Way-Too-Early Final Four
Hopefully all the principles had their redshirts in and accepted by the time I started crushing the numbers and doing comparisons for adjusted attributes and the like. As always, these are in no particular order except for alphabetical.
Emory (phalla, Preseason No. 6, 28-9 last season, National Champion) -- Once again, I have a situation where I didn't pick a team to win its conference that subsequently turns around and grades out in the top four when compared among the other elite squads of the world and redshirt players are removed from the equation. The defending champs have great upperclass representation with 8 juniors/seniors on the roster. A started adjusted Ath/Spd/Def of 61-52-59 is solid and low-to-mid 40s to begin in BH-Pass will keep turnovers down.
Johnson and Wales (spasticity, No. 10, 24-8, Sweet 16) -- The GNE representative in this year's WTEFF. Rupp's longtime juggernaut is in year 3 of a shift to the fast break and should be ready to ride it back toward the top of the charts. The "big three" stat categories are all in the lower 50s and, aside from possibly being a shade light in the rebounding department, there's not really a glaring weakness that I can see. Like Emory, solid ball handling and passing will make turnovers harder to create and the largest stable of players rated 600+ among Rupp's top teams signals little dropoff in ability.
Susquehanna (zeuspole, No. 11, 28-4, Sweet 16) -- This is a blue collar team. Zeuspole doesn't have any single super-flashy player. He's just going to kill folks with good, solid depth with nine upperclass players and nine players who rate 560 or higher overall. 59/53/57 in the big three categories and 48-43 in BH and Passing. The LP value of 23 is a touch low and concerning to a degree, but, oh, that depth, that depth, that depth. Combine it with zeus' consistently solid coaching ability and this group will be a force to be reckoned with in Season 67.
Texas Lutheran (blapo21, No. 2, 25-6, Sweet 16) -- When I was doing the conference picks, Texas Lutheran jumped out immediately and I was tempted to think they would dominate this season. Having sized up the rest of Rupp, I'll assure everyone that it isn't a runaway, but TL will likely be among the last teams standing. An adjusted Ath score in the 60s, three players beginning the year at 700+ (nobody else I looked at had more than 1), Top 25 speed and defense and an LP score that would fit in better at D2. The only noted weakness might come from a merely average passing score, but TL's athleticism should have it blowing past opponents, so who needs to pass the ball?
Others strongly considered -- Wisconsin-Superior, Ursinus, Louisiana, Shenandoah, Webster, Newbury, Austin, Suffolk and North Carolina Wesleyan.