One thing I love about college basketball is that it is always changing. Unlike the NBA, where you can get Steph Curry or Giannis Antetokounmpo and be great for 15 years, college programs have a limited window with each player. The best college coaches are constantly restocking the cupboard with fresh talent, and that makes each season and each NCAA Tournament unique.
Still, it can be fun to look to the past when analyzing your bracket to find throughlines between last year’s teams and those that will vie for their own shining moment in the coming weeks. So put on your geneticist cap (note: I don’t think scientists usually wear hats) and join me as we find the teams that share DNA with last year’s Final Four squads.
Every season is unique, so just because a team appears here doesn’t mean they’ll reach the Final Four. Heck, they may not make it out of the first round! It’s called March Madness for a reason. I will, however, take credit if any of these teams do make a run of their own. If they flame out earlier than 2022’s Villanova, Duke, Carolina, or Kansas, we can just blame it on the refs.
I once had a friend that liked to bet on every horse in a race because “it feels good to win.” While this is obviously the logic of a madman, I’m going to borrow a bit of that energy to also give four honorable mentions to increase my chances of looking like I know what I’m talking about. Think of these as second cousins on the basketball family tree; squint a little bit and you can see the resemblance.