I wondered what the possibility would be of a single conference putting four teams into the final four. Which conferences actually has a shot? I made up some odds off the top of my head, here they are…
North Carolina, Clemson, Duke, Miami.
The ACC only has four bids in the tournament, but they are represented in each region. So while it’s not likely that Miami will reach the Final Four, you can’t discount the possibility.
North Carolina is the East region’s best bet, and Duke winning the West wouldn’t be a shock. If Clemson can get a favorable draw along the way and foul shots don’t cause them problems, they have a good chance of being there too.
Odds – 160 to 1
Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Purdue.
The Big 10 also has a representative in every region. Indiana probably won’t show up, but if they do, they’re a very dangerous team and I’d consider them a Final Four threat. Wisconsin has a tough road to San Antonio but if some teams are taken out by “cinderella” they’ll be in position to crash the party. Michigan State probably won’t get past Memphis, maybe not even Marquette, that said, if Drew Neitzel gets hot they can certainly make a run. Purdue is probably the least likely of the bunch. Despite a big win over Baylor in round one, Xavier in round two, Duke in round three, UCLA in round four. It would take a small miracle for the baby boilers to reach the final four.
Odds – 192 to 1
Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas.
Baylor has already been knocked out, though the Bears’ chances weren’t good to begin with. I could see Texas A&M surprising UCLA in round two but running a gauntlet that might include UConn and Duke as well might be too much to ask. Texas is a very good bet to be in San Antonio, especially playing in the Houston regional. Kansas State wasn’t seeded properly and is going to have one helluva first round matchup with USC. Oklahoma isn’t 100 per cent healthy and might get picked off by St. Joes in the first round.
Odds – 224 to 1
Notre Dame, Louisville, Villanova, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Marquette, UConn, West Virginia.
It would make sense that the biggest league would have the best chance and that’s probably the case. The 16-team Big East can boast a 2-seed, a 3-seed, two 4-seeds, a 5-seed, a 7-seed and an 8-seed. The most likely candidates are UConn out of the West, Pittsburgh out of the South, Georgetown out of the Midwest, and Louisville out of the East. All of those teams have a very good chance of being in San Antonio and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit.
Odds – 64 to 1
Washington State, USC, Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon.
Since the league got 60 per cent of its members in the field, it’s only a hair behind the Big East in this category. UCLA is being picked by many to win the whole thing. Stanford is a great team but will have to go through Texas in Houston to get there. Ditto for Washington State who will have to go through North Carolina in Charlotte. USC seems to be the trendy pick but I’m not buying it. First Kansas State, then Wisconsin, followed by Georgetown and Kansas? It’s a murderer’s row of basketball teams.
Odds – 96 to 1
Tennessee, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State.
First round exits by Georgia and Kentucky have since made this feat impossible for the SEC. But getting three of four can still be arranged. That would mean Mississippi State has to beat Memphis, one of Michigan State/Pitt, and either Texas or Stanford. Tennessee is a favourite, but it would take a lot for Vanderbilt to get there with Clemson, Kansas and Georgetown in their way.
Odds – N/A, already knocked themselves out.