March Madness has finally arrived! After making 299 predictions during the conference tournament season it's time to reveal "The Key" for the Big Dance. Here's the bracket with all the ridiculous justifcation to follow:
There's two main teams to keep an eye on for a Cinderella run: College of Charleson and Loyola-Chicago. I like College of Charleson to advance to the Sweet 16 and I think Loyola could get there too with a win over Tennessee. I lean Vols, but it's close.
I like Davidson over and South Dakota State over Ohio State in the first round. I think the Jackrabbits are poised for a win if their key players perform as they did in the Summit League Tournament. Beyond that, I think a battle-tested Providence squad will upset North Carolina in the 2nd round, and I really like Arizona over Virginia. The Cavaliers lost a key player going into the tournanament, but regardless, I think Arizona has the overall skill and talent to beat Virginia. Advancing further, I like Gonzaga to knock off Xavier on their way to the elite eight. Their experience from last year's title game run will carry the Zags.
The Final Four
Arizona: They're athletic as all get-out and easily the deepest team in the tournament. 11, yes 11, players on the Wildcats average 10 minutes or more per game. No other squad can roll that many players. Additionally they have one of the best players in the country leading the way. Arizona is poised for a Final Four run and I like them to get to the championship game.
Michigan: This team is peaking at the right time. The Wolverines marched their way through the Big Ten Tournament and I think that momentum carries over. Their 6'11" big man that can work inside and outside will provide headaches for opposing defenses all the way to San Antonio.
Villanova: Balance and experience carry these Wildcats to the Final Four. This team can score with anyone and if there's one question mark it's on the defensive side of the ball. I don't think that's enough to slow down this team though. They have a head coach that has led this team here before, and the last time the Final Four was in Texas, Villanova cut down the nets. I think the 'Cats are poised to do the same here for the second time in three years.
Kansas: This was a tough call between Kansas and Michigan State. It's so close that my defining factor comes down to the three keys in business: Location, location, location. Kansas opens with two games in Wichita, KS - they had 13,500 people in attendance for their PRACTICE yesterday. From there, Kansas moves on to Omaha, NE - another easy place to get to for Jayhawk fans. Given those two factors - I think the environment is enough to get Kansas to the Final Four.
Enjoy the games!