Our main man Marcus Fuller gets the honor of picking the whole tournament. Three other staff writers covering regional finals weekend next week were asked to predict the final they expect to see in person. The results:
Joe Christensen will be in Washington, D.C. to cover the East Region’s finish. His prediction on what he will see:
A Duke-Michigan State final seems almost inevitable because the other main contenders — LSU, Virginia Tech, Maryland — have obvious flaws. If Duke arrives in Washington and plays the way it did with Zion Williamson healthy in the ACC tournament, Michigan State could be overmatched. The Spartans are having a special season, too, and Tom Izzo has led them to the Final Four seven times. But this one ends with Duke punching another ticket to a Final Four in Minneapolis, just like 1992 and 2001.
Chip Scoggins will be in Louisville, Ky. His forecast:
Predicting a No. 1 vs. No. 2 final seems too safe, but both Virginia and Tennessee look equipped to make a Final Four run. Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 last season. The Cavaliers are motivated to change the narrative. Tennessee is well-rounded with scorers, athleticism and toughness. As a native of Tennessee who bleeds orange and attended the Vols basketball camp as a kid, I’ll give my unbiased prediction: Rocky Top is coming to Minneapolis.
Jim Souhan goes to Anaheim, Calif. His prediction:
Michigan’s John Beilein is one of the rare college basketball coaches whose teams grow visibly smarter and more cohesive as the season progresses. He will have his team peaking at the right time and facing another great coach, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, matching a ball-moving offense against a famous zone defense. The Wolverines offense wins a close matchup.