4 Sleeper Teams to Make the Final 4 (2022 March Madness)

Mar 13, 2022 - 11:55 PM

4 March Madness Sleeper Teams to Make the NCAA Tournament Final 4

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Iowa Hawkeyes

Since Feb. 1, Iowa ranks second in the nation in adjusted efficiency. Let me repeat that: Iowa has been the second-best team in college basketball since Feb. 1, according to Bart Torvik. The Hawkeyes rounded out the regular season by going 8-2 with some ridiculous offensive performances.

Keegan Murray has can lead this team anywhere he wants. The 6-8 sophomore helps spread the floor, opening up looks for Jordan Bohannon or Kris Murray. Iowa plays at a fast pace and showcases incredible offensive firepower. This squad takes care of the ball and can score from anywhere on the court.

It’s hard to trust a team that depends so much on offense, but Iowa’s defense has improved over the year as well. While the Hawkeyes sit at 83rd in defensive efficiency, they’ve ranked 49th in that metric since that Feb 1.

This team is incredibly dangerous and incredibly difficult to prepare for, especially on short notice. This is one of my favoriite sleeper teams to make the Final Four.

Memphis Tigers

If I am picking a lower-seeded team as a sleeper to make the Final Four, Memphis is without a doubt my selection. After dealing with injuries, COVID-19 pauses, and some locker-room drama, this team appears to have put it all together, ranking fourth in the nation since Feb. 1.

Many analysts have written off Houston after their injuries, but Memphis’ two wins over the Cougars should not be disregarded, especially considering a 10-point road win. Penny Hardaway’s team rebounds well, scores all over the court, and is effective at reaching the free throw line.

The team leans on Landers Nolley, Jalen Duren, and Tyler Harris. Nolley is an effective passer. Harris can shoot the lights out. Duren is efficient down low, and his 6-11 frame gives him the ability to rebound effectively.

If Memphis losses, it will be to a team that forces turnovers and shoots well from beyond the arc. The Tigers are one of the worst teams at taking care of the ball, ranking 352nd in offensive turnover percentage, and their interior-based defense allows teams to get off good looks from deep.

Playing in the AAC, Memphis has flown under the radar. But if you want to spice things up in your bracket, write in Memphis to make the Final Four in New Orleans.

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UConn Huskies

UConn is slowly picking up steam as a sleeper Final Four squad. This is a well-rounded team that ranks top-30 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. R.J. Cole and Adama Sanogo lead this team with effective shooting, and elite rebounding.

Despite not having the best offense, UConn ranks 14th in the nation in second-chance conversion percentage and third in offensive rebounding percentage. Even when they are missing shots, the Huskies can keep up. Only one of their losses was by a margin of double digits, and six of their eight losses were by four points or fewer.

On the other side of the ball, UConn allows essentially nothing inside the arc with the sixth-best 2pt% defense. If UConn faces teams that don’t defend the interior well, the Huskies can easily take advantage. Where they might falter is against elite exterior-shooting squads; if they have a kryptonite, it’s their three-point defense.

Connecticut’s resume includes a number of respectable losses combined with some big wins over teams such as Auburn and Villanova. I trust this squad because we haven’t really seen them fall apart in any games this season. A lot of experts have pinned this team as a dangerous dark horse, and I could not agree more.

Boise State Broncos

After starting 3-4, Boise State finished 23-3. The top seed in the Mountain West tournament played all the way to the conference championship game, and the Broncos are yet another dangerous team that could make waves in the tournament.

This is a crew that depends on defense and consistency. Of their three conference losses, Boise finished within one possession in two of them. The Broncos are a rag-tag team full of transfers. They have a lot of height, and Abu Kigab, Marcus Shaver, and Emmanuel Akot make Boise an effective rebounding team.

The early-season woes are far behind Boise State, but they happened for a reason. The Broncos’ slow pace means that when they struggle on the offensive side of the ball, any team can keep up. If the Broncos find themselves in a close game late, they might be in trouble, considering that they rank 346th in free throw percentage. This team is capable of upsetting a top-seeded foe, but I have to imagine that every game Boise plays will be a close one.

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