There are 16 teams still alive in the Big Dance. That number will lessen to 12 by Saturday night with the Sweet 16 set to tip-off this afternoon.
Before the 2021 NCAA Tournament began, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas revealed his picks for the Final Four, which included Gonzaga, Baylor, Alabama and Illinois. Three of the four remain in the tourney after the Fighting Illini were knocked out by Loyola Chicago last weekend.
If Bilas had to revise his Final Four picks, he’d keep Gonzaga, Baylor and Alabama in the mix, but he’d also add the Ramblers. Loyola has one of the easiest paths to the Elite Eight. It’ll take on 12-seed Oregon State on Saturday. The Beavers are on a remarkable run, but should have a tough time matching up with the Ramblers.
If Loyola beats Oregon State on Saturday, it’ll move on to play the winner of Houston-Syracuse. Simply put, the Ramblers’ path to the Final Four isn’t exactly filled with too many overwhelming obstacles.
“Of course if I could choose again, I would take Loyola,” Bilas said Saturday on SportsCenter, via 247Sports.com. “But I can’t. Nobody can. There are no mulligans and you shouldn’t even offer one.”
Jay Bilas is confident in Loyola Chicago, but he’s not so sure about the Michigan Wolverines. The college basketball analyst feels they have the toughest path for the Final Four, seeing that they’ll play a tough Florida State team this weekend before taking on the winner of Alabama-UCLA.
“To me, it’s not even a close call — Michigan has the toughest path because they’ve got to play Florida State, who’s an outstanding team that’s really deep and athletic,” Bilas continued.
So far, three of Bilas’ original Final Four picks remain alive. That could change in a hurry, given how many upsets there’ve been this year.