It’s always a difficult chore picking the bracket that you think will win all the money. I make about 13 this year because I am really struggling in picking the right amount of upsets. But I’m confident in my final decision (at least I should be to win $1 billion).
The south is the hardest region, no doubt about it. Florida has the best defense in my opinion. They out rebound most of their opponents, and continually get second chance points off of offensive rebounds. That alone should push them ahead of the rest in the region until they face a very good Michigan State team in the final four.
Pittsburgh has a very poor half-court defense. They look more for offensive opportunities and capitalize on them. unfortunately for them they got placed in the south and have to play Florida in the round of 32. If they were placed in the east, I would give them the upset over Virginia.
UCLA is very good at scoring averaging 81.8 points per game in a scheduled that isn’t all that easy. They can put up a legitimate chance on taking down the Gators but with their lack of offensive rebounding, they will come up short.
Syracuse has also looked very inconsistent lately. They started 25-0 but then after a loss to Boston College they have been struggling to get back to that dominance. Jerami Grant was hurt during that time though and now that he is back and has 2 games back under his bet he will be able to dominate the offensive glass and put up the points to complement Tyler Ennis and CJ Fair. This team may look good to make a deep run but Florida may be a little to much for them.
Stanford struggles at offensive rebounding but they have a very good scoring team. New Mexico should be an even competitor, and at the end of the day I think that Stanford can pull off the upset.
The Kansas Jayhawks may not have Joul Embiid but that shouldn’t hurt them until they hit Syracuse in the Sweet 16. They are not the best outside shooting team and that is really the only flaw in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. Kansas will make it to the Sweet 16 but the Orange will be to much for them.
Virginia is a very discipline all around team. They have a big defensive advantage with Akil Mitchell and Justin Anderson on the court. They are both stellar defensive players and can really pull down rebounds but they don’t make a huge impact on the scoring. I think they can’t pass a very good Michigan State team.
Michigan State is the best team in the country. They are healthy and they showed that off in the Big 10 Championship game against Michigan (who I originally had winning it all) where Michigan State won by 14. Tom Izzo has always proved him self to being an outstanding tournament coach and he will pull it off again.
I think that that performance alone shows that they are the best team in the country and that is why I have them winning it all.
North Carolina has never lost in the round of 64…until this year. Providence has a very good free throw shooting team and get many second chance opportunities. In a close game like this game is predicted to be, the Friars free-throw shooting will make the difference and win the game for the upset but they cant make it further than that.
Iowa State does not turn over the ball, no matter who they play. With that kind of ball handling against a very tough scheduled is hard to pick against so because of that they can make it to the elite eight but then they can’t matchup to Michigan State.
Arizona has been the best team in the country for most of the season. With one of the hardest schedules in the country and yet they still succeed is quite impressive. They have everything it takes to make a run into the tournament, until they meet a Wisconsin team that certainly does not struggle scoring.
I think that Oklahoma State is very underrated. Marcus Smart can do a plethora of things on the court (and sometimes in the stands) but the real story is the miss match of Le’Bryan Nash who averages 14 points a game and shoots over 50%. Unfortunately for them they were over looked by the selection committee and will have to play Arizona which I think they will struggle with.
The best offensive team in the country, Creighton, has excelled at shooting 3-pointers. Doug McDermott will get the opportunity to once again show why he is the most efficient player in the NCAA. Averaging 27 points a game its hard to face off against him, but I feel Wisconsin finds a way with Frank Kaminsky.
Wisconsin has a very good resume with wins over Florida, Saint Louis, Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan, and Iowa again. They struggle a little on defense but make up for it in fast break offense. They can make it to the Final Four but they will lose the close game against Louisville.
Many say that Wichita State can’t beat Kentucky because their scheduled was to easy. I say that is bull. They have a tenacious defense that no one has figured out yet because if they did they would have lost a game. They do have to face Louisville however and that is not always an easy task and I don’t think they can pull it off.
Louisville was horribly seeded and deserve a 1 seed, not a 4. They can make life a living hell for teams. They can create chaos for teams and look for them to do that against Michigan and Wisconsin. With a win against #7 Cincinnati, #19 UConn, and #18 SMU (Who got robbed out of the tournament). This team can definitely make it to the championship game with the help of Russ Smith but they will fall short to the great Sparty.
Michigan had a disappointing ending to the Big 10 championship against in state rival Michigan State and they will be looking for revenge in the National Championship. For a while I thought they had a chance at it, but then I started looking at Louisville and I like them to much to have them lose to Michigan.