This time of year is hectic for any fan of college basketball. Many spend countless hours trying to put together “the perfect bracket.”
There are many important factors in picking teams. As history has shown, one of the most essential elements in a team seems to be the ability to catch fire toward the end of the season.
This season, the dark horse of the tournament may well be 7th seeded Florida, out of the West Region. Throughout the regular season, Florida attempted and made more three-pointers than any other team in college basketball. As a team that likes to slow the game down and focus on strength, Florida has a number of versatile players that can keep the play competitive. If these men can make it past 2nd seeded Missouri, they will be in a good position to reach the Elite 8.
Early in the week, it was revealed that 1st seeded Syracuse would lose starting center Fab Melo, Conference defensive player of the year, for the remainder of the tournament due to his lackluster grades. This greatly diminished the chances of Syracuse winning the National Title. It seems likely that Syracuse may lose to the winner of the Wisconsin/Vanderbilt game in the Sweet Sixteen.
With that being said, the main match-up of the tournament will be occurring in the South Region between 3rd seeded Baylor and 2nd seeded Duke. This showdown will likely occur in the Sweet Sixteen. Both teams have tremendous guards and excellent three-point shooting, combined with strong forwards who can seemingly take over the game at any point.
On a personal note, my predictions for the Final Four are Kentucky, Michigan State, Florida State and North Carolina.
Tom Izzo, Michigan State head coach, has brought his team to top seed four times, and for each of those Michigan State has made it to the Final Four. I can’t see it being any different this year.
Kentucky, the overall 1st seed, is quick, strong and can hit a shot from anywhere on the court. I see the semifinal game between them and Michigan State as a down-to-the-wire match with Michigan State holding a slight advantage.
North Carolina has more pro talent than any other team in college basketball. I see them overcoming the surprisingly successful Florida State team.
In the national Championship, I see the talent of North Carolina and the defense-heavy Michigan State Spartans battling to the end. The North Carolina Tar Heels will win 66-58.
March Madness can be an interesting time for friends and families to come together. They fill out their brackets and the trash talking begins.
“My family and friends fill out a bracket every year,” First-Year Maddie Anderson said. “It’s a lot of fun because it’s something everyone can do.”
I wish the very best to you this upcoming tournament. And may your “perfect bracket” not be ruined by the end of day one.