What's the common theme of the 2014 Final Four teams? The new randomness of March Madness, that's what.
The theme is there is no theme, no formula, no grand unifying tie that binds Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Kentucky in any real way.
If you based your predictions on what happened in the 2013-14 regular season, well, your bracket sheet has been crumpled and tossed long ago.
That's ancient history now.
Because the way the NCAA works these days, the basketball regular season is essentially just a setup, a tedious preliminary stage of only casual relation to what happens once the tournament begins.
And the randomness starts to happen.
That's exciting for the brackets; that helps lead to a fascinating tournament full of upsets, and it is also ceaselessly confusing for much of the time.
That's how we've got a Final Four with Florida (a great regular season team), Wisconsin (a good one), UConn (up and down) and Kentucky (very shaky).
There's no specific reason for this. It's mainly happenstance that these four teams got hot and stayed hot for the last few weeks.
All to their credit, by the way.
But still, in the Random Era, there's no clear way to predict which two teams will survive Saturday's semifinals, move on to Monday's national championship game, and which one will cut down the nets at the end.
I'll pick Wisconsin, what the heck, but that's a coin-flip call in a tossup tournament.
Blame the parade of one-and-done college players to the NBA, if you want; nothing destabilizes a program more than the need to reset the team's style and attitude every year.
(And Duke's Jabari Parker, Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and probably Arizona's Aaron Gordon are all one-and-done-with-the-NCAAs.)
Kentucky caught fire when its super freshmen figured out things early last month; last season, with a roster almost as talented, Kentucky withered and collapsed in March.
Or blame poor shooting fundamentals, which can push even the most talented teams into deep scoring droughts and out of the tournament. (Hello, Arizona!)
This is not a terrible situation, by the way, and I'm not making this point to discredit these four deserving teams.
Florida is loaded with savvy seniors, had a great regular season, was anointed the tournament's No. 1 overall seed and moved through the South Regional relatively smoothly.
UConn has the great point guard Shabazz Napier, drew the East's No. 7 seed, then took down the region's No. 2 (Villanova), No. 3 (Iowa State) and No. 4 (Michigan State) seeds in succession.
I'll pick UConn to beat Florida on Saturday.
Wisconsin is built around the inside-outside talents of Frank Kaminsky, had a strong regular season, was given the No. 2 seed in the West and knocked off No. 1 Arizona in the regional final.
And galloping Kentucky is, as usual, loaded with young talent, had a wildly inconsistent regular season, got the Midwest's No. 8 seed, then went on to topple No. 1 Wichita State, red-hot No. 4 Louisville and No. 2 Michigan in order.
I said I'm picking Wisconsin to win it all, so I'm obviously saying the Badgers will beat Kentucky.
Yes, one of these teams will win the tournament, and there will then be a rush to make a grand conclusion about What It Meant.
That UConn won because you need a great guard ...
Or Kentucky proved that the most NBA-level talent always wins ...
Or Wisconsin showed that two-way teamwork trumps all else ...
Or Florida proved that experience is the key ...
But in the regular season, UConn lost to Houston and Stanford, got swept by SMU and lost three times to Louisville.
And Kentucky got swept by Arkansas and went 0-3 against Florida.
Even mighty Florida lost to UConn and Wisconsin in the regular season.
So? There is no conclusion to make, not a real one, anyway. Whoever wins is whoever stays hot, that's pretty much it.
This is fun to watch, but it's a roulette game now.
I picked Michigan State at the start, and now that the Spartans are out, I'm picking Wisconsin from here.
I can't really explain why, and that's the major point of all of this.
At Arlington, Texas
Florida vs. Connecticut,
3 p.m., TBS, TNT*, truTV**
Wisconsin vs. Kentucky,
5:30 p.m. TBS, TNT*, truTV**
* -- Florida, Kent. broadcasts
** -- UConn, Wisc. broadcasts