JAN 19 - Early March Madness Final Four Picks And Longshot Contenders

Early March Madness Final Four Picks And Longshot Contenders

Written by on January 19, 2017

After the Villanova Wildcats bet several bigger basketball factories en route to the 2016 national championship, there are a handful of ‘longshot’ teams that are looking to duplicate the Wildcats’ feat from a year ago and overcome all odds en route to their own title this season,

Thanks to the expert college hoops analysis that you’re about to get, you’re going to find out which five longshot teams have a realistic chance to replicate Villanova’s thrilling title win last season. Now, let’s get started and check the latest March Madness Predictions here.

Early March Madness Final Four Picks And Longshot Contenders

Florida State 50/1

I love the athletic 10th-ranked Seminoles (17-2) as my top value pick team to upset everyone and win the 2017 national championship. The Florida State Seminoles are averaging an impressive 86.3 points per game to rank 13th nationally in scoring while draining a blistering 50.5 percent of their collective shots to rank a stellar seventh in field goal shooting percentage.

Not only that, but Florida State has also harassed their opponents into a dismal 39.7 percent shooting mark from the field to rank 33rd in field goal defense. The Seminoles also have an excellent head coach in veteran Leonard Hamilton and a legitimate superstar in 6-7 shooting guard Dwayne Bacon (17.4 ppg). The ACC-leading Seminoles have gone 3-1 in neutral site games this season and have beaten three nationally-ranked title contenders in Duke, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech over their last four games.

Wisconsin 35/1

Just like they’re football playing counterparts at Wisconsin, I really like the 17th-ranked Badgers this season (15-3) and I believe they could overachieve in March because of their shut-down defense. Wisconsin ranks eighth in points allowed (60.4 ppg) and 52nd in field goal shooting percentage (40.5 percent) while also ranking second in defensive rebounding (25.2 rpg). I also love the Badgers’ trio of stars in leading scorer Bronson Koenig (14.5 ppg), second-leading scorer Nigel Hayes (13.6 ppg) and power forward Ethan Happ (12.8 ppg).  Come tourney time, the Badgers look like they’ll be dangerous at the very least.

Virginia Tech 70/1

Virginia Tech certainly has their work cut out in the powerful ACC, but I believe all of their tough opponents will only help them get better as the season progresses. The Hokies average a stellar 81.4 points per game to rank 35th in scoring nationally while also ranking 31st in field goal shooting percentage (48.3) and 56th in three-point shooting percentage (31.9). The Hokies also have a trio of outstanding players in leading scorer ach LeDay (16.4 ppg), do-it-all guard Chris Clarke (12.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.7 apg) and steady floor leader Justin Robinson (10.2 ppg, 4.8 apg).

Notre Dame 80/1

The 15th-ranked Fighting Irish (16-3) are another team being sharpened by their tough competition in the ACC this season, but again, I believe it will only make them more dangerous once March rolls around.

The Irish rank 41st in scoring nationally by putting up a stellar 81.1 points per game and rank among the nation’s best three-point shooting teams (40.9 percent, 12th) while leading the nation in free throw shooting percentage (82.4 percent). Notre Dame is also solid defensively as they limit the opposition to just 67.5 points per game to rank 79th nationally while limiting their opponents to just 40.5 percent shooting from the field to rank 53rd nationally.

The Irish also have a legitimate star in swingman Bonzie Colson (15.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg) and another excellent player in backcourt mate Stevie Vasturia (15.2 ppg). I also love head coach Mike Brey and believe he’ll get the most out of his team as they head into March. The Hokies have already recorded wins over nationally-ranked Louisville and Virginia Tech and look like they’ll be a great value bet team once March Madness begins.

Maryland 200/1

The 25th-ranked Maryland Terrapins (16-2) are sitting atop the Big Ten standings and have the look of a team that is going to be quite dangerous by the time the national championship tournament gets underway in about eight weeks.

Maryland ranks 43rd in points allowed nationally (65.1 ppg) and an equally impressive 47th in field goal shooting defense (40.4 percent) and has a legitimate star in sweet-shooting guard Melo Trimble (17.2 ppg) and another gifted player in freshman shooting guard Anthony Cowan (11.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.6 apg).

The only concern I do have about the Terps is that they haven’t played the same caliber of competition as some of the other teams on this list. Still the Terps could surprise once March rolls around and at 200/1, they’re certainly offering a stupendous return should they manage to upset the entire apple cart.