the mid major world by making it to the final. SDSU has been one of the best defensive teams all season, and they have proved it in this tournament. However, their offense is good, but not great, and could be seen as a weakness in the Final Four. FAU has just won all season, with their current record being 35-3. They were only a nine seed due to questions about the talent of the teams they played against. They won Conference USA this year, but they were the only team from the conference to make the NCAA tournament, with the majority of people thinking the conference was weak. However, North Texas, the team that finished third in C-USA, just beat UAB, the team that finished second in C-USA, in the NIT (the tournament for the best teams that do not make the NCAA tournament) on Thursday night. Also, Charlotte, C-USA’s fifth place finisher, won the CIT, the tournament one level below the NIT. Conference USA has been proving this March that they have been underrated all season, and FAU will continue to prove that on Saturday. They will defeat the experienced San Diego State team in a close game, 65-62. 

UConn vs. Miami

Four seed UConn and five seed Miami have also made great runs to the Final Four. UConn enters the weekend as the favorite to win it all, and they have looked great all tournament. They have not lost to a team outside of their conference, the Big East, all season and have been destroying their competition in this tournament. Miami has been a bit overlooked all season. They won the regular season title in the ACC, but lost to Duke in the semifinal of their conference tournament. They have won a lot of close games and made a few comebacks to make it to the Final Four. However, this matchup is going to come down to the coaching. New Jersey native Danny Hurley is coaching in his first Final Four for UConn, and the old and experienced Jim Larrañaga is coaching in his second, and his first with Miami. Also, I am a firm believer in the fact that you can no longer have a crazy head coach and win the tournament. While Danny Hurley may be a great coach that has led his team far, he is the last crazy coach in this tournament, and that may be his team’s downfall. Larrañaga always stays calm in big moments, and I believe, with the help of his experience, he will out-coach Hurley, and Miami will win a close game, 77-76.

The Final

A Miami against Florida Atlantic final would make for a very fun night in southern Florida. The two schools are only about 50 miles and an hour and a half away from one another. Florida Atlantic would be looking to cap off their miraculous run with a championship and become the lowest seed to ever win March Madness. However, Miami will come in with more experience in big games, having made the Elite Eight last year, and a much more experienced head coach. Led by New Jersey native Isaiah Wong, Miami will get out to a lead early and not let up the entire game, pulling away to earn a fairly easy victory, winning 78-65.

Most Outstanding Player: Isaiah Wong, senior Miami guard

Aidan’s Prediction

San Diego State vs Florida Atlantic

The run for the team from Boca Raton, Florida will come to an end on Saturday night. The San Diego State defense is stifling, and after going through Alabama, they are battle tested and will take down FAU.

UConn vs Miami

This will be the best game of the Final Four. UConn has been dominant the entire tournament, and Miami has been quite the opposite. Coming from behind to beat Drake and Texas, the Jim Larrañega led Hurricanes know how to win close games. That being said, I believe the Huskies will win a high scoring close game, 84-79.

The Final

Once UConn gets by Miami, I believe they will beat San Diego State in dominant fashion. SDSU had a miracle run, but their lack of offense will haunt them against the high powered Huskies team. This will be a fairly boring championship game with UConn winning 76-62.

Most Outstanding Player: Jordan Hawkins, sophomore UConn guard

Joey’s Prediction 

FAU vs San Diego State — FAU

Miami vs UConn — Miami 

Tournament Winner — FAU 

This has been an absolutely crazy year for March Madness, so why not pick the lowest seed to win it all? Watching FAU play live was a turning point for my pick, and I don’t see a team that is as mentally tough as they are. The public is in love with UConn, so therefore they will lose against Miami. A mix of their guard play and team defense will just edge them out over the next two games. 

Most Outstanding Player: Johnell Davis, sophomore FAU guard

Zach’s Predictions

FAU over San Diego State, 77-74

In the first matchup of the two Saturday-slated games, expect FAU to upset San Diego State. FAU is battle tested and has beat talented teams, such as Kansas State on their road to the Final Four, and continued high level play should be expected of them. 

Miami over Uconn, 65-63

In the matchup between the Hurricanes and Huskies, the pick is the Hurricanes to win outright, and the Huskies, who many have deemed the team to beat out of the four teams left in the final four, will fall just short of a championship appearance.

Miami over FAU, 63-56

In a game that features two teams most could not imagine making the championship game, the Hurricanes will end FAU’s Cinderella run, winning a game that is not nearly as close as the score projects.

Most Outstanding Player: Markquis Nowell, senior Kansas State guard





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