March Madness Preview and Predictions

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Charlie Abt

It’s every college basketball fan’s favorite time of the year. March Madness has finally returned after being postponed last year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. I expect this year to be one of the craziest we have ever seen. Here’s my preview for the upcoming tournament.

Favorites: The Gonzaga Bulldogs have to be the favorite, they are entering March Madness as the number one overall seed, and they have thus far posted an undefeated record.  People like to point out that they don’t play in a major conference as the main reason why they are undefeated, but that is simply wrong. Gonzaga has beat numerous top 25 teams, including Iowa, the number two seed in their region. They have a loaded with one first-team All-American and two second-team All-Americans. They will look to become the first team since the Indiana Hoosiers to finish the season undefeated. Illinois, another one seed, has one of the best duos in the country in Ayo Dosunmo and Kofi Cockburn that led them to a Big 10 tournament title. Baylor is a team that has struggled recently after they came out of a COVID pause. They were flittering with a perfect season before that and certainly have the talent and ability to contend for a national championship if they can return to form. 

Dark Horse: If I had to pick a team that was seeded four or worse to win the tournament, it would have to be Oklahoma State for me. They have really come along late and made it all the to the Big 12 tournament championship game after being knocked off Baylor. The Cowboys have a really good roster, and they are led by freshman standout and projected number one overall pick in the NBA draft, Cade Cunningham. Cunningham can do it all, and if there was one player that can put his team on his back and lead them to a national championship, it’s him.

Potential First Round Upsets: Probably the most popular first-round upset pick is 12 seeded Winthrop over five seeded Villanova. With Winthrop coming off a one-loss regular season, combined with the fact Villanova recently lost one of their best players and have not played well since it definitely makes this a legit possibility. Virginia is likely going to be on the upset watch for mainly one reason, they recently had a positive COVID-19 test, and they have not been able to practice in a week, and it is unclear if they will be able to before their game vs. Ohio. Of course, there will be more upsets, but right now, those are two that I would not be shocked at all if they were to happen.

Championship prediction: I think the National Championship will be between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Baylor Bears, with Gonzaga claiming its first title in program history.