Here we are in March, a day from the start of the tournament madness. Today, I’m going to be sharing my picks for March Madness and an analysis of why I picked them. So, without further ado, here they are:
1 Gonzaga over 16 Georgia State
Not much to say here, a 16 seed upsetting a 1 seed is practically unthinkable.
8 Boise State over 9 Memphis
This matchup should be close, but Boise State rode over the Mountain West and I don’t expect them to fall to this streaky Memphis team.
5 UConn over 12 New Mexico State
Don’t rule out the Aggies just yet, but UConn is just stronger offensively and defensively, even if just slightly.
4 Arkansas over 13 Vermont
Forget Vermont’s seed, they seem to be one of the more intriguing potential Cinderella teams. They’ve only lost 5 games and boast an extremely strong conference record. They have to face the always relentless Razorbacks, who should give them a taste of reality on the defensive end.
6 Alabama over 11 Rutgers/Notre Dame
Regardless of who wins the Rutgers v. Notre Dame matchup, I expect Alabama to pull out a win. I’m not extremely high on their play this year and their inability to close games is concerning, but I expect them to do just enough to win this matchup.
3 Texas Tech over 14 Montana State
This is going to be a smackdown in my opinion. Texas Tech will beat this team to submission on defense. I don’t care how much Montana State scores, the Red Raiders are too long and versatile.
10 Davidson over 7 Michigan State
The first upset, and a wild one at that. Davidson has been a pleasant surprise this year. They have an incredible offense, and their defense is not to be underestimated. I like Michigan State’s determination to win tough games, but Davidson might top them out here.
2 Duke over 15 CSU Fullerton
Let’s just move on here.
1 Gonzaga over 8 Boise State
Don’t expect any kind of obliteration here, Boise State will make some noise against Gonzaga, but I highly doubt it will be enough.
4 Arkansas over 5 UConn
This is actually a perfect matchup for Arkansas. UConn is going to try to grind it out down low, because that’s what they’re good at. It won’t work against Arkansas; this is where they want the ball when they’re on defense. This won’t be as close as it might seem.
3 Texas Tech over 6 Alabama
These teams are more alike than you might think. Both really fight until the end no matter the matchup, and they both have overachieved this year in my opinion. Though, I’m going to go with Texas Tech. Alabama has struggled to close games and this won’t change in the tournament.
2 Duke over 10 Davidson
I’m getting some Steph Curry vibes from this one. A blue blood will once again be Davidson’s executioner, and this time it won’t be close.
1 Gonzaga over 4 Arkansas
Look, Gonzaga has two big post players in Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren, but Holmgren can shoot, and this is the matchup where he needs to show that. Arkansas will want to play bully ball down low, and Holmgren will need to stretch and shoot over them. I don’t think it will be a problem, but this could be a bracket-busting matchup.
2 Duke over 3 Texas Tech
Banchero will have a field day.
1 Gonzaga over 2 Duke
This could end up being the best matchup in the whole tournament. The Zags will be mad about losing to Duke earlier in the year, and they’ll show it in this matchup, advancing to the Final Four.
1 Baylor over 16 Norfolk State
8 North Carolina over 9 Marquette
This is a really hard choice. Any team Shaka Smart coaches is going to put up a fight, but I’m going with the Tar Heels here. I expect Armando Bacot to wow some scouts in this matchup with his offensive skill set.
5 Saint Mary’s over 12 Indiana
I like Indiana’s chances a lot, but I’m going with the Gaels in this matchup. Saint Mary’s defense is second to none.
4 UCLA over 13 Akron
UCLA doesn’t have the team to make a deep run like last year, but they should come out fairly easily over Akron. Akron had some struggles even getting to this tournament.
11 Virginia Tech over 6 Texas
This Texas team is way, way too overrated. They are 3-8 in the top 25 play, and their best player is, sigh, Timmy Allen. No offense to Longhorns fans but Virginia Tech is going to have some fun.
3 Purdue over 14 Yale
Just don’t ever bet on Ivy League or Patriot League teams to make it out of the Round of 64. It never happens unless you have someone named David Robinson.
7 Murray State over 10 San Fransisco
I’m not too big of a Murray State “I believe” fan, but I don’t think San Fransisco can contain them. Murray State scores almost 80 points a night and should run away with this one.
2 Kentucky over 15 Saint Peter’s
Nice work, Saint Peter’s. You’re going dancing. Except, your first partner, Kentucky, is going to send you home in the first couple minutes. I’m sorry. Apologies. Thanks for coming.
1 Baylor over 8 North Carolina
Baylor’s team matches up well here. Their length should disrupt Bacot enough to escape with a win here. Don’t expect it to be easy.
5 Saint Mary’s over 4 UCLA
This is an exciting one. I just don’t expect UCLA’s offense to outplay Saint Mary’s defense. Whatever happens though, either team could win this matchup.
3 Purdue over 11 Virginia Tech
As good as Virginia Tech seems, this is where they will falter. Purdue should outscore them quite easily.
2 Kentucky over 7 Murray State
Murray State had one of the weakest schedules in the entire NCAA. Don’t start believing they can get past Kentucky. Kentucky should give this team a reality check.
5 Saint Mary’s over 1 Baylor
This one might come as a surprise, but Saint Mary’s is just much better than Baylor. They have a better defense for sure, and arguably a better offense. I’m going to stand by this one.
3 Purdue over 2 Kentucky
Jaden Ivey is going to be expected to dominate this one, and he might, but let’s also check out that intriguing post-play matchup. Zach Edey and Oscar Tshiebwe are going to participate in a battle for the boards: size vs. hustle. I think size might win here, sorry Tshiebwe.
3 Purdue over 5 Saint Mary’s
It’s closer than it might seem, but Purdue gets the upper hand. If Ivey hasn’t gone on a run yet, he will here, outrunning the Gaels for a trip to the Final Four.
1 Arizona over 16 Wright State/Bryant
9 TCU over 8 Seton Hall
Two underdogs battling it out, what more could you ask for? TCU has been on fire as of late, I’m going with them.
5 Houston over 12 UAB
UAB is being overhyped here, Houston should shut them down defensively. They held their opponents to 59 points a game.
4 Illinois over 13 Chattanooga
Honestly, just read what I said about Houston and change “defensively” to “offensively”. Illinois runs away with it.
11 Michigan over 6 Colorado State
This pick might be surprising, but to me, this is actually the most likely upset. Michigan has won games they needed this year and lost easy ones. Their play should ramp up in the tournament, especially against Colorado State.
3 Tennessee over 14 Longwood
I’m really happy a newcomer like Longwood made the tournament, but when it comes to business, they shouldn’t put up any kind of a fight against Tennessee.
10 Loyola Chicago over 7 Ohio State
The Ramblers aren’t underdogs anymore, people. They’ve been here consecutive seasons, and for that, they are still criminally underrated. 10th seed is a slap in the face to a team who allows about 7 points less than 7th seed Ohio State and scores the same number of points as well. This shouldn’t be the upset it’s made out to be.
2 Villanova over 15 Delaware
Yawn. It might be slightly closer than we expect but not that close.
1 Arizona over 9 TCU
This will be a good matchup but expect Tubelis to have his way with TCU’s big-men. Mathurin won’t dominate yet, with TCU’s good perimeter defense. He’ll show up next round.
5 Houston over 4 Illinois
Houston is going to scrap its way to win in this one. Cockburn will try to bruise inside but expect them to shut him down ever so subtly.
3 Tennessee over 11 Michigan
The three-ball is going to be flying for Tennessee in this matchup. Michigan has struggled defensively all year, and this matchup won’t be any different.
10 Loyola Chicago over 2 Villanova
Villanova has not impressed me this year. They just aren’t the take-no-prisoners Wildcats of years past. Their shooting is still there, sort of, but the Ramblers are going to abuse them here from deep.
1 Arizona over 5 Houston
Arizona is so similar to Houston, but they’re also like a better version of them. Arizona should not have problems here.
3 Tennessee over 10 Loyola Chicago
I like this matchup a lot, but the road ends here for the Ramblers. Kennedy Chandler will continue to run all over his opponents, and I don’t know of a player at Loyola who can guard him.
1 Arizona over 3 Tennessee
This will be a battle but count on Arizona to outlast Tennessee. This is my favorite pick to go overtime, and I think it could go down as a classic. Just don’t forget what Bennedict Mathurin can do, he’s going to go crazy in this one, taking his team to the Final Four.
1 Kansas over 16 Texas Southern
Bye Texas Southern. You’ll probably be back next year.
9 Creighton over 8 San Diego State
Creighton has wowed me this season. Their scoring might be too good for San Diego State, regardless of defensive impact. I really don’t think this will be close.
5 Iowa over 12 Richmond
It’s pretty cool Richmond’s back in the tournament, but Iowa should definitely have a good time in this matchup.
4 Providence over 13 South Dakota State
Seemingly everyone’s favorite underdog, South Dakota State is being portrayed as if they are the higher seed in this one. The problem is that everyone is forgetting how mind-bogglingly good Providence has been over the course of the season. I’m going with the Friars.
6 LSU over 11 Iowa State
LSU will shut down Iowa State on defense and I firmly believe that. That’s all I have to say here.
3 Wisconsin over 14 Colgate
Meet Johnny Davis, Colgate. The likely Player of the Year.
7 USC over 10 Miami
I love USC’s chances in this tournament. Their squad this year is arguably better than last year’s, and they have Evan Mobley’s brother, Isaiah. So, there’s that.
2 Auburn over 15 Jacksonville State
Props, Jacksonville State. But the road ends here.
1 Kansas over 9 Creighton
Ochai Agbaji will cement his legacy as an all-time great Jayhawk in this one. I expect a bashing from Kansas.
5 Iowa over 4 Providence
I don’t expect Keegan Murray to have a great performance in the tournament, but this team has some great potential in the supporting cast, and someone (Jordan Bohannon?) will step up and lead the charge.
6 LSU over 3 Wisconsin
LSU’s defense gives me chills. Wisconsin just doesn’t match up well here. Johnny Davis loves the midrange, but that won’t work on the lengthy athleticism the Tigers bring.
7 USC over 2 Auburn
This midwest region looks to have a lot of upsets looming, and this one might be one of the more controversial. I’m picking USC here, because Isaiah Mobley might actually have a legitimate shot at shutting down Jabari Smith Jr. Or, maybe just holding him to less than 20 points.
5 Iowa over 1 Kansas
Unexpected, huh? I think the shooting of Iowa really comes into play here. These Hawkeyes can hit some big shots.
6 LSU over 7 USC
Defense vs. Defense. Defense always wins. But in all seriousness, Tari Eason is one fun guy to watch and he should continue that here.
6 LSU over 5 Iowa
A very different matchup in the Elite Eight than one might think. I think it could happen, and I think if Keegan Murray goes cold this whole ship sinks. LSU gets the win here to advance to the Final Four.
1 Gonzaga over 3 Purdue
A battle for the ages, this one. Gonzaga should come out on top due to Holmgren’s defense. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he shuts down Ivey, Edey, and Trevion Williams in different parts of the game. I’m going with Gonzaga to advance to the championship for the second straight year.
1 Arizona over 6 LSU
LSU will put up a fight, but the veteran leadership on this Arizona team will really help. Mathurin will be unfazed by strong LSU defense as well. I’m going with Arizona to advance to the championship.
The National Championship
1 Gonzaga over 1 Arizona
Gonzaga will be crowned champions for the first time in school history. Mad about last year’s loss to Baylor after an undefeated season, they will march through the tournament to claim the ultimate prize: a national championship. Arizona will put up a fight, but Holmgren will secure the Most Outstanding Player award and carry Gonzaga in the home stretch for a 73-68 win over Arizona in the national championship.