And just like that, the NCAA tournament is over. The Virginia Cavaliers are the 2018-19 National Champions, as I thought they'd be all along. Part of the reason I thought they would win was because they had a really good team all year, only losing to two teams. The other reasons were more of a gambler's fallacy. I thought they would be playing Duke for the title, and I didn't think Duke would beat them 3 times in a season, and I also thought they had a bit of destiny on their side as they were trying to get redemption for last year's first round loss. Not only were they the first #1 to lose to a #16, but last year they were the overall #1 going into the tournament. Looking ahead to next year, I think Virginia will again have a very good team, probably a top 5 team, but likely won't repeat as champs.
I don't think Tennessee will have a great year. They'll have a decent year, make the tournament, and maybe win a couple games, but I don't see them having the success they had this year. Of course Duke and Kentucky will be right up there in the top 5. Like Tennessee, I also don't think Gonzaga will have as good a year. They will be the team that gets every other teams' A game, and I never thought they deserved to be #1 anyway, so they really have nowhere to go except down. North Carolina is losing practically 5 of their best players, so next season I think they'll end up top 25, but won't be nearly as good either. And for Auburn, they were the Cinderella of this year in a way. #5 isn't really that low of a seed, but to get to the Final Four as a #5, especially when all the other Final Four teams were 1-3 was pretty impressive.
Remember the Sweet 16 didn't see any upsets, so for Auburn to almost make the Championship game definitely had a Cinderella feeling to it, but next year I don't think they'll have that magical type of run, finishing just within the top 25. I think Marquette will be really good next year as they return their 5 starters, so they should be a top 5 team. My early pick would be Michigan State. If Joshua Langford was healthy this year, he could have been the difference maker getting MSU from the Final Four to the Championship game, and with him back as well as a four-star recruit freshman coming in by the name of Mark "Rocket" Watts Jr. from Ohio, the Spartans are the early favorite for 2020.