It’s that time of year again. With the regular season coming to an end, it’s time to get those brackets out. March Madness is *almost* upon us! With the most exciting time in college basketball season just around the corner, it’s time for some way too early assumptions.
Houston, Alabama, Kansas, UCLA and Purdue currently hold the top five spots, but only four teams will be named one seeds when Selection Sunday comes around. These five teams also have the best odds of winning the NCAA tournament. Tournament time always presents a new set of challenges, with different teams and different matchups every night. With so many questions surrounding each team that is hoping to have their name called on Sunday, March 12 during the selection show, four questions stand out to me the most:
Does Alabama have the willpower to go all the way?
Will UNC make it in?
Is Duke heating up at the right time?
Who is this year’s “Cinderella team?”
All great questions, of course, but we know that it’s difficult to answer them without seeing how it all plays out in March. However, that never stops us from making our predictions.
The Alabama men’s basketball team has had a season like no other, in both a good and a very, very bad way. As the number two team in the nation, Alabama has a great chance of being named a one seed going into the tournament. However, having freshman phenom Brandon Miller making national headlines in connection to a shooting in January is putting a damper on the unprecedented season this team is having, unfortunately. Nonetheless, if the Crimson Tide can refocus and get their point guards back in the swing of things, this team has what it takes to be the ones cutting down nets in April.
Alabama point guard Jahvon Quinerly
UNC men’s basketball has also had a historic season, but not in a good way. They are currently tied for the most losses of any preseason number one with 11. Having gone all the way to the National Championship game last season, it’s safe to say that this is not the direction the Tar Heels want to be trending in going into March.
UNC point guard Caleb Love
UNC’s rival down the road has had their fair share of struggles this season as well, but Duke may be turning things around at the right time. With first year head coach Jon Schuyer and essentially a brand new team, the Blue Devils may have finally figured out their winning formula. However, they would have to turn heads in the ACC Tournament to turn their season around and get into the big dance.
Duke basketball’s Tyrese Proctor & Jacob Grandison
The best question of all is, of course, the last one: Who is this year’s Cinderella team? After looking at predictions for Cinderella teams this season, these are a few shockers for me: UNC, Michigan, Miami and Iowa State. Because teams that earn this nickname are the most unpredictable teams in the tournament, it’s tough to try to decipher which teams will get lucky this season and make a historic run of their own.
As always, March is shaping up to be an exciting month for college basketball fans. Hoping that your team has perfected their recipe for success heading into the tournament is a huge part of the fun, and stress of the sport. Every team that is selected wants to be the last man standing, but since that’s not how it works, 67 of the 68 teams selected will have to take it as far as they can and then regroup for next season to do it all over again.