It’s that time of the year when basketball fans join together to make their brackets towards their predictions on who is winning the March Madness tournament. Fans around the country get to view NCAA Men’s Division 1 top basketball teams of the year take their competitiveness to the next level for the chance of making history.
While the selection process of teams won’t be completed until March 13, there are ranked teams who are a lock to make the tournament. Known teams like Gonzaga, Arizona, Baylor, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, etc. Those who watch March Madness would choose any of these teams to win, as these teams are in the top 25 in the basketball rankings.
March Madness is a big event to look at for the rest of March to early April. The selection process is at 6 p.m. EST on March 13; the First Four games are from March 15-16, the first round 17-18, the second round 19-20, Sweet 16 on the 24th-25th, Elite Eight on 26-27, the Final Four on April 2nd, and the NCAA championship game on April 4th.
One team to look at for the tournament is third-ranked Baylor. Although last year’s Baylor was ranked first on their side of the bracket, the team managed to win the tournament in a great display against first-seeded Gonzaga 86 to 70. The team is well-balanced, with four players averaging double-digits in points with Adam Flagler’s 13.8, LJ Cryer 13.5, James Akinjo 13.3, and Kendall Brown 10.1. Baylor is also great at getting steals and frustrating opponents, ranking 19th in the country with 270 steals, and they don’t give up on offense in 16th on offensive rebounds. This team is very pesky, and I expect them to make a run for winning this tournament as well.
While March Madness is very unpredictable, it is hard for us to pick a defined winner. The reason why we all love this tournament is because of the “madness” factor of it. Top-seeded teams lose in unexpected ways, sleeper teams who had no expectations make it past rounds they were expected to lose, and by that point, everyone’s bracket is destroyed; however, if I choose a team that I can fully trust, Gonzaga.
Gonzaga has dominated opponents all year, winning relatively easily in a “one-sided” contest. With their 26 wins on the season might look good; they’ve lost three challenging games, with one of them being terrible. Losing to 5th ranked Duke in an 81-84 competition on the road resulted from 17 turnovers and a lack of chances to reach the free-throw line. Another loss was against 16th ranked Alabama 91-82. This was due to Gonzaga struggling to score in the first half 51-35. Their constant pushes to come back were held off by Alabama’s hot shooting, leading to a loss at home. Finally, the loss against 23rd ranked Saint Mary’s on the road was tough to watch. Gonzaga scored their lowest points in this 57-67 loss; this was due to poor shooting from Andrew Nembhard, who was 6-18 from the field and 1-5 from three.
While these losses against ranked teams resulted from turnovers or poor shooting contests, Gonzaga is consistent when winning games. However, it is rare to see any of their best players struggle, so be on the lookout for Gonzaga’s deep roster to make a trip to the March Madness championship.
Sources: Gonzaga Athletics, Baylor Athletics, ESPN, NCAA, Sports-reference