Early 2017 March Madness Final Four Picks

Posted by Kenny Bell on Wednesday,January 25, 2017 9:41, EST in

Since the start of the College Football Playoff, the committee has released its Top 25 each week starting around midseason, and it was a TV bonanza for ESPN. It also helped drum up buzz for the playoff. We usually have to wait until Selection Sunday to determine the Top 4 seeds in each region in the men’s NCAA Tournament, but not this year. Well, sort of. Let’s take a look at those March Madness predictions for the Final Four.

Early 2017 March Madness Final Four Picks

On Feb. 11, the NCAA Tournament committee will unveil its Top 4 seeds in each region on the March Madness Bracket Preview Show on CBS at 12:30 p.m. ET. It’s just a one-time deal and of course the seeding is going to change through the rest of the regular season and conference tournaments. But since the tournament first expanded to 64 teams, only three times has the national champion come from outside a Top 4 seed. So that’s important. With that said, here are the likely four No. 1s right now with their NCAAB odds to win the . Keep in mind that the No. 1 overall seed gets to pick its region. That’s new this year.

Villanova, No. 1 East Region (+700)

The defending national champions are No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 and have just one loss as of this writing: 66-58 at then-No. 18 Butler on Jan. 4. Despite playing so well and having the National Player of the Year favorite in Josh Hart, coach Jay Wright says there’s still a bit of hangover from last year’s title: “It’s definitely there. It’s something you have to deal with all the time, and as you have success it continues, and I’m sure when it comes NCAA Tournament time, it’s going to be (even stronger).” Villanova does have a tough home game vs. No. 12 Virginia this Saturday.

Gonzaga, No. 1 West Region (+1000)

What else can you say about the Zags? They are 20-0, the best start in school history and tying the second-longest winning streak overall. The Bulldogs have built a great offense with veterans and are playing some of the most consistent defense of any team Coach Mark Few has coached. The Zags have a very good chance of finishing the regular season undefeated. Aside from trips to at BYU (6-2 WCC) on Feb. 2 and St. Mary’s (7-1) on Feb. 11, they have seven regular-season games left, all vs. WCC competition sporting a combined 17-31 conference mark.

Kansas, No. 1 Midwest (+600)

The Jayhawks are No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 2 in the AP Top 25. This story was written before KU’s game at a good West Virginia team on Tuesday and that was a possible loss for the Jayhawks. But they hadn’t lost since their season opener in Hawaii against a good Indiana team. Then on Saturday, Kansas has to face No. 4 Kentucky. Kansas’ 13th Big 12 title is well within striking distance. The Jayhawks have one of the best freshmen in the country in Josh Jackson, and a stellar veteran backcourt in Frank Mason, the likely Big 12 Player of the Year, and Devonte’ Graham.

Kentucky, No. 1 South (+400)

The Cats are again a freshmen-laden team led by likely 2017 lottery picks Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox. Monk is averaging 21.7 points per game. No John Calipari-coached player has ever averaged more than 21.2 points for an entire season. Fox etched his name into the UK record books vs. Arizona State with just the second triple-double in school history and the first since Chris Mills in 1988. UK has scored 100 points in five games this season, the most in the Calipari era and most since the 1995-96 season. It’s quite possible that UK runs the table in the weak SEC but of course could lose this weekend to No. 2 Kansas.

Expert Final Four Betting Picks:

I can see all three of these four teams in the Final Four, but sorry, Gonzaga, your lack of conference competition will cost you in the NCAA Tournament.