11 dark horse Final Four teams in men’s college basketball, ranked by Andy Katz

These are the dark horse teams I believe can make a Final Four run. What does that mean? You’ve got to be outside the top 10 or not be a team traditionally picked for the Final Four.

1. TCU: The Horned Frogs were picked fourth in the Big 12 preseason poll and checked in at No. 14 in the AP preseason top 25. Still, the Horned Frogs are hardly ever considered a Final Four team. But this season the Frogs have the goods, led by Mike Miles to make a deep run.

2. Illinois: The Illini were picked second in the Big Ten and it may sound odd to pick them as a dark horse but the Illini lost their entire starting five. And yet the additions of Big 12 transfers Terrence Shannon Jr., and Matthew Mayer have made Illinois a legit threat.

3. Xavier: The Musketeers were picked second in the Big East and have all the pieces for Sean Miller to coach them deep. Colby Jones, Jack Nunge, Adam Kunkel, Zach Freemantle and Souley Boum are all high producers.

4. San Diego State: The Aztecs will defend. That’s a guarantee. But the return of Matt Bradley and Nathan Mensah should provide the necessary offense for the Aztecs to be a threat.

5. Michigan State: Wait, what? The Spartans as a Final Four dark horse? Yes. Michigan State has a core returning led by Jaden Akins, AJ Hoggard, Tyson Walker, Malik Hall and Joey Hauser. There is enough production back and a determination to get back to the top for the Spartans to make a run.

6. Wyoming: The Cowboys have a 1-2 punch of Hunter Maldonado and Graham Ike and the experience of being in the NCAA tournament a year ago. Look out for Pokes!

7. Dayton: The Flyers bring back two of the best freshmen in the country in DaRon Holmes II and Malachi Smith. If the rotation players can contribute then Anthony Grant has another gem in Dayton.

8. Florida: The Gators have a dominant big in Colin Castleton and a star incoming transfer point guard Kyle Lofton from St. Bonaventure. Todd Golden will work the analytics to his advantage to get the Gators back in the Dance.

9. Miami: The Hurricanes got to the Elite Eight last season, but have one of the top scoring backcourts in the country in Isaiah Wong and the transfer of Kansas State’s Nijel Pack.

10. Saint Louis: This team is loaded. And what wins in March? Great guards. Yuri Collins may be the best distributor in the country by season’s end. He has the goods to lead SLU on a run.

11. Saint Mary’s: Randy Bennett will have a senior-laden squad again with Logan Johnson, Alex Ducas and Kyle Bowen. Yes, they lost Tommy Kuhse, Matthias Taas and Dan Fotu, but the Gaels aren’t going anywhere and are every bit a threat for a run.

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