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Saturday’s 2023 NCAA Final Four Notes & More

And away we go!

Connecticut v Gonzaga
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 25: Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs battles for a rebound during the second half against Donovan Clingan #32 of the Connecticut Huskies in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 25, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The portal opened up wide - it had to, really - as Hunter Dickinson surprised everyone by announcing he’d leave Michigan.

He’s the best available big man and possibly the best player yet to enter the portal. A tweet from College Basketball Report suggested that he may look back home (he’s from the DMV) at Maryland and Georgetown and, possibly, Duke. Another from the same account said that Armando Bacot was going to try to recruit him to UNC.

Then again, Big East Barroom says Villanova is in play.

Just to be clear, we don’t have any insights on where he might end up whatsoever. He could still go to the NBA, obviously. But it’s going to be amazing to watch.

The Final Four gets under way Saturday evening and UConn has two worrisome issues. First, as a faithful Muslim, Adama Sonogo has been fasting, which is something you can plan for. However, Jordan Hawkins was sick Friday and that you can’t plan for. We have no idea how serious it is or anything else, but that’s two starters who may be less than 100 percent.

Muslims are allowed to eat before sunrise and again after sunset as we understand, but more importantly, we don’t believe you are allowed to have any fluids during the day. We’re sure UConn has planned his needs carefully but presumably he would have to ration his activities during the day as well prior to game time. Having the late game helps.

Hawkins may not have a serious problem and Sonogo is hardly the first player to play through Ramadan. Still, it’s something to keep an eye on.

Florida Atlantic and San Diego State open things up in the first game and if you missed this, C-USA teams North Texas and Charlotte won the NIT and the CBI respectively. If FAU manages to win the Big Dance, that would be an amazing post-season for what has always been considered a second-tier conference.

A lot of people kind of miss that San Diego State’s Brian Dutcher was an assistant at Michigan when the Fab Five was there, meaning first for us, that he lost to Duke (three times) and second that the Fab Five gets to vicariously pursue the championship they never could win themselves via the Aztecs.

We have no issues with San Diego State - Steve Fisher and Brian Dutcher have done an insanely good job with the Aztecs - but there is some sort of poetic karma involved if the Fab Five is denied again, even all these years later.