I love March Madness. It’s the most exciting time in all of sports. I’m also big into making brackets, but rather than spew out all of my picks (which will probably be wrong), I’ll highlight a few teams I have my eye on.
Teams I Like
- Ohio State: Even though this team has given my Boilermakers plenty of difficulty this year and in years past, I think they’ll play extremely well in the tournament. Why? Jared Sullinger. Unlike, last year’s star Evan Turner, Sullinger plays in the moment. When I watched Evan Turner last year, it was all about his future as an NBA player. Sullinger seems to have a much better head on his shoulders and seems to love playing basketball at Ohio State. There’s nothing I hate more about college basketball than the kids who play college ball for one year because they NBA requires it in order to enter the draft.
- Marquette: I have a good feeling about this team. Although the Golden Eagles had some key losses in their non-conference schedule and didn’t do particularly well in their conference, they play hard. They also have a well balanced team which could work to their benefit if the team gets in foul trouble or faces injury. Their first game is against a vulnerable Xavier team. We could see an upset here.
- Arizona: I like what Coach Sean Miller is doing with his crew and I think that they could make a deep run into the tournament. They beat their conference opponents pretty soundly and have show that they can compete against non-conference schools. Aside from their ugly loss at BYU, I think Derrick Williams and company can do some damage in this years tournament.
- Kansas: Any Bill Self-coached team is going to be good. They have the experience and the weapons both on offense and defense to win big games. This team may have a tough time against Purdue or Notre Dame in the Elite 8, but I think they have a good shot at making it to Houston. The Morris brothers are one of the most effective duos in the country.
- Michigan State: In spite of their issues this season, they have Tom Izzo as their coach and an experienced Kalin Lucas as their leader. That’s all they need.
- Belmont: I could see this team upsetting Wisconsin. They’re one of the top scoring programs in the country and they’re on a 12 game rip. It also helps when you have 4 out of 5 of your top scorers shooting over 40% from the arch. They absolutely manhandled their conference as well.
- Connecticut: Two words: Kemba Walker. That is all.
Teams I Don’t Like
- Alabama State: This team is at .500 on the season. They don’t stand a freaking chance at making it past the first half of the play-in game. If they beat Texas-San Antonio, it would be the biggest upset of the tournament that you would never hear about. With that being said, hopefully the Hornets will still enjoy their trip to the big dance.
- UCLA: The Bruins are too young to make a splash in this year’s tournament. They did win some significant games, but with a freshman and sophomore heavy squad, I just don’t see them beating Michigan State in the first round. They’ll be fine for next year though.
- Vanderbilt: This team would win an award for keeping it close whenever it lost. The problem is that keeping it close doesn’t matter during the tournament. I don’t see this team making it very far when it faces a very hungry Richmond Spider squad in the first round. Sorry Commodores, better luck next year.
- Long Island: The Blackbirds have to play North Carolina in Charlotte in the first round. Enjoy the trip guys, but I think you’re in for a 20+ point loss. This team didn’t play anyone significant all year other than Northwestern and I think it’s about to show.
- Florida: Every time I watched Billy Donovan’s team play I felt like they lacked something important. They didn’t seem to play with the same energy level that I had seen previous Gator squads play with. They’re going to wish they still had guys like Corey Brewer and Al Horford when all is said and done.
- Illinois: The Fighting Illini have shown time and time again this season that they can’t get it done when it matters. I wish I could say that I feel bad for Demetri McCamey and Mike Tisdale, but I don’t. I could care less about Bruce Webber’s team. Even if they beat UNLV, they’ll be no match for Kansas.