The Super Bowl and March Madness are the most watched sporting events in the United States. They have become extremely popular because of office pools. The casual fan gets involved because they have a chance to win money. Below is a cheat sheet and things to “Look out for” when filling out your brackets.
If you are picking teams that are seeded 8 or higher to win the Championship you are wasting money. Only two teams, 1985, #8 Villanova and 2014, #7 UConn have won titles. Only four teams with a ranking of 11 or higher have made the Final Four.
1986: #11 LSU
2006: #11 George Mason
2011: #11 VCU
2018: #11 Loyola Chicago
None of the teams above made it to the Championship Game.
The Most popular upset is #12 vs #5 Seed.
March Madness veterans are all fully aware of the mystique surrounding the 12-5 matchup, there has been at least one 12-5 upset in 28 of the past 33 years. If you want to pick more upsets, 10 and 11 seeds surprise teams as well.
Intriguing Early Round Matchups:
#7 Louisville vs. #10 Minnesota…
Richard Pitino will lead his Minnesota team against his father’s (Rick Pitino) former team.
#3 LSU vs. #14 Yale…
The Ivy league winner could win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament. They are a very good team and could surprise LSU.
#8 Utah State vs. #9 Washington…
The Huskies are a team that won the PAC-12 regular season title but they come into the tournament with a ton of offensive issues.
#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Oregon…
If you love defense and turnovers this game could be for you. I wouldn’t be shocked if the winner of this game scores under 50 points. If Oregon gets passed a tough Wisconsin team, they could make it all the way to the Final Four. Payton Prichard, Oregon’s point guard, is the best player in the country no one knows about.
North Carolina has the hardest road to get to the Final Four. They may have to face teams like Kentucky, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas and or Auburn.
Duke has the easiest road. Michigan State and Virginia Tech could give Duke some problems, VA Tech beat Duke at home this season.
I am not buying into #1 Virginia. UVA has been one of the best defensive teams in the country over the past 7 years, but they haven’t made it to the Final Four. Last year they lost to #16 UMBC. It was the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament that a #16 seed upset #1 seed. Virginia will have to score in the mid 70s to advance consistently and I don’t think they can do it.
Final Four Prediction:
#1 Duke vs. #3 Texas Tech
#1 North Carolina vs. #12 Oregon
Duke is the only team in the NCAA Tournament that has 4 players who can shoot the three and take their defender off the dribble. They also have 4 players who are capable of scoring 20 points per game in Zion Willamson, Tre Jones, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish. All four will be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft this year. The Only way Duke Loses is face a team that plays a great zone defense. Duke has struggled to shoot the three all season long.
Duke 81 North Carolina 76
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