Previewing March Madness


It’s that time of the year again and The Standard has devised predictions for March Madness. 

New Mexico State University upsets Baylor University: A 14th-seed always upsets a 3rd-seed and, frankly, Baylor isn’t truly a 3rd-seed. A bracket always needs an upset and an overrated team like Baylor is a great place to start. Even if this pick doesn’t materialize, the pick will pay off once Baylor’s tournament ends in the next round, should they survive the Madness.  

University of Rhode Island upsets Creighton University: This game, despite its seeding differences, is potentially the biggest tossup of the first round. Both teams possess strong scoring options and while Creighton University were likely overseeded, they are a threat. Despite that, the University of Rhode Island come in as a serious, offensive-minded opposition. Though a gifted scorer, Creighton University’s Marcus Foster can’t do much else, leaving the well-rounded University of Rhode Island offense of E.C. Matthews, Hassan Martin and Jared Terrell to run rampant.

Momentum continues for the University of Michigan: The University of Michigan’s cinderella run in the Big Ten Conference (B1G) tournament will continue into the NCAA tournament as head coach John Beilein and the team hold newfound belief. Through the emergence of a new inside scoring option in big man D.J. Wilson and the all-tournament play of Derrick Walton, Michigan has a serious chance at making a run that could eliminate Oklahoma State University, the University of Louisville and Baylor University.

An unlikely matchup arises in Princeton University versus Bucknell University: Princeton University and Bucknell University reach what will be the most surprising game of the tournament by upsetting a mentally fragile West Virginia University, who routinely underwhelm in the tournament. Conversely, Ivy League champions are always reliable for an upset and not much more. With the enigmatic University of Notre Dame squad, Princeton University capitalizes before Bucknell University carries their magic into the Sweet 16.

Middle Tennessee State University make a run: After destroying everyone’s bracket last year, Middle Tennessee State University earns more acclaim. It’s rare to see an obscure university play major roles in consecutive tournaments, but Head Coach Kermit Davis leads senior Robert Upshaw and a program on the rise. They start by upsetting head coach Rich Pitino and the University of Minnesota, who survived a grueling B1G season. Middle Tennessee State University then takes on Butler University, once underdogs of the dance, now feeding into the underdogs success. The talent of University of North Carolina eventually proves too much for Middle Tennessee State University, but their program continues to impress.

The University of Kansas meets the University of North Carolina in the Final Four: Two of the most talented teams in the country and two number one seeds, there is no need to overthink this one. By the Final Four the best teams show they are the best. The University of Kansas stymies a University of Michigan run and the University of North Carolina shows its tournament prowess. Both teams feature veteran coaches, but ultimately the coaching on the floor will decide this game. The senior leadership of Frank Mason III and John Lucas propel Kansas to the final in a high-scoring affair.

Villanova University meets The University of Arizona in the Final Four: Getting to the brink of being back-to-back champions, Villanova University’s run will continue against the University of Arizona in the final four. Despite the University of Arizona’s multifaceted offense, Villanova University not only possess a returning core that won the team the tournament last year, a rejuvenated Jalen Brunson – yet another scoring option at guard for the Wildcats. Possessing a deep scoring touchdown to their eighth man in the rotation, Villanova University will be up to the task for guarding the University of Arizona’s scoring threats in Allonzo Trier and Lauri Markkanen.

The University of Kansas will be tasked with stopping a Villanova University repeat: Though this matchup will be labelled a dynamic game between two high powered offenses, Villanova University, despite their depth, will not have the ability to contain the University of Kansas’ offense. Led by senior guard Frank Mason III alongside Josh Jackson, Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, head coach Bill Self will be fielding a starting lineup with four National Basketball Association (NBA) caliber players. Despite previously disappointing runs, Kansas will be going home with hardware this year.