Michigan State: A Michigan State National Championship is long overdue. The Spartans won back in 2000 in Tom Izzo’s fourth season and have since made the NCAA Tournament 19 times. It’s about time Izzo brings home another championship. On the flip side, however, that may be the reason the Spartans do not win it all this year, as they have had five Final Four appearances since and only made the championship once since 2000, falling in 2009 to North Carolina. Five Final Fours since 2000 make the Trojans one of the most dangerous teams in the country, but a 1-4 record in those games does not exactly serve as a bid of confidence.
Virginia: This is Virginia’s revenge tour. The team, coach and fan base spent the entirety of the offseason as the laughing-stock of the league after the team’s surprise upset at the hands of UMBC last season and have come to collect their revenge. The Cavaliers have not faced an extremely hard schedule up to this point, but it is apparent their slow style of play is too much for most teams to handle. As long as the defense holds onto the lead, their offense will wear defenses and clocks out, and the college basketball world will have to deal with the laughing-stock of 2018 emerging as the champions of 2019.
Texas Tech: Unlike the other teams in the Final Four, Tech is relatively unknown this late into the season. Every other team has been here before. For example, Michigan State has been to the Final Four eight times under Tom Izzo, but this is just Tech’s first Final Four appearance. That is also what makes the Red Raiders so dangerous. Tech coach Chris Beard has built one of the best defenses in the country, and so far it has worked better than many could have imagined. An amazing 2017-18 campaign had many expecting Tech to fall back to earth afterward, but instead the Red Raiders improved across the board. Of all the teams left in this tournament, Tech is the most unpredictable.
Auburn: This might be the hottest team in college basketball, and it is not even because Auburn is necessarily the best. A 30-9 record is because of several conference losses, but the Tigers dominated the SEC Tournament and the Midwest bracket of the NCAA Tournament. Auburn was not expected to be this good, but tell that to North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky, three blue-blood programs the Tigers mauled en route to a Final Four appearance. If we are picking a champion based off resume alone, then Auburn is an easy pick for most accomplished run. Next up is another 1-seed in Virginia, but if the Tigers take the team down as easily as they did North Carolina in the Midwest, then nobody can stand in their way.