The Bernstein Brief: Final Four Talent A Sign Of The Times

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) North Carolina forward Justin Jackson is the favorite to win the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, facing 7/2 odds per Bovada.lv that place him just ahead of Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss as 4/1 and teammate Joel Berry at 5/1. There are 13 other possibilities on the board, and all have something in common.

It’s possible not one of them is an NBA lottery pick this year.

Jackson is really the only hope, barring an unlikely rise by anybody else due to performance in remaining games or revelation in pre-draft workouts. DraftExpress.com currently projects him to be chosen at the end of that group at No. 12 overall, while NBADraft.net barely has him in the first round, going at No. 28.

Analyst Jeff Feyerer notes that this could portend something never before seen: a Final Four that fails to produce a top-14 draft pick for the first time since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams.

It may just be a quirky anomaly, but it could fuel arguments about how to build successful teams — empowering those who believe it is better to build collegiate continuity with talent that hits the sweet spot, good enough to succeed at that level but not to leave early for the pros after just one year.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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