Which teams should you root for in the Final Four?

Your bracket is destroyed. Your favorite team is out. Zion is out. At this point, you’ve probably lost interest in the men’s Final Four. Of the 4 teams left, 3 of them are in the top 10 in defensive efficiency on KenPom, which could mean some really low scoring, hard to watch games. Although, 3 of them are also in the top 10 in offensive efficiency on KenPom, so it could actually be high scoring, but probably not.1In case you didn’t know, KenPom is super nerdy sports stats. Basically this just means the teams are good at offense and/or defense.

That’s why it’s a good thing we still have the women’s Final Four to look forward to. We’ll help you figure out who to root for in each Final Four so that if your favorite team or alma mater has been knocked out, you can still have a team to pull for and give you a reason to actually watch college basketball this weekend.

We promise that our logic is sound.


WOMEN’S FINAL FOUR

Baylor is not the team to root for. They are the best team in women’s basketball and the overall #1 seed in the women’s bracket. No one wants to root for the favorite, especially during March Madness. People only care about seeing upsets and underdogs. No one likes someone hopping on a favorite’s bandwagon.2I understand that this whole post is about hopping on a bandwagon, but ignore that for the sake of this argument. They’ve won the national championship before, as recently as 2012. That’s less than 10 years ago, so they will be alright.

Notre Dame are the defending champs. We just saw this and don’t need to see it again so quickly. Besides, I’m a UConn fan and they have to play UConn in the Final Four. Therefore, because I like UConn and this is my post, we are following my rules, and that means you can’t/shouldn’t/won’t root for Notre Dame.

Now, you probably think that this means I’m going to tell you to hop on UConn’s bandwagon. That’s also not happening. As much as I would like to see UConn finally win a championship again,32016 was SO long ago. this isn’t their year. That’s because this entire year has been about another player.

OUR PICK: OREGON

This is who you should root for in the women’s Final Four. It’s their first trip to the Final Four, which means they’ve never won the national championship. They have to play Baylor first and then they would have to play either Notre Dame or UConn in the championship. That would be an incredible run to get their first national championship. Like I said before, this is the underdog of the Final Four and we like rooting for underdogs. But they are underdogs who are also very good at basketball! They went 33 – 4 and their only losses were to teams that made the NCAA tournament.

They also have the best player in the country. She’s become one of the most talked about women’s basketball players since Breanna Stewart. She was the Zion of women’s basketball this year. She set and holds the record for most triple doubles in NCAA women’s basketball history.4She’s only a junior. Triple doubles are fun. It’s like when you tell an ice cream shop that you want a single scoop of ice cream, but they give you 3 scoops instead. She’s like Russell Westbrook, but better at shooting. Sabrina Ionescu.

She’s very good at basketball. If you need to be convinced further, read this piece from Shea Serrano written for LAST YEAR’s tournament. It’s their time. You should root for her and the Oregon Ducks to win the championship.


MEN’S FINAL FOUR

This is a little harder to figure out. 2 of the 4 teams are in their first Final Four (Auburn and Texas Tech), Virginia is in their first Final Four since 1984 and have never won a championship, and Michigan State hasn’t won a championship since 2000. Therefore, we can’t use the same logic we used for the women’s bracket.

However, that does mean we can eliminate Michigan State though. Sure, it’s been almost 20 years since Tom Izzo and the Spartans have won a national title, but they’ve been to A LOT of Final Fours. 6 to be exact since the 2000 title. So really, it’s their own fault they haven’t won a title at any of those Final Fours. They don’t need us to cheer for them.

Now that the obvious team has been eliminated, it gets much tougher. We’ll start with Auburn, because we aren’t going to root for them either. Even though this basketball team is a lot of fun to watch and they have the “win this for the injured player” storyline, they are a football school through and through. They don’t need to be good at more than one sport. They don’t even actually care about basketball. It’s just a holdover until Spring football starts. So enjoy the fact that you made the Final Four and countdown the days until football starts.

Texas Tech is in a similar situation. While they haven’t seen the same success as Auburn, they are more of a football school too. They just haven’t seen much success in either sport. Like we said earlier, this is their first Final Four. They have the best defense in the country, but they also have the worst offense remaining in the tournament. Offense is way more exciting to watch than defense. We want to see points and lots of them. If we wanted to watch a sport with low scoring, we would watch baseball.5Because even baseball is more boring than soccer. We can’t risk having them win and see a game reminiscent of UConn vs Butler in 2011. That one was on accident and this would be on purpose.

OUR PICK: VIRGINIA

I know this goes against my previous argument about Baylor. Hear me out though. Even though Virginia is the favorite to win, the only #1 seed remaining, and has been one of the best teams all year, you should still root for them. They’ve never won a national championship and have only been to 2 Final Fours before this year, both in the 1980’s. We want to see a team that’s never won before win, that’s always fun. They are also very good at basketball, and very good teams should win championships. They have both a very good offense (top 2 in KenPom) and very good defense (top 5 in KenPom).

Maybe you’re wondering why you’ve heard of Virginia basketball before, even though they’ve never seen much success in the tournament. Let me remind you:

Yes, that’s right. Virginia was the first #1 seed to ever lose to a #16 seed in the NCAA tournament. This happened LAST YEAR! Virginia still has some of the players on their team from the one last year. What a redemption story that would be. They were even losing at halftime against a 16 seed this year, so they’ve been the butt of jokes for a full year now. Thankfully they won that game and went on to give us one of the most exciting games of the whole tournament, with this buzzer beater in the Elite 8:

We all love a comeback. Could you imagine being completely humiliated in the tournament last year, only to return the following year and win the school’s first national title? That’s the story we should all root for. Go Cavs!