The Lumberjack student newspaper
Graphic by Jen Kelly.

Who to watch in March Madness

What teams could give you the best chance of coming out on top in a bracket challenge?

With March Madness ensuing, over 64 teams are chomping at the bit to play for the national championship. The first games will begin this Thursday on March 18 and proceed until the national championship on April 5. For the teams, this may be the most painful and nerve racking time as they wait until they play their games. But for the fans, this time is the most exhilarating as people try to build the “perfect” bracket. Building the perfect bracket not only makes you feel like a genius, but also a master at the game of basketball. But how do you build the perfect bracket? Well, first things first you need to start. If even that looks daunting, it’s okay, because I can help you start with a few teams that look promising for the madness that will ensue. In my opinion these are the teams to watch and possibly root for.

1. The Undefeated- (1 West Region) Gonzaga

Gonzaga is a clear favorite in the tournament and it is needless to say that they are on a hot streak as they are the only undefeated team left in the NCAA. The Bulldogs have beaten teams by an average of 23 points this season with BYU being the closest to top them, losing by 10. It helps when the team is also led by three potential All-Americans. The Bulldogs are the easy bet to win the tournament for those who don’t like taking chances or for those who want to see Gonzaga complete what the 2007 New England Patriots couldn’t, a perfect season. Thankfully there will be nobody named Eli Manning playing against them.

2. The Three Ball- (1 South Region) Baylor

Baylor started the season off strong being undefeated through their first 18 games, eventually losing to (17) Kansas. Baylor’s been living by the methodology of 3 and D this season. The Bears have made the most 3’s with an astonishing rate of 48% made when attempted during the regular season. While they are draining 3’s on one end they are also holding the opposing team to under 70 points. This is my favorite pick for the tournament and the only team I could see defeating a Gonzaga firing on all cylinders.

3. Pac 12- (5) Colorado, (6) USC, (7) Oregon, (12) Oregon St.

Although these teams are teams that most would not take a second look at, they are highly competitive and it was proven in this year’s Pac 12 tournament. USC, although ranked lower than Colorado, is the underdog that I would watch to win a few games. It is hard to pick another team when USC contains a possible top five NBA prospect in Evan Mobley. However, Colorado holds a higher rank because of their win against USC in the PAC 12 tournament and this shows that they can beat a team with that talent. The same goes for Oregon St. who beat the latter and Oregon to win the whole Pac 12 tournament. The only reason I have Oregon on here is because they always go on a run in the March Madness tournament no matter how good of a team they have, which is something to always account for.

4. The Under Underdogs- MT. St. Mary’s

This is the Cinderella of all Cinderella teams. Mount St. Mary’s has made it past the first play in games before, but it will be hard for them to do it again this year. Still, if they happen to win, there is a chance that they could go on a magical run. You never know what could happen in the world of March Madness but if you’ve been looking for the team that could pull off the miracle, you’re looking at it.

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