For the first time in about two years, we have March Madness basketball coming up today. The First Four will be played today (3/18), and the First Round begins tomorrow (3/19). I thought about writing an article on a specific team (favorite contender, Cinderella squad, etc.), but I decided to share my bracket and a few takes. My full bracket is pictured below.
The undefeated Zags will win the tournament. Their offense is just too overpowered to be stopped. As a team, they average 92.1 points per game and have a field goal percentage of 55.1%. Corey Kispert (19.2 PPG) and Drew Timme (18.7 PPG) lead the team, while freshman phenom Jalen Suggs (14.3 PPG) runs the offense. Guards Joel Ajayi and Andrew Nembhard round out their starting five. This is a lethal team that no one can match on offense.
Illinois, Baylor, and Texas will join the Zags in the Final Four. All are well-rounded teams with multiple threats on offense. Illinois is led by the big man-guard tandem of Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu. Baylor has a strong guard trio of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell. The same goes for Texas with their trinity of Andrew Jones, Matt Coleman III, and Courtney Ramey.
My top Cinderella team is #13 Ohio. They won the MAC Tournament, and during the regular season, they lost to Illinois by just two points. Point guard Jason Preston is the motor of this team, as he does everything for the Bobcats. The rest of their team is filled with steady role players. Ohio has a great chance of beating Virginia, as the latter deals with COVID complications. Unfortunately, Ohio’s run will not extend past the Sweet 16 due to the dominance of Gonzaga.
I did not have a ton of First Round upsets, but these three teams have a legitimate shot of breaking brackets. Syracuse has a solid squad that has played a much higher level of competition than San Diego State. UCSB plays a Creighton team that has had its fair share of internal issues. Do-it-all guard JaQuori McLaughlin will lead the Gauchos to a surprising win. As for Michigan State, we all know they’ve been here before. Aaron Henry and Joshua Langford both played key roles in MSU’s 2019 run to the Final Four.
My bracket gets a little crazier beyond the First Round, specifically with Oregon and LSU. Prior to the Pac-12 semis, Oregon was as hot as any team in the nation. The Ducks are experienced, as they are led by seniors Chris Duarte, Eugene Omoruyi, and LJ Figueroa. It feels like the Ducks are always making improbable runs in March Madness, so I’m riding them all the way to the Elite 8 this year. As for LSU, they are a top scoring team in the nation. Cameron Thomas (22.6 PPG), Trendon Watford (16.7 PPG), and Ja’Vonte Smart (15.9 PPG) lead the way. Michigan will have a tough time keeping up with their second-best scorer, Isaiah Livers, out.