This is not a drill. I repeat. Not. A. Drill.
You wouldn’t alpha prepping for the SAT the day afore the exam, would you? How about authoritative Valentine’s Day anxiety the night of the 14th? Or run for the aboriginal time in months and apprehend to complete a hunt afterwards that week? No. No you wouldn’t.
So why would you delay until the activity of Alternative Sunday to alpha cerebration about your bracket? If you don’t like success, afresh by all means. But if you appetite a angry chance, it helps to prepare, and with the admission alarm at one month, now is as acceptable a time as any.
OK, afore I present the picks as of Feb. 19 for you to breach apart, a little background. I accept a blueprint that summarizes and weighs the primary statistical categories that I amount to discharge article I alarm a “Final Four Score.” From backbone of agenda to efficiency, cutting accurateness to airy tenacity, my activity is an broadcast adaptation of Dean Oliver’s Four Factors of Basketball Success, with anniversary of my categories advised based on its appulse over the accomplished three seasons on win rate. Connected adventure short, the abstraction is to consistently beforehand the aggregation with the edge, counting on this metric to actuate not which is the best team, but which is best fit to run through the bracket.
I’ve formed with these numbers over time and about accept by the ranks as they amalgamate win anticipation and the stats I buy as impactful, but I don’t apperception aberration off beforehand if I anticipate a aggregation is an barring to the rules I’ve created. OK, abundant babbling. Below are my accepted adeptness ranks in agreement of Final Four Annual (it’s golf style, low annual wins) and what my bracket would attending like if the affray started today. Remember that these rankings are fluid, as every bold played will aftereffect in a abuse … but I’ve been cat-and-mouse aback November to ample out a bracket and I debris to delay any longer!
How do those ranks administer to the bracket as it currently stands, per Joe Lunardi’s ESPN Bracketology? I’ve abounding out the bracket as it currently stands and I’m actuality to avert every selection.
No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 16 Saint Peter’s
There is still affluence to be abstruse about the Bears, but their application on the abhorrent bottle and stingy aegis annihilate any blackmail of them acceptable the additional 1-seed to abatement in the aboriginal round. The Peacocks brand out as the 64th-ranked aggregation in this field, both in agreement of statistical résumé and nickname.
No. 8 LSU vs. No. 9 Saint Mary’s
A 30-point blow at home adjoin the Zags is a bad look, but that’s absolutely the abandoned ache I accept with Saint Mary’s, and you apperceive what? Gonzaga is absolutely good. The Gaels about-face the brawl over on abandoned 13.8% of their abhorrent plays (13th everyman in the nation) and rank amid the aristocratic in KenPom’s chain metric. A brace of upperclassman in Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts annual for about 40 credibility a night, a akin of abhorrent authority that makes this aggregation a boxy out.
No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 East Tennessee State
I accept this bold actuality absitively by four points, so if you’re agog to aces a 12-seed, this isn’t a bad spot. That said, I do favor Colorado’s bend at the chargeless bandy line, both in agreement of converting and attached its opponent’s attempts, abundant to anticipate they beforehand in a abutting one.
No. 4 Creighton vs No. 13 Stephen F. Austin
The accomplished ages has been blowzy with absorbing Creighton performances, so I’m accommodating to discount the egg the Bluejays laid on Feb. 5 at Providence. The backlash amount will charge to beforehand if they appetite to adeptness what I accept is their beam (keep reading), but in this field, they are top 15 in every added metric I admeasurement and that positions them for a abeyant connected run.
No. 6 Butler vs No. 11 Virginia
The arresting champions accept rebounded accurately afterwards blow four times in beneath than two weeks, but let’s not kid ourselves here: If you aces them, you are acrimonious the name and not the accepted roster. This Butler aggregation has captivated its own throughout the arduous Big East division and at the aforementioned methodical clip that Virginia does. It wouldn’t be an absorbing game, but the Bulldogs are the play.
No. 3 Penn State vs. No. 14 Hofstra
I accept my questions about the Nittany Lions and they rank abandoned in the average of the backpack in this arena for me, but their able assist-to-turnover amount puts them in a abundant atom to draft out a Hofstra aggregation that ranks in the basal bisected of D-I in arresting efficiency.
No. 7 Michigan vs No. 10 Northern Iowa
I accept Northern Iowa ranked as the assured top 10 in this bracket and amid my admired agitated teams overall, but Michigan’s aristocratic casual makes it the bigger aces should this bold appear bottomward to the wire as I suspect. It has been a aflutter alley for the Wolverines, but with Isaiah Livers back, this is not a 7-seed. Boxy breach for the Panthers in this convenance run, but accumulate an eye on them.
No. 2 Dayton vs. No. 15 Bowling Green
This is a conflict of the accomplished order. If this bold took abode today, I would not aloof feel acceptable about advancing the Flyers, I’d absorb aloof about whatever cardinal Vegas acquaint as the spread. Dayton’s breach is absolute and it’s amazing aback things are run through Obi Toppin.
Baylor vs. Saint Mary’s
The Bears’ breach profiles as one that has formed in accomplished tournaments and that should acquiesce them to annual with an offensively able Gaels squad. Assuming that is the case, I’d like them to cull abroad in the additional bisected of this bold as their aegis locks in and slows the Ford/Fitts bike that accounts for over 49% of St. Mary’s production.
Colorado vs. Creighton
The four-line is a admired atom to be and with Creighton hitting its stride, it can comedy with anyone. Tyler Bey abandoned could accomplish this bold absorbing with his adeptness to batter the glass, but at the end of the day, I don’t assurance the Buffaloes to accomplish constant acceptable looks abundant to aces them here.
Butler vs. Penn State
I’ve had my eye on Butler for a while now and while the asperous accomplished two months anguish me, I anticipate the Bulldogs bout up able-bodied here. I adulation what Penn State has been able to do this season, but in a abutting game, I appetite rebounds and chargeless bandy shooting, two boxes arrested in Butler’s favor.
Michigan vs. Dayton
You apperceive what Dayton has that Michigan doesn’t? Consistency. I anticipate this bold could be an burning archetypal if both teams are arena at the aiguille of their powers, but the numbers skew in the Flyers’ favor due to their adeptness to repeat. Fortunately for Michigan, the Wolverines still accept a ages to add to their résumé and with a added favorable draw, they could be a bracket buster.
Baylor vs. Creighton
You appetite to advantage the acreage in your March Madness pool? I’ve got you covered, as this looks abundant like the Duke/VCU atom that I almost absent on aftermost season. Is Baylor good? Of course, but the amount in acrimonious adjoin the Bears in this atom would far exhausted advancing them. Strip abroad the aggregation names … what if I told you that a aggregation that fouls less, shoots bigger aback at the band and about is added able on the abhorrent end would be the underdog? Now, Baylor does excel on the arresting end, but I’ve apparent abundant from Creighton aback the new year on the arresting end to argue me that the Jays can authority their own. I say Creighton holds its own on the bottle and sends Baylor home acknowledgment to its abhorrent efficiency.
Butler vs. Dayton
Dayton isn’t a aggregation I’d alarm up-tempo, but the Flyers comedy abundant faster than Butler and I anticipate that would comedy a big role in them advancing to the Aristocratic Eight. Aback it comes to attempt selection, the Flyers authority a cogent bend (Kamar Baldwin is great, but streaky), so if the control calculation exceeds Butler’s norm, this one could about-face ugly. Butler excels at attached accessible buckets (top 20 in adversary 2P%), but there isn’t a amateur or a arrangement I assurance to apathetic Toppin. A nice activity of stars in this one, but I’m demography Dayton every time.
Creighton vs. Dayton
In a Dr. Seuss special, we get two actual agnate teams that I could both see authoritative the Final Four in a altered draw. Anyone can activity assay of a apocryphal matchup, few can exhausted it …
We are in the era of math
One that favors the unleashing of abhorrent wrath
Maximize shots and abetment they say
3P% and brawl security, both ancestry of a accurate Bluejay
One aggregation is activity tested, one aggregation beneath so
Experiences that authority weight, article we know
Call it an upset, alarm it a hot take
I don’t absolutely care, for this March money I will make.
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Austin Peay
If you affected me to characterization the best aggregation in the country in the average of December: Kansas. January: Kansas. February: Kansas. I don’t anticipate it’s a runaway, but the Jayhawks aren’t blow to one of the 10 beeline rosters in the land. Nope.
No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Rhode Island
It’s close, but Rhode Island comes in as the aggregation I abhorrence atomic in this region. Wisconsin isn’t a aggregation afterwards flaws, but the Badgers accept apparent me abundant on the arresting end (top 20 in adapted efficiency) to anticipate they can apathetic Fatts Russell (20.2 credibility per game). Wisconsin advances to be a sacrificial lamb in the annular of 32.
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 12 Vermont
Anthony Lamb can collapsed out brawl (16.4 credibility per bold during his four years as a Catamount), but in today’s game, I’ll appropriately booty the guard-oriented aggregation aback styles clash. Payton Pritchard is on the abbreviate annual of players I assurance with the brawl backward in amateur and the actuality that the top four scorers on this Ducks aggregation are all reliable shooters has me admiring their abeyant both in this antagonism and this March as a whole.
No. 4 Kentucky vs No. 13 New Mexico State
Stream added than 1,500 men’s academy basketball amateur this division from added than 20 conferences, including the Big 12, American and Atlantic 10. Watch all division on ESPN
Believe it or not, I accept this as a coin-flip bold and would angular the added way if not for Kentucky’s bracket-best chargeless bandy shooting. It’s not an blow that the Aggies haven’t absent in over two months, as they accept a leash of players averaging over 11 credibility and at atomic bristles boards. They haven’t apparent a amateur like the much-improved Nick Richards and I anticipate they ultimately appear up short, but don’t discount them in a ages if they bout up with a aggregation about which you accept reservations.
No. 6 BYU vs No. 11 Cincinnati
BYU has seven losses this division and bristles of them came either in overtime or by bristles or beneath points. How abundant abnormally would we appearance the Cougars if a animation or two turns three of those losses into wins? Yoeli Childs has accurate game-breaking abeyant for an breach that won’t exhausted itself (1.59 in assist-to-turnover amount this season, third best in D-I).
No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 14 UC Irvine
Louisville’s Jordan Nwora has the abeyant to accomplish a Kemba Walker-like run if he is exhausted on all cylinders, and while his inconsistencies alarm me, I don’t see it actuality an affair in this spot.
No. 7 Texas Tech vs No. 10 Xavier
Despite agnate strength-of-schedule grades, the Raiders accept been above on both ends of the court. Don’t get this Tech aggregation abashed with aftermost season’s runner-up squad, but this aggregation boasts four double-digit scorers and shares the brawl at an aristocratic level.
No. 2 Maryland vs. No. 15 Arkansas Little Rock
The Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith bike is a scattering for any team, let abandoned an overmatched Little Rock team. The Terps accept had a amateur annual at atomic 18 credibility in over 70% of their appointment games, article that gives them too aerial a scoring attic for me to anticipate they don’t adeptness the additional anniversary of play.
Kansas vs. Wisconsin
Bully ball. As abundant as basketball, in general, is trending adjoin athletes in space, KU can badger best teams and this is a accurately able antagonism accustomed that Wisconsin ranks amid the 10 affliction airy teams in this field. Some top seeds are threatened afore the Sweet 16 … Kansas is not “some” top seed.
Oregon vs. Kentucky
Two credibility are added than one. Yep, acceptable affair you came to the researcher for the analysis. The Ducks own the 15th-best eFG% amid teams in this field, so I’ll booty my affairs in their backbone constant in added credibility than the Wildcats’ advanced mentioned accurateness from the stripe, abnormally aback you accede that UK ranks 302nd in the nation in adversary about-face percentage. Yikes.
BYU vs. Louisville
BYU is added than able of earning a cruise to the Sweet 16, the Cougars aloof bolt a boxy breach actuality in a absolute conflict on the glass. The perimeter-oriented Cougars would charge to shoot the lights out, article they are able of doing, but not article I’m adequate in projecting. The Cardinals’ top four scorers all grab over 5.5 boards a bold and their autogenous duo of Steven Enoch and Malik Williams is, on paper, far too abundant for BYU to handle for 40 minutes.
Texas Tech vs. Maryland
This profiles as a coin-toss bold for me, but with Maryland trending up, I’d aback them if this bold took abode today. Smith has been a airy apparatus in appointment comedy and I don’t anticipate Texas Tech would accept an acknowledgment for him bottomward the amplitude of a abutting game.
Kansas vs. Oregon
This is aloof a dream draw for the Jayhawks, as they get addition aggregation they should physically boss on the glass. Kansas is aloof too well-rounded, too well-coached to abatement to a aggregation that relies so heavily on bouncer play. KU is the abandoned aggregation to rank in the top 10 in both abhorrent and arresting adeptness while additionally boasting a top-20 backlash rate. I adulation Oregon, but the Ducks would charge a lot to go appropriate to cull this off.
Louisville vs. Maryland
If I’m actuality honest, this basal bisected of the arena is as boxy as it gets. I like Louisville in this atom because the Cardinals accept the amateur I best assurance on the cloister and they are added reliable from 3 (12th in 3P% compared to Maryland’s 235th). I’m not in adulation with either aggregation at the moment (both alfresco of my top 15 adeptness ranks), authoritative it accessible that neither aggregation advances this far if not for adverse anniversary other.
Kansas vs. Louisville
Kansas could assuredly be challenged in the additional weekend, as Louisville is able of banging with the Jayhawks in the paint. That said, the actuality that they won in West Virginia (Feb. 12) on a night aback Devon Dotson had abandoned two assists and absent nine of 13 shots is absolute terrifying. The Jayhawks can win with a array of styles and that plays able-bodied this time of year.
No. 1 San Diego State vs. No. 16 North Florida
If I had to aces a 16-seed to cull off the upset, the Ospreys and their nation-leading 44.4% of credibility that appear via the amateur would be it due to their abhorrent beam (UMBC was plus-24 from 3 in their 2018 agitated of top-ranked Virginia) but … no thanks. San Diego State is all sorts of accepted and I apprehend the Aztecs to prove as abundant during the aboriginal anniversary of action.
No. 8 Rutgers vs. No. 9 Oklahoma
In abutting games, the cardinal of accessible credibility is amplified. Well, the Sooners contour as the blazon of aggregation I’ll appropriately booty in a coin-toss bold not abandoned because they rank 12th in the nation in chargeless bandy percentage, but additionally because they accomplish fouls at the second-lowest rate. Don’t belittle this aggregation because of the big cardinal in the blow column.
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Yale
You came for the 12-5 upset, so I’ll accord you the 12-5 upset! While the agenda Yale plays is decidedly beneath alarming than that of Marquette, I don’t anticipate the Bulldogs’ able adeptness metrics are a mirage. A leash of upperclassmen annual for about 60% of their breach and I’d rather bet on an abhorrent beforehand beforehand three means like that than the Marquette beforehand that relies far too abundant on Markus Howard at times.
No. 4 Auburn vs No. 13 Wright State
Auburn can be a absolute threat. Can be. The Tigers accept that array of talent, but a abridgement of constant ambit cutting makes them a blackmail to bow out to aloof about anyone. At the end of the day, I anticipate they are too acceptable in the acrylic to lose this game, but I anticipate it’s bound bottomward the amplitude and that is consistently scary. Auburn is apparently a aggregation that creates break in brackets this division (for bigger or worse).
No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Arizona State
This Buckeyed aggregation doesn’t abundant resemble the band that absent six of seven at the alpha of appointment comedy and it should calmly beforehand through the aboriginal round. I anticipate playmaking on the abhorrent ancillary will be an affair in time, but Arizona State is a binding tourney aggregation that I don’t accept ends up accepting the nod appear Alternative Sunday.
No. 3 Seton Hall vs. No. 14 Colgate
Another first-round bold that I anticipate would be afterpiece than most, as Seton Hall is the blazon of foul-prone aggregation that could bore your bracket in the amiss matchup. That said, Myles Powell has game-breaking abeyant and Colgate is activity to accept a adamantine time blockage him. Actual hard. Seton Hall advances but not afterwards a sweat.
No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 10 Wichita State
Iowa is one of the added maddening teams in the coursing this season, as the Hawkeyes’ ambit of outcomes is off the charts. I buy their abhorrent chops in a “if-they-get-rolling-they-can-win-the-whole-darn-thing” array of way on the ample amateur of Luka Garza, but this “defense” could be the abstract to the Hawkeye’s Titanic. In this opening-round matchup, a bisected of acceptable basketball should be abundant to survive and advance.
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Montana
Nice of Montana for playing. Vernon Carey & Co. are aloof way too abundant on the bottle in this atom and Duke seems to accept recovered from its afterwards losses in mid-January. This Blue Devils aggregation isn’t flawless, but their acceptable is as acceptable as any aggregation in the country.
San Diego State vs. Oklahoma
I accept that Oklahoma has faced far added high-end teams than San Diego State, but the aberration in eFG% (over six allotment points) is artlessly too abundant to discount here. Malachi Flynn is a appropriate amateur with a ample accomplishment set that should accept the Aztecs affectionate cerebration about abundant added than an allure to the additional anniversary of games.
Yale vs. Auburn
Did addition say eFG%? Yale ranks 11th in this acreage and Auburn ranks 46th, and that could able-bodied pave the way for a bracket-shaking result. We are ambidextrous with a quick turnaround (one day of prep) and adeptness has accurate actual analytical in those spots recently. Aftermost season, that meant chargeless bandy cutting and in 2018 eFG% reigned supreme. How abundant so? Accede these numbers:
• In the aboriginal annular of 2019, the bigger FT% aggregation was 13-3 in the additional round.
• In the aboriginal annular of 2018, the bigger eFG% aggregation was 12-4 in the additional round.
Shooting adeptness is article to hunt on abbreviate blow and I’m demography abounding advantage in this spot. The kids from Yale not abandoned will aphorism our world, they additionally aphorism the day and move on to the Sweet 16.
Ohio State vs. Seton Hall
Opponents are authoritative aloof 41.5% of their 2-point acreage goals adjoin the Buckeyes this division (fourth-best in the country), authoritative them able of assault anyone that has an off night from distance. It’s difficult to assurance Seton Hall from ambit (211th in the nation at 32.4%) and if this bold is played at Ohio State’s pace, I like the Buckeyes in a low-scoring result.
Iowa vs. Duke
I beforehand my anticipation that Iowa can exhausted anyone in the country, but the bracket isn’t about what could happen, it is about what is best acceptable to happen, and that’s a Duke victory. With Tre Jones administering an able offense, and Carey on Garza detail, this is about as bad a antagonism for the Hawkeyes as there is.
San Diego State vs. Yale
Yale bows out afterwards a nice showing, as San Diego State pushes the clip and flexes its abhorrent depth. KJ Feagin has appear on of backward (15-plus credibility in three beeline amateur bridging January and February) and I anticipate the affection of scoring options advances the Aztecs into the additional weekend.
Ohio State vs. Duke
As of this posting, the Blue Devils beforehand the ACC and that has accurate to be a acceptable augury over the accomplished decade. If OSU makes it this far, the Buckeyes accept connected their able comedy and, at their best, I anticipate they can accord Duke a abundant game. But over the beforehand of 40 minutes, I’ll appropriately booty the aggregation with a abundant greater assembly attic on both ends of the court.
San Diego State vs. Duke
Could this be the bold of the tournament? I anticipate it’s possible. My numbers beforehand that this is a 3-point bold in either direction, and while the critics will point to us not alive if SDSU can adhere with the big boys because of its schedule, we won’t apperceive that for abiding until it does. And you apperceive what? It’s too backward by then, so you charge to booty a able attitude on the Aztecs: Are you in or are you out? I’m in and I’m activity to adduce them baronial top 12 in this acreage in eFG%, FT% and assist-to-turnover rate. Duke doesn’t analysis a audible one of those boxes. Yep, we accept a San Diego aggregation apery the East Arena in Atlanta.
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Robert Morris
The Zags are as acceptable as anyone in the canton and are already afresh congenital for an continued run. Filip Petrusev anchors a able advanced band and the backcourt is a nice alloy of playmakers and shot-takers.
No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 Florida
I accept this as a 2-point bold in Illinois’ favor, so it can absolutely go either way. These 8-9 spots are brutal, but I’ll booty the aggregation that ranks top 10 (among this field) in allotment of arresting plays constant in chargeless throws over a aggregation that is basal 10 in the metric. Accessible credibility are boxy to appear by and that audible of an bend is abundant to amplitude me.
No. 5 Arizona vs. No. 12 Furman
Another 5-12 that should be hotly contested. Furman is flirting with 80 credibility on a nightly base acknowledgment to a quartet of double-digit scorers, three of whom are converting added than bisected of their shots. On the added side, Nico Mannion is able of demography over a game, but he is additionally able of arena the Wildcats out of it. He has struggled lately, but as connected as he stays advancing (18 FTs vs. USC on Feb. 6 was a nice sight), I anticipate he shows up aback the lights are brightest.
No. 4 Villanova vs. No. 12 North Texas
For these bigger upsets, you charge the advantaged aggregation to exhausted itself and leave the aperture accessible for the abominable result. I aloof don’t see that accident for a Nova aggregation that ranks ninth best in the country in about-face rate, article I don’t see alteration adjoin a not-so-mean Mean Green defense.
No. 6 Michigan State vs. No. 11 USC
The Spartans were the top aggregation advancing into the division and while they’ve underachieved in a above way, they still accept an aristocratic point bouncer in Cassius Winston forth with a drillmaster who will put this accomplished accumulation in positions to succeed. Are they as acceptable as we anticipation they were? No, but neither are best of the teams we absorbed up this preseason. Their anatomy will be account tracking throughout the Big Ten tournament, as a locked-in Xavier Tillman gives them additional weekend potential.
No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 14 South Dakota State
West Virginia is a actual bound 3-seed in my opinion. Sure, the Mountaineers can backlash and defend, but I anguish about them on the added end of the attic and that could prove cher adjoin a sneaky-efficient South Dakota State aggregation that ranks sixth in this acreage in eFG%. The Mountaineers attempt from the line, abhorrent too abundant and about-face the brawl over on 17.7% of their abetment (bottom 100 in the nation). They are the added accomplished team, but a antagonism like this is scary. Douglas Wilson and the Jackrabbits cull off the shocker.
No. 7 Houston vs. No. 10 Purdue
Does Purdue attempt because it’s not a home bold or attempt because it’s not a alley game? Academy basketball’s Schrodinger’s Cat agreement apparently will depend on the adversary and I anticipate the Boilermakers accept a boxy draw in Houston, the top airy aggregation in the nation. Of course, the antagonism isn’t the same, but I’ve been underwhelmed with Purdue’s assignment on the bottle and with both of these teams boasting agnate balance, accord me the aggregation that projects for added added possessions. Houston moves on.
No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 15 Winthrop
Winthrop isn’t a pushover, but Florida State has accurate able of acceptable in abounding altered styles and has the adeptness to lock bottomward on the arresting end. It wouldn’t be a blowout, but FSU advances afterwards abundant of a diaphoresis for those abetment them.
Gonzaga vs. Illinois
Any time one academy owns the best able breach and operates at a clip that ranks in the top 10 percentile of D-I, it is activity to be a boxy out and that is absolutely what Mark Few’s aggregation is doing. The Zags accept been canoeing accomplished 80 credibility all division and they artlessly accept too abounding options to anticipate they abatement victim to an aboriginal upset.
Arizona vs. Villanova
Arizona fouls way too abundant to anticipate it beats an aristocratic chargeless bandy cutting Villanova team. The Collin Gillespie/ Saddiq Bey aggregate is boxy to accord with in agreement of their versatility, article I apprehend to become added and added axiomatic as we access Alternative Sunday.
Michigan State vs. South Dakota State
Winston has my assurance and he can alone adviser this aggregation to a win over a aggregation ranked alfresco the top 200 in adapted arresting efficiency.
Houston vs. Florida State
Florida State owns the tallest agenda in D-I this season, and while acme doesn’t consistently construe to airy success, I anticipate it helps FSU absolute Houston’s primary strength. Assuming that is the case, the Seminoles are artlessly too able on the abhorrent end to lose here, abnormally aback Devin Vassell is acclamation the connected brawl (and that’s best of the time).
Gonzaga vs. Villanova
I’d adulation to see this bold from a artful standpoint, but unless article changes, I’m aloof not abiding Villanova would accept an acknowledgment for Petrusev in the middle. His added assailment over the accomplished ages has been a afterimage to catch and is what makes Gonzaga a accurate appellation threat. He can exhausted the outcomes of amateur by himself and there’s no way I’m action adjoin him in this atom (Villanova: 122nd in backlash rate).
Michigan State vs. Florida State
Call it an agitated if you appetite because of the seeding, the contour is there. Rocket Watts isn’t the best constant of players, but he absolutely has the abeyant to win a bold in March for his aggregation and this could be it adjoin a able aegis that will attending to accomplish a accessory advantage exhausted it.
Gonzaga vs. Michigan State
Great coaching. Two programs with success all over the accomplished decade-plus. Who wouldn’t adulation this game? Sparty holds a audible advantage in aggregation FT%, so MSU could cull this off if it’s close. I’m aloof not abiding it would be. Gonzaga’s advanced band is artlessly added constant and I anticipate that airy bend would acquiesce the Zags to behest tempo. The added abetment there are in this game, the added I like the Zags, so accord me the fightin’ Mark Fews to advance.
Creighton vs. San Diego State
Did you annal advanced to see who I had here? Bet this is a arrant set of names. These are two of the top-10 teams in my adeptness ranks and absolutely accept agnate profiles, but the akin of antagonism for Creighton is acutely a big bonus. The Bluejays aren’t abnormally deep, but anybody they put on the attic can get a brazier and best of them are accommodating rebounders. I anguish that Flynn relies a little too abundant on the 3-ball (48% of his shots this season) and a abiding slump is a above affair adjoin an breach that ranks fourth in the nation in efficiency.
Kansas vs. Gonzaga
Chalk reigns absolute on this bisected of the bracket and this could be an absorbing bold with neither aggregation cutting abundant from the chargeless bandy band (both basal 10 in this field). Both of these squads are able of acceptable the accomplished thing, but I anticipate Bill Self finds a way to apathetic the tempo, appropriately banishment Gonzaga to columnist aloof a bit … brawl game. This KU aggregation is too accomplished for a aggregation to try to adapt what it does, so accord me the Jayhawks in a grind-it-out bold that comes bottomward to bouncer scoring as the bigs abolish anniversary added out.
Creighton vs. Kansas
Monday (Feb. 17) was the aboriginal time in added than two months a aggregation replaced Kansas aloft my adeptness ranks, but I’m afraid to what has been the case for best of the division and cyberbanking on #RockChalk accomplishment the top atom over the abutting month. The aftermost time the Jayhawks ran the table was 2008, the abandoned division in which all four 1-seeds won their regions and a agenda had seven pros on it. I don’t anticipate this aggregation is that good, but its able breach complements its stingy aegis able-bodied and makes the Jayhawks my admired as we sit actuality one ages from tourney time. Kansas cuts bottomward the nets with Dotson proving to be the aberration in the additional bisected of a hotly contested game: 76-70.
One ages abroad from March Madness amateur that count. One ages abroad from the accomplished product. One ages abroad from the apotheosis of actuality a sports fan. Hot takes on the academy mural as we move adjoin the tournament? Sleeper teams that you appetite to be on almanac as affection added than I do? Aloof appetite to aperture on a team/conference/etc.? I’m @KyleSoppeESPN on Twitter and am consistently attractive to apprehend your thoughts.
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