The Final Four is set as the NCAA Tournament rolls on to Saturday’s matchups! We have Alabama vs. UConn and NC State vs. Purdue facing off for the right to compete for the National Championship. 




I only nailed one of the Final Four teams in 2024, but as you can see from my March Madness bracket, my selected champion in UConn is still alive and well. Let’s get right into my Final Four predictions and NCAA basketball picks for both of Saturday's games. Keep in mind, the below March Madness odds and betting lines are accurate as of this writing. 

Be sure to shop around for the best odds at your preferred sportsbook. Below, I’ve identified individual picks and laid out both an NC State vs. Purdue prediction along with an Alabama vs. UConn prediction. 

2024 Final Four Predictions & NCAA Basketball Picks: Saturday, 4/6

#11 NC State vs. #1 Purdue Prediction: Wolfpack +9.5 (-114 at FanDuel)

Our first Final Four showdown on Saturday features No. 1 seed Purdue against No. 11 seed North Carolina State. The Boilermakers were always a national title contender ever since they suffered a first-round upset to 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, were never supposed to be here and to say this run to the Final Four is surprising is putting it lightly.

BetMGM Sportsbook has Purdue as a 9.5-point favorite with a 145.5 over/under. Let’s dive into why we’re backing NC State to cover the spread in this Final Four matchup.

First off, there’s no denying how awesome Purdue has been in the March Madness bracket and all season long. The Boilermakers handled a very good Tennessee squad in the Elite Eight with a 72-66 win. Zach Edey, en route to back-to-back National Player of the Year honors, is putting up unreal numbers every game and looks unstoppable at times. 




As for NC State, the remarkable run continues. A month ago, the Wolfpack weren’t even on the NCAA Tournament bubble but earned an auto berth by winning the ACC league tourney with five wins in five days. Fast forward and NC State now finds itself in the Final Four following upsets of Duke, Marquette, and Texas Tech in the process. 

Simply put, though, this spread is giving too many points to an NC State team that continues to defy the odds. The Wolfpack are playing at a much higher level than its No. 11 seed indicates and should give Purdue a fight. 

Of course, Purdue is elite offensively with Zach Edey as the headliner. He’s asserting his will in the paint while anchoring the Boilermakers’ second-best offense in college basketball (per KenPom).

However, NC State’s defense has particularly stepped up lately – holding opponents to under 40% shooting for six straight games in this current run. During the NCAA Tournament, the three-point defense has also improved a ton. Duke (25% from three) and Marquette (13%) both struggled to get scoring from the perimeter in the Wolfpack’s past two victories. 

One area that NC State does have a notable advantage over Purdue is in the turnover department. The Wolfpack don’t turn the ball over often, boasting the 9th-best offensive turnover rate in college basketball this season. They feature a number of trustworthy veterans in the backcourt with DJ Horne, Michael O’Connell, Casey Morsell, and Jayden Taylor all being capable ball-handlers.




Now, let’s get to the big man down low. DJ Burns is proving to be a true X-factor offensively, scoring 29 points vs. Duke to continue his strong postseason. Burns has the footwork and touch around the rim to go right at Edey and still be effective despite the tough matchup. While Burns may be the headliner, NC State also gets plenty of offensive production from its role players. 

They have four players averaging at least 10 PPG during the NCAA Tournament. Defensively, big man Mohamed Diarra gives the Wolfpack extra size to guard Edey inside and contest the boards on the defensive end. He may be overshadowed by Burns right now, but Diarra could be the real difference-maker in this game to go toe-to-toe with Edey on defense. 

Speaking of role players stepping up, Purdue has gotten inconsistent scoring from anyone outside of Zach Edey. Point guard Braden Smith is a good floor general with plenty of assists, but he’s only scored in double figures twice in the past six games. Lance Jones and Fletcher Loyer can both get hot from three but have also been up and down during the postseason. 

Beyond the X’s and O’s of this matchup, NC State also brings in a ton of momentum and newfound confidence. This team lost its last four games of the regular season to finish 17-14 overall and sub-.500 in ACC play. 

Yet, the mentality and vibes have completely flipped during its current nine-game winning streak. If you listen to any interviews with DJ Burns, head coach Kevin Keats, or any other Wolfpack player, they firmly believe this run of success was always there but just never came to fruition. 

We know Purdue is always capable of beating any opponent by double-digits, hence the large spread in the Boilermakers’ favor. Yet, NC State is a feisty opponent right now and won’t back down from this matchup – just as its proven time and time again this past month. 

The Wolfpack are now on a 7-1 ATS run with all seven covers as underdogs. On that note, NC State is 12-6-1 ATS as an underdog this season and 8-0 ATS when getting seven or more points. For what it’s worth, Purdue is 11-13 ATS when favored by seven or more. 




#4 Alabama vs. #1 UConn Prediction: Huskies -11.5 (-110 at FanDuel)

The Final Four nightcap matchup on Saturday pits No. 4 seed Alabama against the reigning national champs, No. 1 seed Connecticut. BetMGM Sportsbook has the Huskies favored by 11.5 points with an over/under of 160.5. Let’s see how to bet this showdown. 

If you haven’t noticed, UConn is a juggernaut right now. The Huskies dominated Illinois in the Elite Eight, winning by 25 points and featuring a 30-0 run at one point. They’ve now won all four NCAA Tournament games by at least 17 points and have led by at least 30 points in each victory. 

UConn is simply crushing teams and it’s very reminiscent of how last year’s title run went. The Huskies have now won 10 straight NCAA Tournament games by 13+ points, dating back to last March’s domination, and are 10-0 ATS in the past two tourneys. UConn is now 13-2 ATS in its past 15 games overall. Last year, the Huskies also went 13-2 ATS over their final 15 contests. We’re essentially seeing this team do exactly what it did a season ago – but with a better squad this time around. 

Alabama always has the potential to outscore any team in the country with its fast-paced, potent offense. At their best, the Crimson Tide can put up 90-100 points and force teams to match them offensively. 

However, their three-point shooting is the big X-factor – for better or worse. When the Tide are making threes, they can shoot their opponent out of the building in a blink of an eye. When they go cold from deep, the Bama offense can go through extended scoreless stretches. That’s also when the defensive issues and inconsistencies come to the forefront. 




UConn has the elite ability to exploit both extremes and continue doing what it’s done to every team in its path thus far. The Huskies are holding opponents to 30.9% from three-point range this season with the fourth-best defensive efficiency in the sport overall. Illinois (26%), San Diego State (23%), and Northwestern (27%) all struggled from three against UConn in the past three games. While Alabama is a more dangerous perimeter threat than those squads, there’s boom-or-bust potential. 

Alabama is bound for some negative regression with its three-point shooting. The Tide shot 42% from three with 11 makes against UNC in the Sweet 16. They shot 44% with 16 threes against Clemson in the Elite Eight. That’s unsustainable, especially against an elite-level defense like UConn’s. 

In fact, we’ve seen the Tide struggle from three against top-tier competition all season. In losses to Tennessee (19% from three), Arizona (20%), Creighton (18%), Tennessee again (24%), Auburn (34%), and Kentucky (35%) – they underperformed from deep. 

Facing a high-scoring offense like Alabama’s could be a challenge for UConn, but that didn’t matter against Illinois in the Elite Eight. Like the Crimson Tide, the Illini also boasted a top-5 offense in college basketball and still got blown out. Also similar to Illinois, this Alabama defense is still subpar and very shaky. 

Alabama ranks 104th nationally in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. While the Tide are always a threat to score 90+ points, they can just as easily give up 90. In the past 10 games, Bama’s defensive woes have been exploited by numerous opponents with Clemson (82 points), UNC (87), Charleston (96), Florida (102 and 105), Arkansas (88), Tennessee (81), Ole Miss (88) and Kentucky (117) all putting up big numbers. 




UConn is No. 1 in offensive efficiency in college basketball, per KenPom, and it’s taken advantage of soft defenses all year. Specifically, the Huskies’ top-tier ability to score inside will be a problem for Alabama. Look for Donovan Clingan to dominate inside against a below-average Tide frontcourt while guards Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer, and Stephon Castle attack the interior at will. UConn will be able to go on runs, especially if Alabama isn’t hitting those threes. 

The Huskies’ offense also has significant advantages in a couple of other key areas. UConn doesn’t turn the ball over often and has an elite offensive rebounding rate. Meanwhile, Alabama ranks 291st and 272nd in defensive turnover rate and defensive rebounding rate, respectively.

It’s also worth noting that we’ve arguably yet to see UConn play its best offensively in this NCAA Tournament. The Huskies shot just 18% from three against Illinois and 13% from three vs. Northwestern – and still won by 25 and 17 points, respectively. When they did shoot it better against San Diego State in the Sweet 16, we saw a 30-point UConn victory. 

If you’re scared off by the double-digit spread, just consider these numbers. UConn has covered eight straight as a double-digit favorite and is now 14-7 ATS as a double-digit favorite this season. Plus, the Huskies are 20-7 ATS when favored by less than 20 points. 

Meanwhile, Alabama is just 3-6 ATS as underdogs this season and 1-4 ATS as underdogs of at least five points. Take UConn to win comfortably and don’t overthink it.