HomeSPORTSMarch Insanity predictions 2023: UConn wins all of it, Oral Roberts crashes...

March Insanity predictions 2023: UConn wins all of it, Oral Roberts crashes the Closing 4

Earlier than we get into the nitty gritty right here, enable me to say that I’ve by no means felt much less assured a few bracket. I went into this endeavor with zero clue who I used to be going to select to win the nationwide title, and as soon as I arrived at my Closing 4, I noticed that I had critical points with all 4 of the choices I had left myself with.

And that’s why this bracket is destined to succeed.

Now let me attempt to justify why I believe that is going to be one of many wildest NCAA tournaments in historical past.

South Area

To me, Alabama is well the most secure wager out of all of the 1-seeds to advance to a minimum of the Elite Eight. The Crimson Tide are the match’s No. 1 general seed, which suggests they deserve the friendliest draw, and I believe they’ve acquired it right here. Arizona isn’t the simplest 2-seed matchup on the earth, however so much can occur between now and the regional closing.

We’ve acquired two double-digit seed upsets right here. The final 4 No. 3 seeds to lose within the first spherical have all been from the Massive 12, and Baylor is about to increase that streak to 5. The Bears have misplaced 4 out of their final six and face a UCSB group that takes care of the ball and has simply sufficient offense to get the job accomplished. I’m a bit involved that the Gauchos don’t match the standard upset mould of being proficient from the surface (solely 18 groups in Division-I get a smaller share of their factors from past the arc), however Joe Pasternack is a rising star within the teaching ranks, and I belief him to make this his second.

I’m much more assured in Furman taking down Virginia. The Paladins have been knocking on the door for the higher a part of the final decade and are lastly within the Massive Dance for the primary time since 1980. UVA is tremendous skilled, however they don’t have close to the pure expertise that their greatest groups below Tony Bennett have had, they usually’ve additionally just lately misplaced one in every of their most essential items in Ben Vander Plas. Furman wins, and Jalen Slawson and Mike Bothwell introduce themselves to the world.

Charleston has gained 31 video games and the Mountain West has been ABYSMAL within the NCAA match lately, however I nonetheless hate this 12/5 matchup for the Cougars. Charleston will get a ton of its offense in transition, and few groups within the nation are higher at controlling tempo and limiting transition alternatives than SDSU. The Aztecs wreck America’s stylish upset decide and take down a Charleston group that’s dealing with a high 50 protection for the primary time this season.

I’ve acquired Creighton within the Elite Eight, and I’m not tremendous assured about them beating NC State. It is a traditional matchup of two groups that appear like world-beaters once they’re enjoying nicely and like groups that haven’t any enterprise even making the NIT once they aren’t. One in all them goes to hit their stride and crash the second weekend, and I’m banking it being the Bluejays, who rose to the event a 12 months in the past and almost took down eventual nationwide champion Kansas regardless of enjoying with out two of their greatest gamers.

In the end, this ends in a ‘Bama-Creighton regional closing the place the Crimson Tide stake their declare because the Closing 4 favourite by pulling away late and kicking off every week of debate over morality in faculty sports activities.

East Area

Just about yearly there’s a area that fully falls aside and leaves us pondering “I can’t consider one in every of these groups goes to be within the Closing 4” as we prepare for the second weekend. The East is that area in 2023.

Each single one of many favorites on this area has a deadly flaw, and I’m not exaggerating once I say that there are six groups within the West that I might have advancing to the Closing 4 in the event that they’d been positioned within the East.

To start out with, there’s a prolonged historical past of unranked preseason groups who drastically overachieved throughout the common season falling flat on their face on this match. That description suits every of the highest three seeds right here. Fourth-seeded Tennessee can’t rating. Fifth-seeded Duke begins three freshmen, has a 35-year-old first 12 months head coach, and feasted on a traditionally weak ACC on the finish of the season. Sixth-seeded Kentucky has been wildly inconsistent and underachieving, and enters the match banged up and coming off a one-and-done efficiency within the SEC match.

The wildest March stat going for the time being is that each single Closing 4 however one since 2012 has featured a minimum of one group seeded No. 7 or worse. Since 2011, a complete of 11 groups seeded seventh or worse have crashed the season’s closing weekend. And but, barely anybody will take a 7-seed or worse to the Closing 4 of their bracket this month.

It’s taking place within the East Area.

Memphis, which in all probability ought to have upset Gonzaga on this identical spot a 12 months in the past, has the expertise and expertise this season to show the truth that Purdue’s backcourt is younger and easily not adequate.

There isn’t a complete lot that I like about Michigan State, however generally it’s important to have a look at tendencies and go towards what your eyes have been telling you. Tyson Walker will get sizzling, Marquette does what overachieving 2-seeds sometimes do within the first weekend, and the entire “Tom Izzo in March” factor will get some extra run.

John Calipari additionally appears poised for a minimum of a mini redemption arc. The person was main upset proof for his first seven seasons in Lexington, however recently every thing has modified and Massive Blue Nation has by no means been extra essential. He quiets his doubters with a pleasant run because of a pleasant draw and will get again to a regional closing for the primary time since 2018.

Sadly for Cal, this run ends the best way that one did: With an upset loss. The group doing that upsetting will probably be Oral Roberts, which turns into the primary 12-seed in historical past to make the Closing 4. The Golden Eagles are the one group within the nation that ran the desk of their convention this season, and all 4 of their losses got here on the highway towards high quality opponents. Max Abmas turns into a March immortal over the subsequent two weeks.

Or they lose to Duke handily within the first spherical … however in all probability all that different stuff.

Midwest Area

We’ve acquired extra double-digit upsets right here with Drake taking down Miami and Kent State beating Indiana. I really like each the Hoosiers and Hurricanes a strong quantity coming into this match, however I hate the matchups for them right here. Miami’s reluctance to defend in the end prices them a return journey to the second weekend, whereas IU merely runs right into a Golden Flashes group that performs nicely sufficient to beat nearly anybody within the area.

I’m going towards one in every of my bracket guidelines and never taking a group from the First 4 to win a sport in the primary draw this 12 months. Iowa State is limping into the match, however they deal with a gritty, if not tremendous gifted, Pitt group and wreck the potential Sean Miller Bowl within the second spherical.

Full disclosure: I’ve Texas successful this area, and I initially had them shedding within the first spherical to Colgate. The Raiders examine each field obligatory for a monster March upset: They’re skilled, they dominated their convention, they usually’re the very best three-point capturing group in all the nation. They’ll put the concern of God into the Longhorns (and they’d have overwhelmed Marquette in the event that they’d gotten a luckier draw), however in the end UT survives and finds its stride.

An under-seeded Texas A&M group grits out a win over Penn State in probably the greatest video games of the primary spherical, after which Buzz Williams takes some not-so-thinly veiled pictures on the Choice Committee afterward. The Aggies push Texas for a bit earlier than the Longhorns play their greatest half of the season to advance.

High-seeded Houston almost loses to Auburn within the second spherical, however then restores confidence from the general public by blasting Drake into oblivion within the Candy 16. Houston-Texas offers us the very best matchup of the Elite Eight and perhaps the very best sport of the match, however the Longhorns’ superior backcourt depth and expertise in the end wins out. Rodney Terry turns into one of many focuses of the sports activities world.

West Area

Just about each group that I’ve crushed on throughout this season is on this area. It’s completely this 12 months’s area of demise.

Disclaimer: If UCLA had a wholesome Jaylen Clark and Adem Bona, I’d be choosing them to win this area and in all probability the nationwide title Clark gained’t play in any respect and Bona will on the very least be restricted, so I’m not. The Bruins get the attractive 2006 rematch with Gonzaga and get their hearts damaged this time as a result of Bona and firm aren’t wholesome sufficient to regulate Drew Timme, who goes nuts.

VCU over Saint Mary’s is the upset decide that I’ve essentially the most confidence in all through this complete bracket. The Gaels and their gifted backcourt couldn’t deal with Gonzaga’s strain in any respect within the WCC match closing, and it’ll be extra of the identical towards a VCU group that creates as a lot defensive havoc as any within the area. It is a nightmare matchup for Randy Bennett’s group.

Kansas has been the group that I’ve thought I used to be going to select to win the nationwide title for some time now, however the Invoice Self factor is a curveball, Kevin McCullar’s well being remains to be a difficulty, and the Jayhawks seemed wildly inferior in each of their March losses to Texas. Arkansas knocking off KU within the second spherical has turn into one thing of a classy decide, however underachieving groups loaded with next-level expertise not often have the lightbulb second in March that everybody needs them to. The Razorbacks will make it attention-grabbing, however Kansas isn’t shedding earlier than the Candy 16.

UConn sends Rick Pitino to St. John’s prior to Gaels followers would love, after which destroys VCU within the second spherical to arrange the Candy 16 showdown with Kansas. The Husky offense kicks into high-gear towards KU, after which Dan Hurley’s group is simply too bodily and hard down the stretch in an exciting regional closing win over Gonzaga.

Closing 4

Alabama has little hassle ending the Cinderella run of Oral Roberts, which performs the best way a double-digit seed sometimes performs within the Closing 4: Not nicely. UConn then places the clamps on Marcus Carr and firm within the second semifinal and ends Terry’s dream run with the Longhorns.

I’m going with Connecticut to win the nationwide title for one motive and one motive alone: That is going to be a bizarre match, and the Huskies THRIVE in bizarre tournaments. The 2 strangest nationwide champions of the final 15 years have in all probability each been Connecticut groups (2011 and 2014). Let’s get wild once more, Storrs.



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