Title chances for Final Four
Ranking the Final Four teams by their odds to win national championship
- Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesPeyton Siva and the Cardinals are the clear favorites to win the national championship.
The Final Four is now set, and by average seed it's the fourth most surprising group of teams we've seen since the NCAA tournament field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. (If you're wondering, the 2011 Final Four -- Connecticut, Butler, Kentucky and VCU -- was the most surprising one.) Wichita State is the first No. 9 seed to reach a national semifinal in that span, and Syracuse and Michigan are both No. 4 seeds. Only top seed Louisville was "supposed" to get this far.
Here's how I would rank each of these four teams' title chances, based not only on performance but also on the bracket: Wichita State plays Louisville, and Michigan plays Syracuse.
The Cardinals have turned in the latest in a series of impressive performances to reach the Final Four. On a night when Rick Pitino's team shot just 2-of-13 on their 3-pointers, the Cards still beat an outstanding Duke team, 85-63. Louisville is known as a defense-first outfit, but that will have to change if the Cardinals continue to make 63 percent of their 2s in the tournament. I've made my case for Russ Smith as this tournament's most outstanding player, but against Duke Peyton Siva was equally good. Repeatedly Smith and Siva sliced the Blue Devils to ribbons with drives to the rim.
To read John Gasaway's full take on the national title chances for each of the Final Four teams, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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