March Madness is living up to its name so far, as two number one seeded teams didn’t make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Last week I wrote about the only ten teams that could win the championship. As of right now only Purdue, Villanova, Duke, and Gonzaga are the only teams still standing. As we head into the Sweet Sixteen, I still believe that one of these teams will win it all. Why would I say such a crazy thing, when there has been so many upsets thus far? Well these teams right here are pretty elite. The funny thing is that Villanova is most likely going to go up against Purdue in the Elite 8. The winner of that, would have to play Duke in the Final Four. So the chances of my prediction are slim, but you never know. I still have one bracket that is in the 100th percentile, which is amazing. You can check out this bracket in the link below.
I am still sticking by my original championship pick which is Duke. How they have played over their first two games in the tournament has only strengthened my belief. There was not question that Duke would dominate their first game in the tournament, but their second round match up against URI could have had a different outcome. URI has been a ranked team most of the year and they are a tough opponent. Duke absolutely manhandled them and was never really threatened. Bagley is proving that he is the best player in college basketball and the rest of the starters are ramping things up their play in March. It will be interesting to see how Dukes zone defense matches up against the Syracuse zone on Friday night. Not only will Duke make it through the Sweet Sixteen, they will be the champions.
Gonzaga had trouble in its first game which was somewhat surprising. But the Bulldogs handled their business in their second game against a solid Ohio State team. Junior guard Josh Perkins has been pacing the Gonzaga offense since he has not had to handle the scoring load. What has surprised me, is the play of Zach Norvell Jr. and Rui Hachimua . These two guys have lit it up, while two of Gonzaga’s best players ( Williams and Tille) haven’t had their best games of the tournament yet. Look for them to make a deep run as the tournament continues.
I thought Purdue would not go to far after their star center Isaac Hass fractured his shoulder in the opening game of the tournament. However, Purdue is off to the Sweet Sixteen against Texas Tech. I can see Purdue struggling in this game, but I still think Purdue has a significant size advantage. Look for both teams to put up huge numbers in the post. This game should be an absolute battle and I would not be supersized if either team won this one.
Villanova has to go through a stingy West Virginia team, which will really test them. Has West Virginia gotten lucky? Well in a sense yes, because they have played lower seeded teams so far. However, Villanova demolished a scary Alabama team and is fully capable of taking down WVU. This is the game that I am most looking forward to in the Sweet Sixteen, since I did pick WVU to upset Nova is most of my brackets.
Will any of the madness continue, or will the top teams prevail? The Sweet Sixteen is going to be exciting as teams battle it out to see another day. As we head deeper into March, we will continue to see teams battle it out for a chance to win it all. If you went with one of my picks in your own bracket, then I hope you picked Nova, Duke, Purdue, or Gonzaga since the other teams did not pan out. We shall see if any of these teams are still standing in the Elite Eight.
Connor Strayer (@Big_C19)