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March Madness Bracketology: Early Final Four Picks & Predictions
The NCAA Tournament is finally here, which means that it is time for basketball fans to put their brackets to the test. While getting the early round games right is important, bracket pools are typically won by getting the Final Four and national championship game right.
Here, you will find picks for each region, along with predictions for the Final Four and national championship as the 2022 NCAA Tournament tips off.
West Region: Gonzaga Bulldogs
In the West Region, the number one overall seed should be able to take care of business and get to the Final Four. Gonzaga is the most well-rounded team in the country right now, as they have two quality bigs to go with their devastating guard play.
Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren are simply too hard to guard for most teams, and the Bulldogs should be able to get revenge on Duke if they meet in the Elite Eight to get to the Final Four.
East Region: Kentucky Wildcats
The East Region is going to be very competitive, as defending national champions Baylor are joined by a Final Four team from last year in UCLA, along with Kentucky, Purdue, and other elite teams. Baylor is not quite as good as it was during last year’s championship season, and Kentucky should be able to take advantage to get to the Final Four.
The dominant paint play of Oscar Tshiebwe will be the difference-maker for the Wildcats, as he has averaged around 15 rebounds per game on the season.
South Region: Arizona Wildcats
With Gonzaga being the top overall seed and headlining the West Region, Arizona was pushed into the South Region as its top seed. Even with the inconvenient geography involved, Arizona should be able to advance to the Final Four as a one-seed in a region that also includes Villanova and a highly-touted Tennessee squad.
They have top-tier paint protection led by Christian Koloko, and Kerr Kriisa’s anticipated return from injury will give the Wildcats the shooting they need to make it to New Orleans.
Midwest Region: Auburn Tigers
The Midwest Region should be a three-team race between Kansas, Auburn, and Wisconsin, all of whom have had stellar seasons. But this region should be won by Auburn, who are led by one of the best players in college basketball in Jabari Smith.
Bruce Pearl has brought this program to the Final Four before, and the betting odds suggest that he has just as good a chance to do it again as Bill Self does with the Kansas Jayhawks.
Final Four Predictions
In a Final Four between Gonzaga, Kentucky, Arizona, and Auburn, the matchups would be electric on both halves of the bracket. Between Gonzaga and Kentucky, the big man battle would be interesting, but the dual-threat of Chet Holmgren would make the difference to send the Bulldogs to their second straight final.
Arizona would likely beat Auburn in the second semifinal, setting up a Gonzaga vs. Arizona dream matchup that the Bulldogs would win.
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