The NCAA Tournament is one of the best times of the year for sports fan, but it sure does go by quickly. The first round of the tournament started just a couple of weeks ago, but it feels like it was just yesterday. The ride has been fun, and now, we have made it to the Final Four. There are only four teams left standing: Number one overall seed UConn, one seed Purdue, four seed Alabama and 11 seed NC State, the Cinderella of the tournament. UConn basketball and Alabama basketball are going to do battle on Saturday, but first, let's talk about how we got to Phoenix.

This tournament has been an interesting one. There have been a lot of great games, but one thing that we haven't seen as much of in this tournament are upsets. The first round had a pretty normal amount, but 15/16 favorites won in the round of 32, eliminating almost every Cinderella team from the tournament. However, one team kept fighting, and 11 seed NC State basketball has now made it all the way to the Final Four. It has been an incredible run.

The Wolfpack started off their insane run well before the NCAA Tournament. Before they went dancing, they first had to win five games in a row in the ACC Tournament to even to even get to the NCAA Tournament. NC State was able to get it done. Still, they went 17-14 in the regular season and they just got hot for a few days. They were still going into the tournament as an 11 seed, and not many picked them to end up in the Final Four.

NC State has now added four wins in the big dance to that win streak that started in the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack started things off with a win against #6 seed Texas Tech, and then they played their only game as the favorite in the tournament, and really the only game where they didn't have the whole nation behind them. #14 seed Oakland upset #3 seed Kentucky in the First Round of the tournament, and they were the darling of the big dance. The Wolfpack knocked them out, however, and they became the new Cinderella.

After beating #2 seed Marquette and #4 seed Duke, the Wolfpack have made it all the way to the Final Four, and they will be playing Purdue on Saturday.

When talking out Purdue basketball in this tournament, it's impossible to not bring up last year's March disaster. The Boilermakers were also a one seed last season, but they lost to #16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round. The only other team to lose to a #16 seed in the first round is Virginia, and they won the national championship the very next season. Purdue has come back strong this season, and they are now just two wins away from a national title.

The Boilermakers cruised through their first three opponents as they knocked off 16 seed Grambling, eight seed Utah State and five seed Gonzaga all by double digits. However, two seed Tennessee gave Purdue some fits on Sunday. The Volunteers led by double digits in the first half of that game, but the Boilermakers came back and punched their ticket to the Final Four.

Alabama and UConn will play Saturday in the Final Four

Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley reacts with the trophy in the finals of the East Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament against the Illinois Fighting Illini at TD Garden.
© Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

In our other Final Four matchup, we will have the top overall seed in the tournament, UConn basketball, going up against four seed Alabama basketball, who is making its first ever appearance in the Final Four.

Not many people expected the Crimson Tide to make it this far. Alabama started things off in the first round with a shootout win against #13 seed Charleston. Both teams are capable of scoring a lot of points, and they both did as the Crimson Tide won 109-96. They then beat #12 seed Grand Canyon fairly easily, and coasted to a Sweet 16 berth.

The Sweet 16 was difficult and it also proved that Alabama is as legit as they come. The Crimson Tide took down number one seed North Carolina by two points to punch their ticket to the Elite 8, and then they beat a scrappy six seed Clemson team to earn their first ever trip to the Final Four. The road will get tougher as UConn basketball awaits.

UConn basketball has been the most dominant team in the NCAA Tournament so far. They won every single game in last year's tournament by double digits en route to a national title, and they are on the same path so far this season as well. This year, the Huskies have defeated #16 seed Stetson, #9 seed Northwestern, #5 seed San Diego State and #3 seed Illinois. None of the games have been close, and UConn is the heavy favorite to cut down the nets on April 8th. They have two more wins to get.

Bold predictions for UConn basketball in the Final Four

UConn will win by 20+ points

This might not seem like that bold of a prediction after what UConn has done to their opponents during the NCAA Tournament, but they are favored by 11.5, and winning by 20+ would be an easy cover. At the end of the day, UConn is so good that predicting them to win by 30 doesn't even sound that bold.

The Huskies are dominant, and they are going to dominate their way to the national title game. Alabama lives and dies on the three ball, and unless they have their best shooting game of the season, it just doesn't seem like they're going to be able to hang around in this one. Expect UConn to punch their ticket to the national title game in a big way.

UConn will hold Alabama to under 60 points

One thing that this Alabama basketball team can do is score a lot of points. They play with an incredibly quick pace and they shoot a lot of threes. When they are on, they can be tough to slow down and they can be very tough to beat. However, they haven't played a team like UConn yet. The Huskies just held Illinois, who has one of the best offenses in the country, to just 52 points and they held them scoreless for nine minutes. This defense is legit.

The Crimson Tide have scored over 70 points in every single game this season, but expect that to change this weekend. UConn is too good, and they are going to play their style of game. It's going to throw the Crimson Tide off big time, and it will be hard for them to score at the rate they usually do.

UConn is going to win this one big, and they are going to slow down that high-powered Alabama offense in the process.