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2017 March Madness Predictions
Updated: June 2017


With the Selection Sunday already behind us and the brackets are filled out with the selected teams, it is Madness time! Let's take a look at some tournement predictions and try to find the winner. With the tournament betting odds changing so frequently for the bracket chamption, make sure you lock in your odds before the tournament starts.

Odds to win March MadnessThe First Four will begin play on Tuesday, March 14, on the campus of the University of Dayton. The first and second rounds will be played beginning Thursday, March 16 and ending on Sunday, March 19, at a number of venues around the country. The first weekend of play will determine the Sweet Sixteen which will continue play the following weekend. Regional semifinals and finals will be played on March 23 through March 26. The Final Four will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Semifinals games will be played on Saturday, April 1, and the national championship game is set for Monday, April 3. Complete TV coverage and schedule for the 2017 March Madness tournament.

Here’s a look at the favorites in the 2017 version of March Madness.

Repeat Champion?

Not since Florida in 2006 and 2007 has a team repeated as champion, but the Villanova Wildcats certainly have a shot at defending their title. After a 77-74 win over North Carolina in last year’s nationalchampionship game, the Wildcats returned almost their entire roster from a year ago. Kris Jenkins, who hit the game-winning shot in last year’s final, is back averaging 13.7 points a game. He is joined by 6-6 senior Josh Hart (19.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Jalen Brunson (14.1 ppg), and Mikal Bridges (10.2 ppg) who all scored in double figures for Villanova which is 19-2 heading into a weekend showdown with No. 12 Virginia. The Wildcats still have games remaining with Xavier, Butler, and Creighton, all of which are ranked, but head coach Jay Wright’s team will likely be a No. 1 seed with a great chance of becoming back-to-back champions.

The Big 12

The Big 12 might not be as competitive as it has been in previous years, but No. 5 Baylor and No. 18 West Virginia are looking to end the dominance of second-ranked Kansas. The Jayhawks lost for the first time in conference play to the Mountaineers and will face West Virginia once more and Baylor twice before the end of the regular season. The Jayhawks are as good as anyone with point guard Frank Mason III, the team’s leading scorer (19.9 ppg), Josh Jackson (15.5 ppg), and Devonte Graham (13.7 ppg). Add in experienced and big (6-10) Landen Lucas and quality minutes from 7-foot freshman Udoka Azubuike and Kansas is another likely No. 1 seed come tourney time.



March Madness Bracketology Predictions
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Kentucky?

The Wildcats (17-4) took a year off from the Final Four last year, but head coach John Calipari has once again assembled a roster full of NBA draft picks that should win the SEC regular season and conference tournament for the third year in a row. The Wildcats do have four losses, but three of those defeats came at the hands of UCLA, Louisville, and Kansas, teams all ranked in the Top 25. Malik Monk, a 6-3 freshman, averages 21.7 points a game to lead Kentucky. De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, and Edrice Adebayo all average in double figures and all are first- or second-year players. The SEC is relatively weak. South Carolina was ranked at one time. Kentucky beat them by 16 points. Calipari and company do have two games remaining with Florida, likely the Wildcats toughest remaining opponent. After that, it is highly possible the Wildcats find their way back to the Final Four.

The Last Team Standing in the ACC

It’s January and perennial power Duke is 4-4 in ACC play. North Carolina, another annual March Madness Bracket Predictionscontender, is in first place at 7-2. Virginia, one of the best defensive teams in the country every year, also has two losses. The surprise team of the ACC, Florida State, is now 6-3 after a pair of upset losses to Georgia Tech and Syracuse. Louisville (17-4, 5-3) and Notre Dame (17-5, 6-3) are also in the mix. The ACC is the definition of madness in 2017. When it is all said and done, the ACC regular season champ could have four or five losses. Whoever makes it through their difficult schedule may have the best opportunity of playing for a national title.

Don’t Forget the Big Ten

The Big Ten is not as strong as in recent years but the conference is very competitive. For the first time in forever, Northwestern has a shot at making the NCAA tourney. The Wildcats are the only major conference member that has never been invited to the Big Dance. Currently, Northwestern is 17-4 (6-2 in Big Ten play) and is in second place in the conference. Maryland (19-2, 7-1) and Wisconsin (18-3, 7-1) lead the conference. The Badgers are big and experienced. Ethan Happ (6-9) averages 14.5 points and 9.0 rebounds and 6-8 Nigel Hayes is a senior scoring 14.4 points per game. Senior guard Bronson Koenig adds 14.4 points a game and the leadership that could make another Final Four run possible. Wisconsin played in both the 2014 and 2015 Final Fours.

Surprises?

It’s not called March Madness for any reason. There always seems to be a team or two that sneaks up on you in the NCAA tournament. This year, it could another team from the Big East. Butler is 17-3 overall and has been ranked in the Top 25 all season. Creighton (18-2) has really turned it around but lost point guard Maurice Watson Jr. for the rest of the season. Watson, who was leading the nation in assists (8.5 per game), tore an ACL during a 72-67 win over Xavier, another ranked Big East team. Any one of the three – Butler, Creighton, or Xavier – could make a tournament run. Another team that could do the same is Gonzaga, the nation’s only remaining unbeaten. While it might not be a surprise to some, the Zags (22-0) have the size, talent, and experience to finally get to a Final Four.

 


 

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