Tournament Talk–Things to think about before you finalize your bracket…
1) Kentucky will make a big run.
The Wildcats seem just like the 2014 Wildcats, talented and under-seeded. This year’s Kentucky team seemed to get hot at the right time, with their bigs, Skal Labissiere and Alex Poythress, playing their best basketball of the year. Also, Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis together are the best back court in the country.
2) Iona will upset Iowa state.
If there’s a “choker” in the last couple of NCAA tournaments, it’s Iowa State. The Cyclones have only made it to the Sweet 16 once in their last 7 tournament appearances, including a loss to 14 seed UAB last year. Iona also has one of the best players in the nation in AJ English, look for him to have a huge game.
3) Cal will upset Kansas.
Cal is a matchup nightmare for the Jayhawks since most of Kansas’ offense runs through Perry Ellis in the post, and Cal’s Ivan Rabb is a great post defender. Rabb will not completely shut down Ellis, but Rabb’s long wingspan will make it very hard for Ellis to operate. Cal also has two very talented scorers in Jaylen Brown and Tyrone Wallace, both who can create for themselves almost anytime they want.
4) Oklahoma will make an early exit.
Yes, this goes against my January prediction of the tournament where I had the Sooners cutting down the nets in Houston. But, the truth is, when Buddy Hield is missing shots, Oklahoma has a tough time winning. If the Sooners meet Oregon State in the second round, look for an upset as Gary Payton II will be on Hield the entire game and Payton– like his father– is one of the best defenders in the country.
5) The south region could be full of upsets.
Even though Kansas, the number one overall seed, is supposed to have the easiest road, it is far from it. The Jayhawks could face a hot UConn team in the second round. The Huskies are known for making tournament runs and they are never out with the great coaching of Kevin Ollie. In the Sweet 16, Kansas will most likely face a Maryland team who is playing really well right now, or a very talented Cal team, both I think will cause the Jayhawks trouble. And, I personally think Villanova is a very overrated 2 seed. With Arizona and Wichita State in the south, I don’t think the top two seeds will meet in the Elite 8.
6) Arizona is dangerous.
Arizona has it all, inside scoring, outside scoring and experience. Everyone is focused on Purdue’s bigs Haas and Hammons, but Arizona has their own twin towers in Kaleb Tarczewski and Ryan Anderson. Both Anderson and Tarczewski are seniors, along with senior guard Gabe York, they are all on a mission. With freshman guard Allonzo Trier to compliment the experience, Sean Miller’s team is straight dangerous.
7) If Joel Berry and Marcus Paige can’t make shots, UNC is out early.
As great as North Carolina’s bigs are, it makes it way to easy to pack the zone if the guards are not making shots. In the Louisville game at the KFC center, Paige and Berry could not hit shots and the Tar Heels lost to a much smaller and less talented team in Louisville. If UNC’s guards are making shots, this team has a good chance of coming out on top when it’s all said and done.
We know upsets are inevitable, analysts will be wrong and this year’s bracket winner just may be lucky more than knowledgeable, but that’s what makes March Madness the best weeks of the year. Let’s go…