GLT's Final Four Masters Mashup

  • Author: Joseph Culverhouse
  • GLT Content Writer & Developer
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With the NCAA Final Four and the Masters happening next week, Team GLT decided to combine the two with our Masters Final Four mashup.

We started by analyzing what makes each Final Four team unique, then tried our best to find the PGA Tour player that most closely fit a team’s profile.

When the teams take the court at the Alamodome for the first session games on March 31, two 1 seeds will face off, with Villanova playing Kansas, while the second game will feature 3 seed Michigan against Loyola-Chicago, a team attempting to become the first 11 seed to ever make an NCAA Final.

So, what characteristics did we find within each team? Let’s start with the 1 seeds.

With odds being placed at 3/1 to begin the tournament, Villanova is the heavy favorite. Over the last four seasons, Villanova has made 2 Final Four appearances, winning the NCAA Championship in 2016. Finding a PGA Tour player that currently fits that program is a bit difficult, but GLT’s choice came down to two guys that have won consistently over the previous four season and have strong odds of winning at Augusta, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. While neither have won a Green Jacket, we consider these two players as our “team” to beat. You may be asking why we didn’t include Jordan Spieth, considering his Masters title in 2015. We saw more of Jordan in another team.

Kansas entered the tournament with 8/1 odds of winning. Knocking off the perennial favorite, Duke, Kansas finds themselves in a position they know all too well. Year after year, tournament after tournament, Kansas always seems to make an appearance. In fact, the Jayhawks hold the NCAA record for most consecutive tournament appearance (this year makes 29.) While he hasn’t been on earth, much less the PGA Tour, for 29 years, GLT’s pick to represent the spirit of Kansas is Jordan Spieth. While he’s struggled a bit recently, Spieth has been the model of consistency since joining the PGA Tour full time in 2013, picking up a FedEx Cup, 11 PGA Tour wins and 3 Majors – including the 2015 Masters – along the way.

 

The Masters 2018

Game two features the darling of the tournament, Loyola-Chicago, vs Michigan. Loyola, along with de facto mascot, Sister Jean, earned their birth in the Final Four by a string of upset victories, beginning with a defeat of 6 seed Miami. Employing a pass-heavy style of play designed to control the pace of the game, and always playing with enormous heart, Loyola is the epitome of the scrappy underdog. Loyola is attempting to return to the Championship round for the first time since 1963. The PGA golfer that most exemplifies the spirit of Loyola is the current Las Vegas favorite, Tiger Woods. Tiger’s play since rejoining the Tour has been nothing short of inspirational. While he can never be consider an underdog due to his historic career, Tiger’s ability to control his game and not let the circumstances dictate the outcome, and his determination to regain his game following his spinal surgery displays the same heart and will as Loyola-Chicago. Fittingly, when Tiger became the first black athlete to win the Masters in 1997, he joined a list of barrier-breaking athletes that included the 1963 Loyola Ramblers, a team that ignored the arrangement of the period to allow no more than three black players per team by starting four, and playing the starting lineup with no substitutions for the duration of the championship game.

The Michigan Wolverines are an oddity among Final Four teams, and NCAA basketball teams, in general. In an era when most premier teams consist primarily of one-and-done players, players playing the league-mandated one season of collegiate basketball before turning professional, the Wolverines squad features a seasoned group of players that should be more than comfortable in the spotlight. After all, Michigan won the tournament in 2016, and have been playing their strongest basketball of the season when it matters most. The GLT pick for PGA golfer that most resembles the Michigan Wolverines is a tie between Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson. Along with having five Green Jackets between them, both golfers have heated up in the weeks leading to the Masters, with Bubba winning the Genesis Open and WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, while Phil claimed the WGC Mexico Championship.

Just to be clear, there’s nothing scientific about these picks. While we may be (so-called) experts on the topics of Motor Learning and The Pre-Shot Routine, we’re not sports bookies. The odds of correctly guessing a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. The odds of team GLT correctly picking a Masters “Final Four?” Well, we’re talking about the guys in the video below, so it’s safe to assume you can multiple that by 3… or 3.14, to be precise.

Tiger Woods Bubba Watson 2018