In a college basketball season where we didn't know what to expect from week to week, the NCAA Tournament has gone just about how we expected it to — with nobody safe and nothing off the table. This year’s Final Four consists of a No. 10 seed that wasn't supposed to be dancing, an old blue blood, a team from a re-invented conference still looking for respect and a squad led by the nation's top player.
Let's do this.
With how the season has gone and how the Tournament has subsequently unfolded, I'm calling you a liar if you feel safe placing a bet on who wins this thing. That alone makes this arguably the most difficult "Outrageous Prediction" piece I've written to date. How can one predict the outrageous when literally nothing should surprise anyone from here on out?
Here is my best attempt at doing just that.
Outrageous Predictions for the Final Four
Villanova rolls Oklahoma
Villanova has grown considerably as a team since the loss to Oklahoma early in the season. The Sooner big men aren't the same as the hosses that Villanova brings to the table. There is a level of physicality that the Wildcats play with that will wear down the Sooners and put everything on Buddy Hield's shoulders. Once that happens, Hield will find himself challenged by Josh Hart at both ends of the floor. Exhaustion will set in for that elite Oklahoma starting five, while Villanova's depth carries the Wildcats to a sound victory.
Syracuse upsets North Carolina
C'mon, will you really be shocked? The Orange are in a zone, and speaking of zones, look for that 2-3 zone to be firing on all cylinders. Jim Boeheim beat a Roy Williams team in the tourney before with a combo of solid zone play and long-range bombs from beyond the arc (He also had Carmelo Anthony to lean on). Look for the same formula here, causing some bad shots that don't fall for the Tar Heels. It all leads to an "old Big East" final.
The Orange reign supreme
As good as Villanova is, this team hasn't seen a 2-3 zone like what Syracuse runs all year. The Wildcats will have trouble preparing for it with only a day's worth of practice. They'll be forced to fire up low percentage jump shots and prevented from getting the ball inside to their bigs. On the other end, ‘Nova brings little to the table that Syracuse hasn't seen this season defensively. The Orange will play their game and win a low-scoring contest to win the title.
Jim Boeheim announces his retirement after cutting down the nets
It's been a taxing year for Boeheim and arguably his best coaching job. He's not going to catch Coach K in the wins column and few others are going to catch Boeheim. It's time to hang it up, pass the torch and go out on top. There wouldn't be a better time to do it.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the owner of KnowItAllFootball.com and host of "Raising the Bar" on RadiOmaha.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.