Detroit Free Press


- Pick:

March Madness has led to this: Here are 2024 Final Four prediction­s for games between Purdue vs. North Carolina State and UConn vs. Alabama, and a national championsh­ip pick. The NCAA tournament games will take place Saturday, April 6 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, with the national championsh­ip game Monday, April 8.

UConn is striving to defend its title. The Huskies would become the first team to win backto-back championsh­ips since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Alabama is making its first Final Four appearance after chopping down ACC foes North Carolina and Clemson.

The Boilermake­rs are in their first Final Four since 1980 on the back of Zach Edey’s 40point, 16-rebound performanc­e in the Elite 8 in

Detroit. And the Wolfpack are scorching teams, winning the ACC tournament just to get to the Big Dance, and then pulling off more upsets as the 11-seed.

Here are Final Four picks and a national championsh­ip game prediction, from our Michigan Wolverines beat writer Tony Garcia.

1-seed UConn vs. 4-seed Alabama

Tony Garcia: It’s already a banner season for Alabama, which has made the Final Four for the first time. That’s plenty good enough for a football powerhouse ushering in a new era in its primary sport. UConn, in case it’s not clear, is on a march path right now and nobody looks like it can stop Donovan Clingan, Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer.


1-seed Purdue vs. 11-seed NC State

Tony Garcia: It had been 44 years since Purdue punched its ticket to a Final Four, a streak busted Sunday afternoon in Detroit. Now, it tries to end a 55-year drought since it last played for a national title. NC State is on an absolutely incredible run. A team that would’ve missed the tournament, it became the first to win five games in five days in the ACC tournament to earn an automatic berth. Then, it upset 6-seed New Mexico and outlasted red-hot 14-seed Oakland in overtime. The Wolfpack then easily beat 2-seed Marquette, before dispatchin­g conference foe and in-state rival Duke to go to the Final Four. Its a memorable stretch, much like that of coach Jim Valvano’s 1983 national championsh­ip team, but it doesn’t end with the same Disney finish. Pick: Purdue 79, NC State 69.

National championsh­ip game: UConn vs. Purdue

Tony Garcia: It’s the proper championsh­ip matchup, the two best teams for the entire season, meeting to decide it all. Zach Edey vs. Donovan Clingan is pay-per-view by itself and don’t forget about two extremely capable backcourts in Cam Spencer and Tristen Newton against Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer. It will come down to late in the second half, but the Big Ten’s title drought rolls on.

UConn 80, Purdue 74.

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