NCAA March Madness Preview

Posted: March 20, 2014 by ericbernsen in NCAAB, Sports
Tags: , ,

It is that time of year when March Madness becomes the forum of ultimate trash talking and bragging rights between friends, colleagues, and family. Filling out a bracket and watching your upsets become a reality (or fail miserably) is one of the most exciting feelings as a fan, which makes the NCAA Tournament such a thrilling experience. People from all over the world become emotionally invested in schools that range from Florida to Wofford, and there is truly nothing like it. With the festivities starting up today, we decided to take a look at each region of the bracket and provide some insight on what to expect. But don’t take it as gospel or bulletproof advice for your quest to pull off a billion dollar bracket….anything can happen.  

South

There are no surprises here as No.1 seeded Florida seems primed to take advantage of a region that may not prove to be as challenging as others. The winner of Pittsburgh/Colorado should not be a threat to the Gators and when you look at the rest of the highly seeded teams in the South, things shape up nicely for Florida. The Gators would match-up well against UCLA, Syracuse has been wildly inconsistent all season long, and Kansas will most likely be without one of their top weapons in center Joel Embiid. Nothing is certain, but this senior-laden squad coached by Billy Donovan is the most trustworthy No. 1 seed in this entire bracket.

Upsets Bound to Happen: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 5 VCU, No. 11 Dayton over No. 6 Ohio State

Final Four Sleeper: No. 7 New Mexico

Winner: No. 1 Florida

East

Virginia is one of those teams who is playing their best basketball at the right time as they capped off a strong regular season by winning their conference tournament. However, the Cavs have some stiff competition as a now fully healthy Michigan St. team is built to advance far in this tournament despite its No. 4 seeding. Squads like Villanova and the undervalued Iowa St. will also be formidable opponents to Virginia, so the Cavs will have to hope that they did not peak too early this year. Michigan St. has become a fan-favorite to advance to the Final Four in this region, and with Tom Izzo at the helm it is easy to see why.

Upsets Bound to Happen: No. 12 Harvard over No. 5 Cincinnati, No. 11 Providence over No. 6 UNC

Final Four Sleeper: No. 3 Iowa St. (compared to Michigan St., the Cyclones are more under the radar despite having a higher seed)

Winner: No. 4 Michigan St.

West

The West region is a side of the bracket that we can see turning into complete chaos. Arizona has rightfully earned the No.1 seed as they are the best defensive team in the country and have found a rhythm on offense after losing Brandon Ashley. But the road will be challenging for the Wildcats who have a potential second round game against a surging Oklahoma St. team led by NBA prospect Marcus Smart. Other teams like Oregon and Baylor also have high potential despite their inconsistent seasons, and do not forget the No. 2 seeded Wisconsin Badgers who always seem to be a team that people hate to pick. And who knows, maybe the legendary sniper Doug McDermott will shoot lights out in every game and lead Creighton to a Final Four. One thing is for sure, the West region will make or break a lot of brackets this year.

Upsets Bound to Happen: No. 12 North Dakota St. over No. 5 Oklahoma

Final Four Sleeper: No. 7 Oregon

Winner: No. 6 Baylor (we think they are peaking at the right time)

Midwest

Many labeled this region as the “Group Of Death” when the brackets were first announced. And rightfully so as the undefeated No. 1 seeded Wichita St Shockers will be joined by powerhouses such as Duke, Michigan, and a No. 4 seeded Louisville. Many people have their eye on the potential match-up between Wichita St. and Louisville, and the trendy upset pick is to side with the Rick Pitino and the red-hot Cardinals. We even have a preseason favorite in Kentucky as a No. 8 seed in this region. Needless to say, with such a strong grouping of teams from major conferences, Wichita St. will need to be at their best to prove their worth and continue their mission to advance to the Final Four.

Upsets Bound To Happen: No. 12 NC State over No. 5 Saint Louis, No. 11 Tennessee over No. 6 UMass

Final Four Sleeper: No. 8 Kentucky

Winner: No. 1 Wichita St.  

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