March Madness is only a week away, so it is time to think about brackets, whether for an office pool or just family bragging rights. Below is a projected field for the upcoming tournament, along with a few sleepers that could threaten to make a deep run. These March Madness predictions could help you pick the best bracket possible.
#1 Gonzaga vs #16 Alcorn State
#8 TCU vs #9 San Diego State
#5 UConn vs #12 North Texas
#4 Arkansas vs #13 Vermont
#6 LSU vs #11 Michigan
#3 Texas Tech vs #14 Seattle
#7 Colorado State vs #10 Wake Forest
#2 Wisconsin vs #15 Long Beach State
#1 Kansas vs #16 Georgia State
#8 Seton Hall vs #9 Murray State
#5 Houston vs #12 Wyoming
#4 Illinois vs #13 Toledo
#6 Ohio State vs #11 Memphis
#3 Villanova vs #14 Towson
#7 USC vs #10 South Dakota State
#2 Kentucky vs #15 Longwood
#1 Baylor vs #16 Norfolk State
#8 Michigan State vs #9 San Francisco
#5 Alabama vs #12 Notre Dame
#4 UCLA vs #13 Iona
#6 Iowa vs #11 Davidson
#3 Tennessee vs #14 Princeton
#7 Biose State vs #10 Creighton
#2 Duke vs #15 Jacksonville State
#1 Arizona vs #16 Cleveland State
#8 North Carolina vs #9 Iowa State
#5 Texas vs #12 Rutgers
#4 Providence vs #13 Chattanooga
#6 Saint Mary’s vs #11 Loyola (IL)
#3 Purdue vs #14 Montana State
#7 Marquette vs #10 Miami
#2 Auburn vs #15 Colgate
You may expect every sleeper pick to be a high numbered seed from a mid-major conference, but that just is not the case. Despite being the number one team in the Big Ten for quite a while until the last week of the season, Wisconsin’s attention has been overshadowed by Purdue, Illinois, and the upstart Rutgers.
The Badgers are more than capable of making a deep run this year, or even contending for a title. Their star player, Johnny Davis, is averaging exactly 20 points per game, along with a team high 8.1 rebounds per game. Davis has been taking games over all year, and is certainly capable of doing so in March as well.
Brad Davison is another big factor for the Badgers, as he has made more than twice as many three pointers this year as anyone else on the team. The Badgers will rely on him to stretch the floor to get Davis lanes into the paint. The Badgers have only outscored their opponents by an average of 4.5 points per game, so their defense will have to stiffen up to beat higher ranked opponents.
Remember the beginning of the season when the exciting, young, long Memphis Tigers were going to set the world on fire? Analyst after analyst was wowed by Penny Hardaway’s ability to recruit. Those same Tigers cruised through some tune up games and defeated a good Virginia Tech team before the wheels absolutely fell off.
First, they lost to a good Iowa State team, which Tigers fans were able to forgive. Then, there was a puzzling loss to a very inconsistent Georgia team. After this, they lost to Ole Miss, which led to a firestorm of criticism directed toward coach Hardaway. After another loss to Murray State, Memphis upset #6 Alabama.
It is safe to say that Memphis is inconsistent. If the good Tigers show up, there is nobody that they can’t match up with.
Now, nobody is expecting South Dakota State to contend for an NCAA championship. However, they could be the next Oral Roberts or Middle Tennessee State. They will likely be between a 12 or 10 seed, and could absolutely shock basically any team that they would meet. One reason this is feasible is that the Jackrabbits are the best three point shooting team in the country. Their efficiency is unmatched, nearing 45%. This means that every time South Dakota State shoots a three, they walk away with 1.35 points on the average. If the Jackrabbits have a hot shooting game, there’s nobody that they can’t compete with.
Note: Bracket predictions adapted from ESPN’s Lunardi Bracketology and NCAA.com
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.