It’s that time of year again. Kids and Teachers a like cause schools to slow down. You and your Colleagues at work all wondering who’s taking the Annual March Madness Pot home because Drinks are on YOU this weekend.
This year has a little bit different feel then previous, with no undefeated teams, and even the current #1 team in the nation, Villanova, having lost three Games all to AP Poll top 25 teams. Although the Bracket is not fully Set in stone, we have a general idea of What teams will have to Go through to get to the Final Four. In this post instead of choosing the Winner of each Game from the beginning I will be choosing my Elite 8 Down to who I think will be the National Champion. Keep In Mind there are 3 to 4 more games of regular season to account for, which I will look at to predict accordingly to any losses that might happen to change the setup of the bracket before March Madness
Elite 8 Match Up – Duke vs Maryland
Duke Went into Chapel Hill and Knocked off North Carolina! FSU, Pitt, and Wake Forest stand in there way before they finish the regular season at home once more against the Tar Heels. That being said I think that Dukes Slow start to the season took a huge turn in that North Carolina Game and even if they lose Going into March they have found more of an identity. This also takes into account that West Virginia Wins out and Stays at the #3 spot in the east. If they lose and Duke and West Virginia switch you would be better off Taking Villanova over West Virginia Instead of Duke over Villanova.
Elite 8 Match Up – UNC vs Oklahoma
The Tar Heels have one of the hardest last 4 games of the regular season. Beating UVA after beating Miami will be exactly the kind of Momentum they’ll be looking for to go into Duke and Redeem themselves before tourney play. Having to go up against Oregon, Florida, or Indiana shouldn’t be a problem for UNC as long as Coach Roy Williams sticks to his game plane and Potential Player of the year Brice Johnson keeps his team motivated. Oklahoma’s last 4 games should prove to be games to keep them “warm” before march, middle of the pack teams who have good wins like OSU and Baylor will keep Buddy Hield from feeling like it’s an easy road to a #1 spot in the tourney. Syracuse is potentially the only upset I see in my eyes but not with much chance.
Elite 8 Match Up – Kansas vs Miami (FL)
I don’t really see anyone in the Midwest being able to beat Kansas. Miami plays UVA, ND, and Louisville before March Starts. Although you want to be tested before Madness having to play too many close games can tire you out. Even if they lose two of their last four they are still the second best team in the Midwest talent wise (Although UNC did Blow them out).
Elite 8 Match Up – Michigan State vs Iowa State
UVA comes into play again with this being the part of the bracket where they hold the #1 seed. They have by far the hardest road to a National Championship. The teams they will have to beat to get to the finals are Miami, UNC, Clemson, Louisville, (that’s before the tourney which can leave you gassed) then once they get to the tourney they go against the likes of Xavier, MSU, UConn and Perdue all formidable teams. Wondering why I’m talking about them but not keeping them in my elite 8? Iowa State has beaten some of the best teams in the nation. Also lost against some of the best, but the point spread at the end of the game is close. They still face KU one more time before March Madness but if they can keep the ball safe they’ve been able to show they can play defense and score and do not become one dimensional playing the other teams game.
UNC vs Maryland
Michigan State vs Kansas
UNC vs MSU
MSU Wins Final Score Total 159
Tom Izzo has year after year shown he can make a National Title Competitor. With his Last National Title coming in 2000, since then he has hasn’t missed the NCAA Tournament and added numerous elite 8 and final Four appearances to his resume. This year like others before has Izzo in great position to prove once and for all the Big 10 can go through out of conference teams to get a national title. He plays a number of really talented teams and I get worried when they play teams they know they should dominate. I feel like they loose motivation and fight which causes them to let up big stretches where other teams score on them. Izzo Is tested and has been here before, behind senior Leader Valentine i think Izzo Finally adds another National Title to his list of accomplishments.