Rothstein: I'll Be "Stunned" If Virginia Doesn't Reach Final Four

Jon Rothstein likes Virginia's draw. He cannot say the same about Gonzaga, Villanova or any Big East team

Tiki and Tierney
March 18, 2019 - 6:47 pm

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Tony Bennett has turned Virginia into one of the best, most consistent programs in the country. The Cavaliers (29-3) are one victory away from winning 30+ games for the fourth time in six seasons. Yet, Bennett has never reached the Final Four. 

CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein, however, believes this is the year. In fact, he would be “stunned” if Virginia didn’t make it to Minneapolis.

“Stunned considering the draw,” Rothstein said on Tiki & Tierney. “I think when you look at the No. 1 seeds in this NCAA Tournament, I think Virginia has one of the better routes to get to Minneapolis. I have Virginia in the Final Four.”

Gonzaga, meanwhile, has a potential treacherous path.

“I think Gonzaga has the toughest (route to the Final Four),” Rothstein said. “Look at the lineup for the Zags. I’ve got Syracuse over Baylor, so now you got a 48-hour turnaround for the 2-3 zone. If you win that, you have Florida State. Then if you win that, you have Michigan. To win those three games in a row (against Jim) Boeheim, Leonard (Hamilton) and (John) Beilein (would be difficult).”

Villanova, meanwhile, has won two of the last three national championships, but Rothstein doesn’t expect Jay Wright’s crew to cut down the nets in 2019. In fact, he doesn’t even expect a Sweet 16 appearance – for any Big East team.

“I don’t believe a Big East team will play in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament,” Rothstein said. “When you look at the Big East right now in terms of their draw: Seton Hall is going to play a really good Wofford team; if you win, you play Kentucky, who will be out for revenge. St. John’s has been a wild card all season. You don’t know which team is going to show up. Marquette, they’re playing Murray State – and unless Murray State plays Duke, Murray State will always have the best player on the floor in the NCAA Tournament. That’s a difficult game.”

And, last but not least, there’s Villanova.

“Villanova is going to play a Saint Mary’s team that beat Gonzaga, and then they’re going to play Purdue,” Rothstein said. “I don’t expect a Big East team to be in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.”

Click below to listen to Rothstein’s interview in its entirety.