Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Roundtable: Final Four Team Most Likely To Repeat Next Season

Can the Louisville Cardinals, or any of the other three Final Four teams, return next year? (

BDD's Friday Roundtable is a weekly discussion among a group of our writers on a trending NBA or college basketball topic.

This week's question: Which Final Four team is most likely to return to the Final Four next season?


I actually would be surprised if any of the teams in this year's Final Four returned next year. Every team is losing key talent and the one-and-done rule evens out the playing field on a yearly basis (except for Kentucky this year, who needed a dreadful season by their standards to return some players to Lexington to mix with this insane recruiting class and be stacked). The fact that this is Louisville's second straight Final Four is impressive.

But I won't take the easy way out and say none.  The question was which is most likely, and while I would love to say Wichita State, because that would make a tremendous storyline, the team is Louisville. If this happens, Louisville would be the second team in quite a while (UCLA 2006-08) with three straight Final Four appearances. Peyton Siva will graduate and even if Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng go pro, both are juniors, the Cardinals have Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear, and Luke Hancock most likely back. Couple this talent with the No. 8 recruiting class coming in, according to ESPN, and a Hall of Fame coach in Rick Pitino and Louisville should still find plenty of success in 2013-14.

Michigan. Trey Burke is heading for the NBA, in all likelihood, but the Wolverines' run to the Final Four has showcased a rebuilt program ready to compete as a whole rather than as a vehicle for one star.

Replacing Burke is essential, but the other core players like Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Glenn Robinson III (presuming they don't declare for the NBA draft) and a supporting cast with Mitch McGary and Nick Stauskaus will make the transition easier. After McGary's freshman year, though, things are only going to get tougher for opposing teams, in tournaments and otherwise.

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