NCAA March Madness: Tournament Outrights

By @Joes_Picks

March Madness is finally here and that means it’s time to do what everyone else is doing, try and predict this year’s winner of the NCAA tournament. Last year we got a big-time matchup between the 2 best teams all season in Gonzaga and Baylor, but will that happen again this year? There has been a lot more parity at the top of college basketball this season and hasn’t been dominated by 2 teams like it was last year so I think it will be very interesting to see who makes it all the way to the championship. I am going to break down 2 teams, one team from each side of the bracket who I think has the best chance to make the championship and then I will predict who I think will win. 

On the left side of the bracket, we have the West and East regions headlined by number 1 seeds Gonzaga and Baylor. Baylor has had a really good season, but they are nowhere near the level as last year’s team and I have them losing in the elite 8. Baylor should move past Norfolk St easily and then they’ll have a battle in the round of 32 with whoever they face. If St Marys can win their first game, I would not be surprised at all if a solid defensive and well coached team like the Gaels were to take down Baylor. But I did have Baylor moving on to play Kentucky in the Elite 8. Kentucky is always a well-coached team with coach cal at the helm and this year they have a dominant post presence with Oscar Tshiebwe. Every year that Kentucky made a deep run in the tournament they had a dominant post player. Karl Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis and Now Oscar Tshiebwe. I think Baylor gets knocked off by Kentucky and Kentucky will advance to the final 4 and reach the semi- final game on the left side of the bracket. So I have Kentucky winning the East Region but what about the West?

The west region is headlined by Gonzaga as the overall number 1 seed but there are also some good teams in this region like number 2 seeded Duke, who defeated Gonzaga on a neutral court back in the early parts of the season, and 3 seeded Texas Tech who is always a force come March. Overall, I think Gonzaga is the most talented team in the field and I actually really like that they aren’t coming into this tournament undefeated like last year. There was so much pressure on them last year and most people just assume they will choke again this year, so they are my pick to win the West region. I also think Gonzaga will defeat Kentucky and move onto the championship game as Gonzaga has the post presence inside with Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme to neutralize Tshiebwe and think that the Gonzaga motion offense will be too much for the wildcats to defend. I see Gonzaga moving onto their second straight national title game. 

The right side of the bracket with the South and Midwest regions are much harder to predict. Arizona is the number 2 overall seed and the 1 seed in the South region, and I think they got a very favorable draw. Arizona has been electric on offense this season and many teams in this region are more defensive minded and don’t think they have the firepower to keep up with the Wildcats. Tennessee, Houston, and Villanova are the main teams who I think can challenge Arizona, but I have Arizona taking down Tennessee in a revenge game in the South Region championship to move onto the Final 4. In the Midwest region, Kansas is the number 1 seed, but they are very vulnerable as they can be very bad on defense at times. I do have Kansas moving onto the elite 8 and have them beating Auburn in that matchup to move onto the Midwest championship game. I think Arizona will take down Kansas and in the final 4 and move onto face the Zags in the championship as I just don’t see Kansas being able to stop Arizona’s potent offensive attack. My national championship prediction is Gonzaga Vs Arizona and I firmly believe that this is the year for the Zags. Everyone says that every year and they usually get very close and fall short, but I believe this is the year that Gonzaga gets the job done so my prediction is that Gonzaga will defeat Arizona in the national championship by a score of 84-78 and become this year’s national champion. 

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