Final Four Picks Via Top College Basketball Metrics

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on March 28, 2023
Final Four picks

A field of 68 has been whittled down to the Final Four. The March Madness field is down to UConn, Miami, Florida Atlantic and San Diego State. We’ve already looked at how major NCAA basketball metrics viewed the bracket initially. Then, we checked in on them again for the Sweet 16. Now, let’s find out how the metrics see the season’s final three games playing out via their Final Four picks.

Remember, we’re using KenPom, Bart Torvik, Haslametrics and ShotQuality as our metrics of choice. Since we’re going to dive a little deeper into these final games, I thought I’d pull up score-based projections as well. Hence, I’m including Sagarin ratings as well.

March Madness: Best National Title Odds For Each Team

KenPom, Torvik T-Rank, Haslametrics, ShotQuality Final Four Picks

Previously here, I’ve posted each metric’s bracket selections thus far and then included their projected picks the rest of the way. I’m going to save you the trouble of scrolling through four identical screenshots (previous picks aside), because that’s what the metrics have: identical picks.

  • No. 5 San Diego State over No. 9 Florida Atlantic
  • No. 4 UConn over No. 5 Miami
  • No. 4 UConn over No. 5 San Diego State

There’s a bit of variation in how each metrics sees the non-UConn teams stacking up. For example, KenPom and Torvik have Miami as the weakest team remaining. Meanwhile, ShotQuality has them second-best, although well below UConn.

When it comes to UConn, the numbers now have near universal agreement that they have the strongest team in the country. It seems their tournament resume has done enough to push them ahead of the top teams that fell victim to upsets. Each of KenPom, Torvik, Haslametrics and Sagarin now has UConn No. 1 and favored over any other team.

If you want to know how our initial four metrics did on their picks overall, here’s how they stacked up. Note that these numbers are final because none of the metrics managed to correctly forecast a Final Four participant. Cue sad trombone.

  • KenPom: 53
  • T-Rank: 49
  • Haslametrics: 55
  • ShotQuality: 48

Haslametrics narrowly surpassed KenPom thanks to its faith in Gonzaga.

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Final Four Picks, Score Projections From College Basketball Metrics

Note that these projected scores and differentials aren’t exact. In the case of KenPom, we have to do a bit of adjustment for expected pace, while some of the systems’ numbers must be rounded.

San Diego State vs. Florida Atlantic

Florida Atlantic has not had as tough of a route to the NCAA semifinals as San Diego State. They dodged Purdue, got to face an injury-weakened version of Tennessee, and then faced a Kansas State team that was not particularly well-regarded by either the numbers or the betting market. Contrast that with SDSU, which defeated an Alabama team universally regarded as elite and a Creighton team that entered the tournament with borderline top-15 ratings.

Yet, the metrics see quite a close battle unfolding.

  • KenPom: San Diego State -1
  • Torvik: San Diego State -3.5
  • Haslametrics: San Diego State -2
  • Sagarin: San Diego State -2.5

The aggregate line comes out to SDSU being between -2 and -2.5, which matches the market. No surprise there, although Torvik’s numbers stand out as liking SDSU a bit more than the market.

Miami vs. UConn

Where the battle between the Aztecs and Owls looks similar whether through a market lens or a metrics lens, the Hurricanes and the Huskies does not. UConn has an unthinkable average victory margin of -22.5 thus far in the tournament. As referenced earlier, the computers have taken a sharp turn in response. Miami, meanwhile, had narrow victories over Drake and Texas that weren’t decided until the final minutes.

Thus, the numbers forecast a relatively comfortable UConn victory.

  • KenPom: UConn -7
  • Torvik: UConn -8
  • Haslametrics: UConn -7
  • Sagarin: UConn -7

With an aggregate number a couple of points higher than UConn -5.5 (as of Monday afternoon), the computers like a wager on the Huskies.

Projections For Potential NCAA Championship Games

These numbers are going to change depending on what happens in the Final Four. But, just for fun, here’s a chart with projected margins (rounded to the nearest half) in each of the possible finales. Note that these T-Rank projections are converted from moneylines to the approximate nearest spread.

SystemUConn vs. SDSUUConn vs. FAUMiami vs. SDSUMiami vs. FAU
KenPomUConn -5.5UConn -6.5SDSU -2FAU -1
Torvik T-RankUConn -4UConn -7SDSU -4pick'em
HaslametricsUConn -5.5UConn -7.5SDSU -2pick'em
SagarinUConn -5.5UConn -8SDSU -0.5Miami -2

Best of luck betting your Final Four picks.

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Mo Nuwwarah Avatar
Written by
Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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