It happened last year, and it will happen again this year.
March Madness is upon us.
-Don’t pick a low seed as your Champion.
Then Michigan State tipped off with No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee State and two hours later millions of brackets, including mine, were damaged beyond fix. I feel like they’re playing the best basketball they’ve played all season.
How do you explain that?
Until then, college basketball fans all over the country will be filling out their brackets.
In terms of this season, the Tar Heels are averaging 84.9 points per game, and they are about to go up against a No. 16 seed. The program has since become a powerhouse in the Atlantic Sun and have won 19 of their last 21 games heading into the tournament. For the past three decades, a large percentage of sports fans participate in a bracket style competition to pick winners for each game. And they didn’t just get in the bracket, they are a nine seed, which means they have pulled some strings.
Remember “Dunk City” a.k.a Florida Gulf Coast and its run to the Sweet 16 back in 2013?
Over the past six years, the average No. 2 seed has won 2.2 games per tournament, nearly one game fewer than the No. 1 seeds – roughly the difference between a Sweet 16 and Elite Eight appearance. This year the center of attention has been actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (just Google her name and “basketball”). Wichita State is perhaps the deepest team in the tournament, and regularly play a 10 man rotation.
With 12 appearances since 1990, Murray State has a history with March Madness.
So at a blistering pace of one bracket per second, it’ll only take you 292 billion years or so. Louisville went on to beat MI for the championship. Why not pick UCLA to go to the Final Four so we can get as much of it as possible? Undoubtedly, there will also be upsets that don’t make this list.
You factor in Gonzaga’s ability, Arizona’s talent, Florida State’s talent, all the coaching, and this is as strong as West as we’ve seen in nearly 10 years.
In the East, I don’t like Villanova’s draw as much. Two leading candidates for National Player of the Year. Mark Few’s team is Final Four-good on every level, but I still question whether it can get through potential matchups with battle-tested teams like Notre Dame and Arizona, which would have a monstrous Final Four homecourt advantage in Phoenix. On the other hand, the Big Ten’s highest-seeded team was Purdue, which was the last No. 4 on the selection committee’s S-curve.
Now, on to a few overall picking tips, culled from NPR’s Tom Goldman, who knows a thing or two about the tournament. Keep an eye out for the Atlantic 10 champion Rhode Island, as they are one of the hottest teams in the country. URI played itself off the bubble and into the tournament by soundly winning the Atlantic-10 and securing a matchup with No. 6 seed Creighton. Duke, Kentucky and Arizona will be populating National Basketball Association rosters for years with the rosters they have. While the Zags and Wildcats are rather inexperienced – and haven’t been all that successful – in this spot, North Carolina and Kansas Jayhawks are the complete opposite.
TOUGH BREAK: Gonzaga enters this tournament with the best record in the field, 32-1. Five teams went to the women’s Final Fours once during the time-while 11 men’s teams went once during the same period.
In comparison, the next best school is Kentucky, with eight total championships.
OR losing three-point shooting rim protector Chris Boucher to a torn ACL during the Pac-12 tournament contributed to its tourney final loss to Arizona; it probably also led to the selection committee dropping it to a No. 3 seed.
Here’s my Final 4: “Kentucky, Villanova, Louisville and Arizona”.