3 Dark Horse Teams to Make it To the Final Four (Hurricanes, Hokies, Catamounts Have Value)

Mar 12, 2022; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Justyn Mutts (25) reacts after
Mar 12, 2022; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Justyn Mutts (25) reacts after / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like every year, at least one unlikely team makes a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, busting brackets and causing mayhem along the way.

We're all out here hoping to snag some cash and inspire envious looks from friends, family, and coworkers as we proudly beam over our beautiful bracket. Few feelings make you feel as accomplished as you do when you nail the underdog winner. Shoot, I picked Kemba Walker and UConn back in 2011 and now have a dog named Kemba. Those victories stay with you a while.

So what teams are poised to make a deep run and make you look like a genius this year? Let's take a look at three dark horse teams to consider as you painstakingly try to create the perfect bracket.

3 Dark Horse Teams to Make The Final Four

There's a few factors I'm looking for here.

First, I need a dark horse to be elite at something. Whether that's offense or defense, I don't really care. I just need you to have an identity you can fall back on. Second, you need a stud. In March, with all the pressure and turbulence of a single-elimination tournament, I want my dark horse to have someone that can steady the ship when the game looks grim. Third, I'd prefer you shoot three-pointers well and protect the ball on offense. All you need is a few games of flaming hot shooting and you're in the Final Four. So give me a team that has shown they can catch fire from deep.

With that in mind, let's see who fits the mold:

Miami (FL)

WynnBET has the Hurricanes at +20000 to win the NCAA Tournament. They're the No. 10 seed in the South Region and have a difficult matchup against USC in the first round, but if they can make it past the Trojans I think they'll make the Elite Eight.

I've been betting Miami as underdogs the entire year. They're 9-2 against the spread (ATS) as an underdog behind an excellent offense that KenPom has as the 17th-best in the country. Kameron McGusty, Isaiah Wong, and Charlie Moore can all explode in any game and they have a deep, experienced roster. Plus, we know they can stay calm in a tight game.

Their defense is a concern, but I believe they'd beat Auburn in the second round behind far superior guard play and I'd argue they should be favored over Wisconsin or LSU in the Sweet 16. With an offense that ranks in the 74th percentile in three-point shooting percentage, they're capable of getting hot beyond the arc.

Finally, their 98th-percentile ranking in steal rate and 97th-percentile ranking in turnover percentage means they'll likely win the turnover battle in every round they play. Add it all up and you've got a dark horse contender.

Virginia Tech

+10000 to win the title at WynnBET, the ACC Tournament Champion Hokies are one of the hottest teams in the country. Despite being an 11-seed in the East Region, they've won 13 of their last 15 games and are in the 98th percentile in offensive rating over their previous five.

Keve Aluma leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game, but they're a loaded roster and have the third-highest three-point shooting percentage in all of college basketball. With a 94th-percentile in turnover rate over their last five, they're protecting the ball and have a coach in Mike Young that is one of the very best in the nation.

I love their draw too. They're flat out better than Texas and would take on a Purdue team in the second round that hasn't covered the spread in over a month. Kentucky would be tough to beat in the Sweet 16, but the Wildcats defense has faltered of late, ranking in just the 16th percentile in rating over their last five, and the Hokies will be prepared to take advantage.

Virginia Tech's low seeding is a result of poor play early in the season but they're hot now. Just like Kemba and UConn used the momentum from a conference tournament win to propel them to the Final Four, I can see a confident Hokies bunch steamroll their way to the Sweet 16 and beyond.


The Catamounts are +30000 at WynnBET to win the NCAA Tournament but make no mistake, this team is good. One of the most experienced teams in America, Vermont has won 22 of 23 games while being in the 97th percentile in offensive rating and 96th in defensive.

They have one the 15th-lowest offensive turnover rate nationally and are the best defensive rebounding team in the sport, so teams won't get easy buckets or second-chance opportunities against them.

Facing Arkansas in the first round won't be easy, but Vermont is much deeper than the Razorbacks and have been flat out better, ranking in the 100th percentile in net rating over their last five compared to the 31st for Arkansas. Their potential opponents in the second round don't scare me though Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 would obviously be tough. But the Bulldogs have looked vulnerable of late and there's no better team to take advantage of that than the Catamounts.

As you're filling out your bracket, just remember these three teams. They're all poised to make a deep run to the Final Four and could very well win you your bracket challenge.

Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.

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