PJ's Predictions: Final Four, South & Midwest Region
After an erratic Elite Eight, the two teams, from the South and Midwest Regions, will matchup in the Final Four. They have both fought hard in the regular season and are excited to have a chance in the Final Four to make the National Championship.
Virginia, although troubled early in the tournament, got the job done. Facing Gardner-Webb in the first round, they struggled, remembering the previous year losing to the sixteen seed. The following game in the second round was against Oklahoma, they played better but still struggled in the first half. However, they managed to reach the Sweet Sixteen and played Oregon without Bol Bol. They won a very close game and reached the Elite Eight where they would match up against Purdue. Purdue was their toughest matchup yet, strong defensively and Carsen Edwards was on fire in the tournament. Virginia played great down the stretch and won it in overtime, shooting threes and playing the lockdown defense they are known for. They reached the Final Four to face the tough Auburn Tigers.
Auburn was not expected to make it far in the tournament. They ended the season on a hot streak and won the SEC Championship. Beginning in the first round, they had some luck and survived against a tough New Mexico State team due to late game missed free throws. At this point, many believed Auburn would have no shot but they continued to win. In the second round, they pulled off an upset over Kansas. Then in the Sweet Sixteen, Auburn knocked off the number one seeded North Carolina, blowing them out by seventeen. They continued their hot run defeating Kentucky in overtime. They played from behind, struggling to guard PJ Washington, but brought it together and now will face the number one seeded Virginia in the Final Four, their first appearance ever.
The first matchup in the Final Four is one many did not expect, one-seeded Virginia facing the five seed Auburn. These top teams have proved to beat all odds and make it to the Final Four. Virginia and Auburn are both knock down shooting teams and play great defense, their difference is pace. Virginia plays with a very slow controlled pace that works well when they have the lead. Auburn has a fast pace that makes it tough for teams to set up their defense, however, if they are missing their shots they will struggle. Virginia will control the pace and play great defense, but Auburn will give them a tough challenge that they have not to see yet. However, Virginia will make it to the National Championship after a thriller finish.