March Madness is Back | The American Word

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March Madness is Back


By
Joe Iraola | 3/17/16 7:41pm
| Updated 3/17/16 7:42pm


American Word Magazine

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” for college basketball fan at least. This tournament has the making for one of the best in years. For the first time in a while, there is no team that is coming in as a heavy favorite to win it all. The field seems to be very even with a lot of matchups that could come down to the wire. This makes creating a remotely-good bracket that much harder. All it takes is for one game to ruin your entire bracket. The Kansas Jayhawks finished as the No.1 overall team heading into the tournament, but even they have had trouble this season. The other three No. 1 seeds are UVA, UNC and Oregon. Each team has proved they deserved their seed, but will they make it to the Final Four?

The odds of all No. 1 seeds making it to the Final Four are very unlikely. So which teams will and won’t make it? This usually depends on the draw of the rest of the bracket with some No.1 seeds having to player a tougher team early or not having a real challenge until the Final Four.

Here are some key teams that could hurt these low-seeded chances and possibly make a Cinderella run everyone loves:

In the East region, Kentucky is a fourth seed and the No.1 seed is UNC with a possible matchup in the Sweet 16. Kentucky has had an up-and-down year, but they are coming off win the SEC tournament championship. KU has a very talented backcourt with their point guard, Tyler Ulis, who is arguably the best player in their conference. Along with their lengthy front line, this team could give a lot of trouble to UNC.

In the Midwest region, UVA seems to not have a real challenge until they face Michigan State in the Elite Eight. In this game, many experts are not giving UVA real shot at winning it and some even have MSU winning it all. MSU has been in the top 10 all year and just won the Big 10 tournament championship. They have a very experienced coach who has had great success in the tournament and are led by their senior star, Denzel Valentine. Their upperclassmen experience looks like it will be trouble for this UVA team.

The West region’s No. 1 seed is Oregon, who has received some criticism about whether or not they deserve a No.1 seed. Despite this criticism, many experts still see Oregon making a deep run. They will have a tough game in the Sweet 16 regardless of whether they face an explosive Baylor team or Duke, one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation in Duke. They won’t be in trouble until they play Oklahoma in the Elite Eight. Oklahoma has been one of the best teams all year, and I don’t see Oregon getting by this very talented Big 12 team.

In the South region, Kansas is the No.1 seed, and many experts are picking them to win it all; and it seems that they have the easiest road to do it. They may face some trouble against Maryland in the Sweet 16, but the once-top 5 team has had chemistry problems over the past few weeks and they have struggled because of it. Then there’s a possible matchup against No.2 seed, Villanova, in the elite 8, but it seems like no one will be giving Villanova a chance in this game. What I am getting at is Kansas is the No. 1 seed to pick to make it to the Final Four.

So who will make it to the Final Four and win the championship?

UNC has the best chance to come out of East. The Tar Heels are led by a veteran backcourt and has too many talented players for any team on their side to compete with them.

Michigan State has the best chance to come out of the Midwest. They are led by one of the best players and coach in the country. UVA will be a strong opponent but not strong enough.

Oklahoma has the best chance to come out of the West. They have played in many tough games this year and they have a swagger about them that no one on their side will be able to stop. Not even No.1 seed Oregon.

Kansas has the best chance to come out of the South. I see no team coming close to competing with Kansas’s big size and all the different ways they have success scoring the basketball.

Kansas has the best chance to win the championship. I think they will face Michigan State in the title game. It will be a great game featuring the best two teams in college basketball. I think it will be Kansas’ depth and their strong defense that will be able to be the difference in the game.

But hey, anything can happen in this tournament. It is just a matter of which team gets hot at the right time. As fans, we are just happy to see great basketball with exciting finishes.