March Madness; 68 Predictions for this year’s Big Dance
(68) The ACC will only get five teams in the tournament this year.
(67) The Virginia Tech Hokies will not be a bubble team this year, although they will look back fondly on the years when they were.
(66) Florida State will not be one of the five either.
(65) No ACC school will make it to the Sweet Sixteen this year.
(64) Maryland will advance farther than North Carolina and North Carolina State.
(63) Everyone will continue to hate Duke.
(62) Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Baylor will be the only four Big 12 schools in the NCAA Tournament.
(61) Baylor will get a 9 seed; some major college basketball writers/bloggers will think it too high while others think it too low.
(60) A vast majority of brackets will pick Baylor to win their first round match-up and a large percentage of these people will be properly berated for considering it an upset.
(59) Oklahoma State will advance the farthest out of any of the Big 12 teams.
(58) Kansas will have a better seed than last year (they were a 2) but will not advance as far as they did a season ago. (These all can’t be bold.)
(57) Connecticut will not make the NCAA Tournament. (Yes! Guaranteed correct!)
(56) For the first time in recent memory, the Big East conference will not be the conference with the most tournament bids.
(55) Syracuse will not be the highest seeded Big East school but they will advance the farthest in the tournament.
(54) Notre Dame will get upset in the first round by a team seeded lower than them.
(53) The same thing will happen to the Georgetown Hoyas.
(52) The Big Ten usurps the Most Tournament Teams throne from the Big East.
(51) The Big Ten becomes the undisputed best conference in the land, perfectly mirroring what happened to their schools during football season.
(50) Three Big Ten teams will make the Elite Eight.
(49) Someone will remark how the Big Ten is now “the SEC of basketball.” They will be given no credit for wittiness and will be criticized for the comment more than they are praised.
(48) With multiple teams in the Final Four, the Big Ten will still fail to win the National Championship.
(47) Washington will fail to make the NCAA Tournament.
(46) Both the university and Tony Wroten deeply regret that he left school early to enter the NBA draft.
(45) Both the university and Terrence Ross also regret that he left school early, although Wroten seems to not care at all about this.
(44) With only two schools winning their first round games, everyone will be quick to jump on the story of the continuing demise of the Pac-12 conference.
(43) This will gain steam when Arizona gets bounced earlier than expected in March Madness.
(42) The storyline will take a turn when UCLA outplays their seed and makes it to the Elite Eight.
(41) The SEC’s Florida Gators will be a 1 seed heading into the Big Dance.
(40) The Missouri Tigers will be a 2 seed in their first year in the SEC.
(39) Kentucky will be a 3 seed after making huge strides during the second half of the regular season.
(38) With three of the top 15 teams in the country, the SEC is the most top-heavy conference in the nation.
(37) The SEC will claim ownership of one quarter of this year’s Final Four.
(36) Stony Brook wins the America East conference and gains an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
(35) With the addition of VCU, the Atlantic 10 stakes its claim as the best high-major conference in the country.
(34) Temple wins their first game in the tournament from their perch as a double-digit seed.
(33) VCU goes farther than any of their old peers in the CAA.
(32) A team with an under .500 overall record wins the Atlantic Sun conference tournament and is automatically invited to the Big Dance.
(31) Weber State and Montana have such an awesome battle for the Big Sky conference crown that, if anyone cared, it would be described as “what college basketball is all about.”
(30) The winner of the Big South, as a 16 seed, gives a scare to the 1 seed they are paired with. The 1 seed ends up winning by a reasonably slim 12 point margin.
(29) Cal State Fullerton leads the nation in scoring and nabs the Big West’s automatic berth.
(28) In what has become an ironic “winner leaves town” situation, with many of the best schools departing, rumors immediately start to fly after George Mason wins another CAA title.
(27) For only the second time since 2005, someone other than Memphis wins Conference USA.
(26) Youngstown State upsets tourney favorite Valparaiso in the Horizon League final to advance to the Big Dance.
(25) The winner of the Ivy League gets undue credit during their first round blowout loss because “gosh, they have a great graduation rate.”
(24) The Fairfield Stags win the MAAC and enter tournament play as the only Connecticut school representing. What up Nutmeg State!
(23) Ohio University wins another Mid-American Conference title and, for the third time this century, numerous people will mistakenly pick them to advance to the Sweet Sixteen thinking they are Ohio State.
(22) After winning their first ever MEAC Conference championship a season ago, Norfolk State repeats, but sees no such tourney magic this time around and gets soundly romped in their first contest of the NCAA Tournament.
(21) Creighton does not win the Missouri Valley Conference but snags an at-large bid, to the disgust of many bubble teams.
(20) With a regular season title, UNLV gets back to the top of the Mountain West for the first time this century, wins the conference tournament as well, and captures their first March Madness win since 2008.
(19) Sacred Heart, Central Connecticut State, and Quinnipiac are all bounced from the Northeast conference tournament, to the shear delight of all Fairfield fans. Nutmeg State bragging rights abound!
(18) With no at-large bid in play for an Ohio Valley team, the championship game is a barn-burner between Murray State and Belmont, with the Bruins ultimately coming out on top.
(17) Bucknell steamrolls through the Patriot League and receives one of the better seeds for any mid-major in the tournament.
(16) For the second consecutive season and the second time since Stephen Curry happened, Davidson triumphs in the Southern Conference and makes the NCAAs.
(15) Oral Roberts (the Southland champ) and Southern University (the SWAC champ) will play each other in a “round one” game, a.k.a. one of the play-in games.
(14) North Dakota State runs through the Summit League regular season but gets upset in the conference tournament, crushing the spirits of their loyal fan base.
(13) In the Sun Belt tournament, an interesting occurrence develops. Florida Atlantic and Florida International team up; Arkansas State and Arkansas-Little Rock do as well; so do the two Louisiana squads: Monroe and Lafayette. The three super teams enter, but all for naught as Middle Tennessee still wins the conference and gets the automatic berth.
(12) Gonzaga, West Coast powerhouse and perennial mid-major darling, is once again knocked out a bit early from the NCAAs. People begin to wonder if the praise is unwarranted as the Zags haven’t made a deep tournament run in their last 13 tries.
(11) With Utah State looking nearly as dominant as they were in 2010-2011, the Aggies get taken down in the WAC final by Denver and have to settle for the NIT.
(10) Throughout the tournament, Florida Gator’s big man Erik Murphy becomes a breakout star. The long-range shooting senior displays his inside-outside game to perfection, averaging nearly 18 points per game in tournament play.
(9) In a sweet union, Florida’s coach, Billy Donovan, becomes widely considered one of the best coaches in the country after another long tournament run cements his legacy.
(8) On the opposite side of the spectrum, with the failures of Carolina and NC State so highly publicized, the draft stock of Tar Heel James Michael McAdoo and Wolfpack forward CJ Leslie will plummet with NBA teams unsure of how well the two will do at the next level.
(7) Since tournament play can make such a big difference with how pro scouts determine players deal with adversity and top competition, Trevor Mbakwe will skyrocket up draft boards following his stellar tournament performance for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
(6) With coaches not immune to this development either, Fairfield Stags head man Sydney Johnson will receive a few offers from high-major programs following the tournament.
(5) Since it’s always about the money, much like Shaka Smart and others in years prior, Johnson will return to Fairfield after a contract restructuring goes in his favor.
(4) The Final Four is comprised of Michigan, Ohio State, Missouri and Syracuse.
(3) Missouri will face the Michigan Wolverines in the tournament final.
(2) Laurence Bowers is named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. This, after missing all of last season with a torn ACL, is one of the better stories in all of college basketball.
(1) Behind Bowers and Phil Pressey, Missouri upsets tournament favorite Michigan to take the NCAA Championship.