Final Four Power Rankings: How each team stacks up heading into NCAA Tournament semifinals

Final Four Power Rankings: How each team stacks up heading into NCAA Tournament semifinals

طوبیٰ Tooba 4 months ago 0 2

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Four teams have battled through the gauntlet that is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket to reach the Final Four in March Madness

This Saturday, No. 11 NC State faces No. 1 Purdue, while No. 4 Alabama goes head-to-head with No. 1 UConn. The winner of each game will have a shot at the national championship. 

As each team converges on State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona – the site of the Final Four – let’s take a look at the power rankings for these college basketball squads.


Donovan Clingan after dunking

UConn center Donovan Clingan reacts after dunking during the second half against Marquette in the Big East Conference tournament championship on March 16, 2024, in New York City. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


Did you have the Wolfpack making the Final Four in your bracket? Very few did, but March is all about getting hot at the right time, and Cinderella’s slipper is on NC State’s foot heading into the weekend.

The latest victory for the squad came against No. 4 Duke on Sunday, a shocker that brought their win total to nine consecutive games, which dates back to their ACC tournament run that ended in them lifting the trophy.


NC State scored 55 points in the second half against a very good Blue Devils team, which goes to show that this team doesn’t care about seeding, or frankly, these power rankings. Led by DJ Burns Jr. in the paint – he was named the South Region MVP after dropping 29 points against Duke – and DJ Horne at the top of the key, the Wolfpack’s latest chance at upsetting a top seed will come against a tough Boilermakers squad. 

NC State defeated No. 6 Texas Tech, No. 14 Oakland and No. 2 Marquette prior to beating Duke in the Elite Eight.

DJ Burns Jr. and Ben Middlebrooks celebrate on court

DJ Burns Jr., left, and Ben Middlebrooks of North Carolina State celebrate after scoring against Duke in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament at American Airlines Center in Dallas on March 31, 2024. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)


The name to the Crimson Tide’s game has simply been: “Our offense is better than yours.” Of course, that’s pretty logical since they got to this point, but Nate Oates’ team has dropped 89 points in back-to-back games, most recently taking down No. 6 Clemson in the Elite Eight.

The stunner, though, was beating No. 1 UNC, 89-87, in the Sweet 16.

Alabama’s high-octane offense is powered by Mark Sears, the West Region MVP, who had a team-high 23 points in the Elite Eight, which included seven three-pointers. Nick Pringle’s abilities around the rim also aid the Crimson Tide’s efforts whenever they’re playing. 

While this team isn’t as stingy as others on the defensive end, there’s no doubting their ability to score. They face a UConn team that has beaten its opponents by double digits dating to last year’s national championship-winning run in the tournament. 

Can Alabama end that streak, and more importantly for the Crimson Tide, can their offense outlast the Huskies in the end?

Alabama defeated No. 13 Charleston and No. 12 Grand Canyon prior to their Sweet 16 and Elite Eight victories in the tournament.

Mark Sears quiets the crowd

Alabama’s Mark Sears is shown after a three-point basket during the second half against Grand Canyon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Washington on March 24, 2024. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)


You want your stars to show up in March, and that’s exactly what Purdue’s gotten from center Zach Edey. 

The big man dropped 40 points on Sunday to outlast Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht and his 37 points. Of course, he was a monster on the glass as well, with 16 boards to lead Purdue into the Final Four.

This is what many expected Purdue to accomplish last season as a No. 1 seed before they were shockingly upset by No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson University in the first round. But that’s water under the bridge at this point. 


Now, it’s looking at whether the Boilermakers can join the 2019 Virginia Cavaliers squad, who fell in 2018 to a No. 16 seed and ended up winning the national championship the following year.

This first Final Four appearance since 1980 could lead to at least a chance of winning the title. Purdue has a good matchup with NC State, as Burns is their top guy while Edey has a clear size advantage over him down low.

Purdue defeated No. 16 Grambling State, No. 8 Utah State and No. 5 Gonzaga before beating the Volunteers.

Zach Edey holds the trophy

Purdue center Zach Edey holds the regional championship trophy after an Elite Eight victory over Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament in Detroit on March 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Until UConn is defeated, they’ll stay atop these rankings. Because they’re not just winning games, they’re dominating opponents on either end of the floor.

Again, UConn has not been in close games when the final score is tallied, defeating its opponents by double-digit points since the beginning of last year’s championship run. The latest? A 77-52 victory over Illinois, which had the game tied at 23 apiece at one point but let up a 30-0 run to wipe away any chance at an upset.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Huskies dropped 30 points, and Illinois couldn’t match them on the offensive end. Whether it’s Donovan Clingan wreaking havoc in the paint or Cam Spencer baffling defenders all around the floor, the Dan Hurley-led group is as well oiled as they were last season when they ended up beating San Diego State to win the title for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.

They’ve never gone back-to-back in school history, but as the most dominant team in the tournament thus far, there’s a very good chance that it won’t stand when all is said and done.

Members of the teams in the 2024 Final Four

The 2024 Final Four is set with No. 1 UConn taking on No. 4 Alabama and No. 1 Purdue facing off against No. 11 NC State. (Getty Images)


UConn beat No. 16 Stetson, No. 9 Northwestern and No. 5 San Diego State before handling Illinois in the Elite Eight.

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