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NCAA Tournament Final Four team previews: Why each team can win it all

Four NCAA Tournament teams remain. Below is a look at why each team could win it all, and why they won't, with predictions at the bottom.

HOUSTON — The 2023 NCAA Tournament rolls on, with a pair of games on Saturday between UConn and Miami, followed by San Diego State and Florida Atlantic. 

The winner of those two games will face off Monday evening for the national championship, and fans have a 75% chance of seeing a team that has never won getting that first ever trophy in the collection.

Locked on College Basketball hosts Andy Patton and Isaac Schade broke down each of the teams remaining in the Final 4, while discussing each team's strengths and weaknesses.

Below is a look at why each team could win it all, and why they won't, with predictions for the three remaining games at the bottom. For more insight and analysis, check out the Locked on College Basketball podcast.

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1. UConn Huskies

FanDuel line vs. Miami: UConn -5.5

FanDuel odds to win championship: -125

Why they will: UConn is the top ranked team in the country currently at KenPom. They boast an elite offense and defense. In fact, no national champion has ever had an offense ranked worse than 39th or a defense ranked worse than 22nd in the KenPom era, dating back to 2002. UConn is the only team left that is above both those numbers. They also possess elite depth, with multiple bench players who are contributing, and have a dominant low post presence in Adama Sanogo.

Why they won't: Guard play at times has been very inconsistent, which could present a problem against Miami. Jordan Hawkins has played great this tournament, but Tristen Newton isn't always consistent and Andre Jackson doesn't provide much offense.

2. Miami Hurricanes

FanDuel line vs. UConn: UConn -5.5

FanDuel odds to win championship: +440

Why they will: Miami's guard play has been the best in the NCAA Tournament, with Isaiah Wong and Nijel Pack dominating nearly every opponent they have faced. The health of Norchad Omier has been a huge boost for Jim Larranaga's team, as he is a tenacious offensive rebounder despite his 6'7 frame. They boast the fifth best offense in the country and their starting lineup played over 700 possessions together this season, while posting the best offensive efficiency of anyone in that group.

Why they won't: Miami's defense is currently ranked 104th in the country, per KenPom, well below the top-22 threshold that has determined every other NCAA Tournament champion in the past 20 seasons. 

Verdict: UConn wins and covers the spread.

3. San Diego State Aztecs

FanDuel line vs. FAU: SDSU -2.5

FanDuel odds to win championship: +390

Why they will: Fourth ranked defense in the country per KenPom. 21st most experienced team in the country as well, and secured the 19th toughest strength of schedule. So this team is experienced, tough on defense, and battle tested. Hold teams to under 28% from deep. Four of their five starters started together last year. 

Why they won't: The defense is exceptional, but the offense ranks just 75th at KenPom - well outside the top 40 marker that has determined every previous national champion. They are outside the top 225 in three point attempts and makes per game, making it tough to come back in games they might fall behind. They also shoot under 50% on two pointers, with their 49.1% mark coming in 261st in the country.

4. Florida Atlantic Owls

FanDuel line vs. San Diego State: SDSU -2.5

FanDuel odds to win championship: +550

Why they will: Exceptionally balanced team, with a top 30 offense and defense at KenPom. 37.2% from deep as a team, and they rank top 20 in makes and attempts from deep this season. 39.1 rebounds per game ranks 16th in the country, and their 54.6% mark on two pointers is 37th.

Why they won't: Team takes very little free throws, which hurts them in potential close game situations. Defense is top 30 but outside top 22, which has historically determined who will win the championship.

Verdict: SDSU wins a close game against FAU to advance to national championship.

National Champion Selection: UConn over San Diego State

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