NCAA College Basketball Final Four Edition 4-03-24

The College Basketball season is now down to two frenetic days, starting with Saturday’s Final Four and culminating with Monday’s NCAA Championship Game. As I did in the Sweet 16, I’m going to rank the teams in terms of the likelihood of getting to and winning the title game.

  1. UConn (-195) - 30-0 run. Let that soak in. The Huskies went on a 30-0 run against an Illinois team that was arguably playing like one of the four best teams in the tournament. This team could lose this weekend, but they will have to beat themselves. All things equal, no one is beating this team if the Huskies are playing their game.

  1. Purdue (+205) - It’ll be interesting to see what Purdue brings to the table in the Final Four. Was the redemption tour about GETTING to the Final Four or winning it? That can get tricky for some teams. The Final Four was such an obstacle, advancing there might have been enough. Be wary of that when you are plopping down your hard-earned cash this weekend.

  1. Alabama (+1600) - Alabama is the lone wildcard team remaining in the Big Dance. If the Crimson Tide gets to play at their pace and can knock down threes, they have a puncher’s chance against UConn. Keep in mind, however, that UConn is ranked 28th in the nation in 3-point defense and has held the opposition to 26% shooting from beyond the arc in the tournament. I don’t see an upset here but this is why I have them ranked third and not fourth despite matching up with the best team in the tournament. It is all about matchups and ‘Bama is a mystery matchup.

  1. NC State (+1600) - What a wild and fun ride it has been for the Wolfpack in reaching their first Final Four since 1983. Unlike the 1983 team that seemed to be touched by some magical dust and was almost willed to the title by the late Jimmy Valvano, this team is playing solid basketball. No tricks, no magic, just excellent team play centered around the two DJs - Burnes and Horne. Burnes does his damage out of the block while Horne feasts on the perimeter. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, the Boilermakers have seven feet four inches of reason why Burnes will not be as effective in the pain in this game. Zach Edey is a size nightmare for Burnes and if Burnes is nullified, this game shifts dramatically.

I will return on Monday for a special Championship game preview that will break down the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams and the likely winner of this year’s title game.

  • In parenthesis, the odds to win the National Title in 2024. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.