The results of the tournament’s selections, on Sunday March 15th, will give us the seeds for this year’s edition of the March College Basketball Tournament. Cue sports betting fans across the world selecting their bracket pools, from the First Round to the Final. It’s a near impossible task. In fact, no one has ever predicted the entire tournament, successfully. This is no surprise, considering it involves 63 games (if you exclude the First Four games). You also have to factor in near guaranteed upsets.
Outside of the bracket pools, most people want to predict the last four teams. Narrowing the list of 68 college basketball teams to the last four teams is no easy task. You need to consider form, who each team has lost to, who the in-form players are, and what their journey could look like. Add a bit of madness, and you’ll be placing a wager in no time.
It may be tempting to pick all four No. 1 seeds. The structure of the national association tournament gives them the best chances of progressing to the last four teams, by plotting their path, via the lowest seeded teams. Of course, by the time that they reach the last sixteen teams, they could have come up against a No. 4 seed team, and in the last eight teams they could meet a No. 2 seed team. Factor in upsets and you can see why it’s still a difficult path for the No. 1 seeds.
The last four teams round predictions can be difficult to make. By considering some of the historical data, for the national association tournament, you might start to find a bit of method in the madness. In this article, we’ll reveal our March College Basketball Tournament picks for the last four teams and motivate why we think they’ll get there.
Before diving in, it’s important to understand some of the statistics at play when it comes to the last four teams.
How do the top seeds do in the March College Basketball Tournament?
Throughout the tournament’s history, all four No. 1 seeds have only made the last four teams round once. This happened in 2008 when Kansas, North Carolina, Memphis and UCLA were the No. 1 seeds and last four teams. This stat alone should make you wonder which of the No. 1 seeds you think could make it and which won’t.
It could also be the case that none of the No. 1 seeds make the last four teams. This has happened three times, in 1980, 2006, and 2011.
It hasn’t been the norm, but there have been seasons when all four No. 1 seeds or none at all make the last four teams. Looking back on the last 35 tournaments, it’s clear that the norm is that either one or two No. 1 seeds are in the last four teams round. There have been 15 tournaments with one No. 1 seed in the last four teams, 13 with two No. 1 seeds, and only four tournaments with three No. 1 seeds in the last four teams. Considering the stats, it might be best to pick, at most, two of the No. 1 seeds.
The results of the selections taking place, on the allocated Sunday, will ultimately influence the brackets. Especially, if you look to include only one or two of the top seeds. That being said, there have been college basketball teams who look on course to make the last four teams, no matter their seed.
Here are our last four teams round predictions for 2020:
Kansas has arguably been the best team in the national association this season. They have had a shroud of controversy over recruitment allegations, but have maintained excellent form on the court. They’ve hardly put a foot wrong - their three losses have come against strong opposition to Duke, Villanova and Baylor.
Kansas looks like a certainty for a No. 1 seed. Last season, they were knocked out in the Second Round. But this season, it’s difficult to see who could knock them off course, en route to the last four teams round.
Kansas’ star players this season have been Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike and Marcus Garrett. Devon Dotson has been the top points scorer, averaging 18 points per game. Azubuike is strong in offense and defense. He is averaging 13 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks per game. Garret has been the main provider, averaging 5 assists per game.
If Kansas can keep their focus and not be distracted by the recruitment investigation, it could be a championship season for them. They are likely to have the lowest March College Basketball Tournament odds to go all the way.
Kentucky have looked excellent this season and many might be assuming that they will be a No. 1 seed. The truth is that the losses to Utah and Evansville have stained their season and they will likely be selected as a No. 2 seed. For sports betting fans, those losses will also add nerves for potential upsets on route. Kentucky seems to have ironed out these early season hiccups and have powered into the March College Basketball Tournament.
Kentucky made it as far as the last eight teams last year. They should have decent odds to go a round further in 2020. To do so, they will need their in-form players to maintain the standards they’ve set, after the Utah defeat.
Kentucky’s top performers this season have been Immanuel Quickley, Tyrese Maxey, Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans. Quickley and Maxey have led the points, averaging 16 and 14 points per game, respectively. Richards has been immense this season with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks, along with a respectable 14 points per game. Hagans has led the assists with 6 per game.
Kentucky will be one of the more popular March College Basketball Tournament picks this season. For sports betting fans, who don’t want to include more than one No. 1 seed, they are the perfect pick.
Dayton have dominated the Atlantic 10 this season and have only stumbled against Colorado and Kansas. They have had some strong results, but will likely miss out on a No. 1 seed to San Diego State.
Despite San Diego being unbeaten for most of the season, it might be that they’ve peaked too early. It’s also uncertain how their form will translate in the knockout rounds, especially after their defeat to UNLV. Dayton, on the other hand, is looking strong and stable. They are currently on an 18 game winning streak. For this reason, we think that Dayton will emerge, from the East, into the last four teams.
Dayton has relied largely on the performances of Obi Toppin, Jalen Crutcher and Trey Landers. Toppin has been prolific, averaging 20 points, along with 8 rebounds per game. Crutcher has averaged 15 points and 5 assists per game. This season could see Dayton being one of the surprise March College Basketball Tournament teams.
It is tempting to pull another No. 1 seed in this spot. Gonzaga and Baylor look to be No. 1 seeds and they could both certainly be in the last four teams round. This is a knockout though, and the stats don’t lie. In most occasions, only one No. 1 seed makes the last four teams, and this season we think it will stick to trend. We feel that Maryland might sneak in this season.
Maryland has been strong in a tough Big Ten conference. They have lost more than the other last four teams in this prediction, but they have the air of a dark horse, and in a knockout competition, these sorts of teams can be the most dangerous.
Last season, they didn’t progress as far as they’d hoped. Michigan State represented the Big Ten in the last four teams in 2019. The two teams have been tit-for-tat this season, with both teams earning a victory. Maryland has been more consistent and will top the conference.
The performances from Anthony Cowan and Jalen Smith have helped to put Maryland in contention. Cowan has averaged 16 points and 5 assists per game. Smith has averaged a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. With support from players like Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins, Maryland could force through big upsets this year.
Making your picks
March is a great month for basketball fans. Once the seeds are revealed after selections are made on the allocated Sunday, we’ll fill our brackets. These predictions are made with head and heart. Reflecting on the March College Basketball Tournament odds will also help to understand who the potential big winners could be. Sports betting sites do their own research, as well, so it can often be a good indication of how likely a team will progress.
That being said, it’s not associated with the word “madness” for nothing. This season especially has been far from predictable. Could UCLA continue their form into the knockout phases? Do San Diego have the big match temperament to grind out high-pressure knockout games?
While the answers to these questions will only be revealed on the court, reflecting on stats will help to inform your March College Basketball Tournament picks, and your own last four teams round predictions.