Josh’s Guide to March Madness

The "Expert" Weighs in on this year's NCAA Tournament

Josh Power, Reviews Editor

Graphic credit: Asya Shogren

Commonly referred to as March Madness for its exciting outcomes, the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is often referred to as one of the greatest in all of sports. It has influenced millions nationwide to participate in the Tournament Challenge, where fans fill out brackets to predict who will win each game, competing against their friends and family for glory. This year is no different, as stars from collegiate programs across the country hope to make their mark in history by cutting down the net in San Antonio in April. I’m here to help you decide who that championship team may be.

 

Final Four Picks:

South Region: Virginia

Yes, picking the number one overall one-seed is a generic, boring choice. However there is a reason Virginia is deserving of their seeding. The cavaliers finished the year unanimously atop the AP poll countrywide, and haven’t let a single opponent score more than seventy points against them all season. They lead the country in opponents points per game, letting up a mere 53.4 points on average . Kentucky and Arizona are both in the region as well, and while they are peaking coming off their conference tournaments, I still expect both to be overwhelmed by UVA’s defensive capabilities.

 

East Region: Villanova

Villanova got lucky with a region that is, in my opinion, significantly less difficult for a 1-seed to advance out of than the others. Led by the junior guard tandem of Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, the Wildcats should roll to a place in the final four.

 

Midwest Region: Michigan State

This region is a toss-up. Kansas, Duke, and Michigan State are all worthy title contenders, but I think the Spartans have the edge here. They have been able to limit their opponents to 64.9 points per game, and have two future first round draft picks in Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges.

 

West Region: Michigan

The hype around Michigan is infatuating. They were an underdog coming into their conference tournament, and came away with the Big Ten title. I’m going to bet on their momentum, even if they’re a three seed.

 

Virginia vs. Michigan

Winner: Virginia

This is where the run ends for Michigan. I just don’t see this squad being able to push the pace and play their game when the lockdown defense of Virginia forces them to play in the half-court. John Beilein’s team is good, but not good enough to beat the Cavaliers.

 

Villanova vs. Michigan St.  

Winner: Michigan State

Both of these team are red-hot coming into the tournament, with Nova winning 9 of their last 12 and MSU eleven. This game is almost impossible to choose as Villanova averages 87.1 points per game, the most in the country, while Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the

NCAA. I’m taking the defense over the offense. Legendary coach Tom Izzo will lead Michigan State to another finals appearance.

 

Final: Virginia vs. Michigan St.

Winner: Virginia

It’s very hard to know who will be victorious when the tournament is all over, but Virginia is the safest pick as a champion. In a year where teams constantly cycled through the AP polls, Virginia headed a strong ACC conference, and finished with a total record of 34-2. They’re 6-0 against top 25 teams as well. Miles Bridges is averaging 16.9 points per game, and is considered one of the best scorers in country. However Kyle Guy and Devon Hall will lock him down, and ultimately that is what will allow them to defeat the Spartans to win the national title.