Sleepers to Make the Final Four (2023 NCAA Tournament)

Mar 15, 2023 - 3:26 PM

It’s that time of year again. March Madness has finally returned. One of the most exciting aspects is this week leading up to the tip-off when you fill out your bracket. If you’re like me, you will stress over every little decision. If you aren’t like me, you will trust my advice and use it to build your brackets. I will discuss some of my favorite sleepers to make the Final Four in this article. 

In this instance, I consider sleepers as 5-seeds or worse. In eight of the last nine NCAA Tournaments, a 7-seed or worse has made the Final Four, with all of the last nine including a 5-seed or worse. Successfully predicting who that team might be can be the difference between winning and losing your bracket.

Here are my favorite Final Four sleepers.

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2023 NCAA Tournament Guide (March Madness)

Sleepers to Make the Final Four (2023 NCAA Tournament)

(Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

San Diego State (5) | +900

This is an insane value play, as the Aztecs will likely have to go through Alabama if they hope to reach the Final Four. Early ESPN responses have Alabama making the Elite 8 in 76 percent of Brackets, despite KenPom giving Bama a 52 percent chance at succeeding in doing so. Historically, two one-seeds make the Final Four. So which ones will be eliminated besides Kansas?

If Alabama falls in the tournament before the Final Four, it will likely be against San Diego State. They have the seventh-ranked perimeter defense, where Alabama takes a lion’s share of their looks. The Aztecs’ slow pace can absolutely throw Bama off their game, and the Crimson Tide are already super inconsistent. I love the value SDSU has to offer.

Creighton (6) | +700

Also coming out of the midwest is my second sleeper team in the Creighton Blue Jays. Ranking in the top 30 offensively and defensively, this is a truly consistent team, ranked in the top 10 preseason. They have the interior talent to stop Bama or any other team down low. Creighton also avoids fouling at the second-highest rate in the nation, something that Alabama depends on the outside of the three.

Creighton is the epitome of a team that can equally likely lose the first-round game or make a title run. A lot of their losses came when they weren’t at full strength, and their seeding reflects that team, not the one they currently possess. Their rebounding rate and ability to go off from deep is a terrific combination that makes them a solid sleeper option.

Florida Atlantic (9) | +2000

In 2011, 8-seed Butler out of the Horizon league went on one of the most historical runs in tournament history, coming to a missed buzzer-beater shot away from winning it all. Now, Florida Atlantic hopes to do the same.

If you have listened to anything related to tournament seeding, a common thought is Florida Atlantic being under-seeded. I completely agree with the sentiment. FAU ranks 22nd on KenPom and has the potential to match up well with Purdue. They defend the perimeter at the 11th highest rate in the country, led by 7-1 big man, Vladislav Goldin, who can defend Zach Edey at a respectable clip. Their defensive rebound rate will also take away Purdue’s dependency on the offensive glass.

If the Owls get past Purdue, the region is wide open for them to make a Butler-like run to the Final Four.

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The post Sleepers to Make the Final Four (2023 NCAA Tournament) appeared first on BettingPros.

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