The NCAA Tournament tips off today (yes I know the first four games started Tuesday. No one cares). Before the Round-of-64 officially tips-off, the CRFF staff has some predictions for what will happen this year’s tournament.
Not just predictions. BOLD predictions.
Bold tournament predictions are not unfamiliar to me, but they don't come on a whim. My most daring basketball predictions have usually come in dreams. My wildest came in 2015, I dreamt that Wisconsin would upset Kentucky in the Final Final four. That dream came in the plot of The Lego Movie. I have promised myself this year that I will only make one bracket which limits my predictions. There is no rhyme or reason to my current bracket other than "because they might.' College basketball is a weird place where no one is safe, not even Kansas at Allen. Here are my weirdest 3:
Round of 64: 12 Princeton over 5 Notre Dame
No reason, it just felt right.
Round of 32: 8 Northwestern over 1 Gonzaga
I actually have Northwestern going as far as the Elite Eight. They're pretty good, okay.
Sweet Sixteen: 8 Wisconsin over 4 Florida
I have Wisconsin making it to the championship. They're a great tournament team. Do not fight me on this.
1. Jawun Evans will have 30 points and 12 assists against Michigan, leading the Cowboys to victory.
2. Dunk City is back, baby! #14 seed Florida Gulf Coast will upset #3 seed Florida State.
3. I didn't even know East Tennessee State University existed until the bracket came out, but I'm taking them in an upset over Florida!
OSU to the Sweet 16!
OSU not only wins on Friday, they knock off Louisville in the second round behind a barrage of three-pointers by Jeffrey Carroll, Phil Forte, and Leyton Hammonds to reach the Sweet 16!
A Top Seed Upset
Only three of the No. 1 seeds will make it to the second weekend of the tournament... and one of them WILL be Gonzaga!
The Big 12 Shines!
The Big 12 has more Sweet 16 teams than the ACC! That’s right, the greatest conference of all time get’s fewer than three sweet 16 teams while the Big 12 gets four into the second weekend (sorry West Virginia and Kansas State).
1. None of the 1 seeds make it to the final 4.
2. Oklahoma State beats a 2-3 seed to knock them out and go to the elite 8.
3. Vanderbilt wins it all.
Oklahoma State will beat Louisville in the Round of 32
Just a gut feeling here. I wasn't overly impressed with Louisville from the bit I've watched them, and in their eight losses this season they averaged 66.25 points per game. This team relies on their defense more than their offense, and the Pokes have shown that they can beat some of the best defenses.
This will be the year a No. 1 seed will fall to a No. 16 seed
I know it hasn't happened before, but it has to happen eventually, right? FULL DISCLOSURE: I did not pick this in my bracket. I went extra bold already this month and it killed me. I'm not bold enough to do it twice in a month.
SMU will be the Cinderella of this tournament
To me, a Cinderella is lower than a 5-seed. SMU is a 6. And they are the team I have going farthest in my bracket, hence, they are my Cinderella.
1. The Big XII goes undefeated in the opening round of the Dance and advances three into the Sweet Sixteen. But which three will it be?
2. Mitchell Solomon emerges as the first weekend's MVP by averaging a double-double with another rendition of his exploits from the second half of the first match-up with Kansas. This is about as bold as you can get.
3. Gonzaga actually makes it to the Final Four and (finally) cuts down the nets as NCAA Champions! Mark Few has enjoyed some tremendous success as the Bulldogs' coach, but this team is able to put it all together for a storybook season that gives hope to other "non-traditional" powers. Two things: 1) I didn't actually pick Gonzaga to win, and 2) I realize Gonzaga has been relevant for so long that they might be considered a traditional power, but they've never been able to break through (a la Group of 5 contenders in football).