NCAA Final Four Review


Marcus Villarroel '26, Writer


Here we are, The Final Four in what has been to date, the wildest tournament that I have watched in my lifetime. I first started following March Madness in the 2016 Tournament where North Carolina defeated Villanova on a last-second buzzer-beater by Kris Jenkins. From then on the tournament has gotten more exciting and I have had better memories from the games. Most of the teams that I like in the college sports landscape are football schools and do not fare well in the tournament as they invest most of their time and resources into football. I will usually bandwagon with a powerhouse as contrary to many, I do not like the underdog to win in sports. I grew up in the 2010’s Boston sports era, and that spoiled me as others can agree with me, we have not been the underdog much. Anyways, that’s too much ranting on my part, I just wanted to provide an introduction to my experience.



The 2023 tournament has been filled with the most upsets out of all of the ones that I have seen in my lifetime. No number 1 seeds were in the Elite 8 for the first time in the history of the tournament and that alone should give you enough context for the craziness of this tournament. Number 1 seeds are the best teams in the country and rarely get eliminated, much less before the Elite 8. For many teams getting to or winning the Elite 8 is a major accomplishment, as the Final Four sees many world-beaters appear on the stage and the smaller teams don’t usually fare well. In this case, the highest seed is 4-seeded UConn with the lowest being 9-seeded FL Atlantic, both teams have had difficult roads to the Final Four. The two teams between them, are 5th Seeded Miami FL, and 5th Seeded San Diego State. Every team in the Final Four has had a unique and crazy run to the Final Four and we will go over each one in this piece.



The 4th-seeded UConn Huskies have had the smoothest road to the tournament so far with their toughest game being a 15-point win versus St.Mary’s CA in the Second Round. Since then, they have not won a game by less than 20 points and thrashed Arkansas and Gonzaga. Although UConn has looked formidable in every facet of their game, they have yet to face a challenge like Miami FL. And while this is not a standard prediction, they are my pick to go all the way and challenge for the title. They will have a tough time defeating Miami FL but will prevail and head to the national championship.


Miami FL

The 5th-seeded Miami Hurricanes have had a tougher road than the aforementioned UConn Huskies. Their closest battle was an 88-81 victory over Texas in the Elite 8, Texas was very good and looked like a very tough out. But Miami shocked the nation by upsetting the 2 seeded Texas and sent them home. They also defeated Houston and Indiana (both as underdogs) on their way to the Final Four. They face a strong UConn team that is capable of beating anyone at the tournament. The Hurricanes will put up a big fight in the Final Four, but their run will end at the hands of UConn


FL Atlantic

The 9th-seeded Florida Atlantic owls are the underdog of the tournament and the highest seed in the Final Four playing spoiler to whichever team happens to face them. The Owls have slayed Memphis, FDU, Tennesse, and Kansas State. The entire tournament they have not had an “easy” game and this one they have will be the hardest they will play. Their most notable victory was in the Elite 8 against Kansas State, by just three points. They find themselves in the Final Four against San Diego State. And they aren’t even the lowest seed that FL Atlantic has faced. I’ll take San Diego State, as they seem more prepared and ready for the challenge. In a close game, FL Atlantic falls to San Diego State.


San Diego State

The 5th-seeded San Diego State Aztecs are another 5 seed looking to punch their ticket to the National Championship. They play 9-seeded Florida Atlantic, who on paper look like the worst team in the Final Four but they are not to be underestimated. San Diego State beat Alabama and Creighton, those were their most notable victories. They also beat Furman and Charleston both impressive victories. Furman beat Virginia a number one seed and Creighton was looking very hot before facing San Diego State. San Diego State looks to be the favorite in this matchup and I believe will not disappoint. I’m taking San Diego State over FL Atlantic in a crazy game that goes down to the wire.



This March Madness for me has been dull, but as I mentioned before in this piece, I like to see blue blood in the Final Four and believe that it should always work out the way that the seeding does. The regular season matters for me, and it gets called into question when a team has a hot two weeks and all of a sudden you see them going to the Final Four, or even winning it all. The top seeds have the most pressure, but usually, they prevail because they were meant to be there. All I am saying is that March Madness this year has been underwhelming, as I have seen teams that were fun to watch and dominated the regular season go out because a smaller team had a good night shooting the basketball. I am all in for crazy games, but even in those games, I would prefer if they were teams that were fun to watch with high-level prospects. Many may not share the same opinion as me but it is true, March Madness is better without the upsets determining the entire tournament.