March Madness Predictions
(Pre-Selection Sunday Rankings)
The 2021 college basketball season is winding down. After a year of uncertainty, the selection committee will have its hands full determining the final seeding. With geography not playing a role this year, it is more difficult to predict the final bracket. Let us look at the likely field pre–Selection Sunday final rankings.
Projected Number 1 Seeds
Gonzaga Bulldogs: Unlike some years, this year has given us a clear-cut number one seed. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are deserving of every praise they are getting. Zags coach Mark Few has set this team up for major success this season. They are 26-0 this season after finishing off BYU in the WCC Conference Championship. Corey Kispert is a veteran guy who has stuck around at Gonzaga for his fourth year. Kispert leads the Zags in scoring and has become a threat both outside the arc and inside. This team has a mix of veteran guys with young talent. They move the ball so quick, barely allowing defenses time to get set. Their WCC schedule is poor but they have beat both a fantastic Kansas team and the number five team in the country, Iowa. This team is going to be hard to beat this year. Look for a long tournament run by the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Baylor Bears: The Baylor Bears arguably have the most talent in the field. Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell are both going to the NBA, possibly in the first round. Jared Butler has quickly become one of the best true point guards with his ability to make plays on both ends of the floor. Butler shows up on the opponent's scouting report as a guy you need to pick up early. The Bears have shown weaknesses in their losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State but nothing glaring that Scott Drew cannot fix for the tournament. Look for Baylor to go the distance with their talent.
Michigan Wolverines: Michigan is a well-rounded, explosive team led by Hunter Dickenson. This team was blown out by Illinois at the end of the season. However, the loss boiled down to Michigan not being able to knock down the three-pointer and Illinois having a hard time missing the three-ball. Yes, this can happen at any time in the tournament, but Juwan Howard and the Wolverines will be up to the task in a win or go home scenario.
Illinois Fighting Illini: The Fighting Illini have found success as of late where they are absolutely destroying teams. One of their latest victims was Michigan and then Rutgers in the Big Ten Quarterfinals. Junior Ayo Dosunmu has been improving each year at Illinois. He has improved his scoring to over 20 points a game and is shooting 40% from three. Dosunmu is likely a mid-first round 2021 NBA draft pick. Look for him to lead the Fighting Illini far in the tournament.
Other Notable Teams
Oklahoma State (Projected 3 Seed): Cade Cunningham and turned into an absolute superstar this season. He has excellent size for a guard, he shoots the ball exceptionally well and plays above-average defense. The players around him are good enough to propel this team to success.
Iowa (Projected 2 Seed): Luka Garza is the likely college basketball player of the year after he was recently named the Big Ten Player of the Year. Iowa went on an absolute tear early in the season where they looked miles ahead of any other team. They fell slightly after losing to some stellar Big Ten teams.
March Madness Bracketology Predictions
(click on the image to view the printable bracket)
Wisconsin (Projected 6 Seed): The Big Ten was absolutely stacked this year. The list just keeps getting bigger of teams that should make the tournament. The Badgers have a lot of returning talent and a coach in Greg Gard that has had success in March. Look for the Badgers to make a surprise run.
Missouri (Projected 8 Seed): The Tigers have fallen under the radar because of their sheer number of losses but they have fantastic wins as well. The Tigers beat a great Alabama team early in the season as well as Tennessee, Florida, and most notably, Illinois. They have a deep, talented team that is poised to make a tournament run.
Final Four Predictions
All number one seeds have a legitimate chance to win the tournament. Yet, there has only been one time in the history of the tournament that all four one seeds have made it to the final four. Therefore, here are predictions of who will make it to the Final Four.
It is clear that the Gonzaga Bulldogs are not showing any signs of slowing down. They are simply too hard to beat and no one besides the other number one seeds seems to have a chance against the Zags. The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Cade Cunningham have surprised everyone as of late. Often it is all about playing good basketball at the right time and the Cowboys are doing just that. The Wisconsin Badgers as a six-seed have been playing well under Greg Gard and have the veteran presence to make a deep run. If the Baylor Bears can play well each game and play some actual defense, they can outscore anyone. This is going to be a fantastic tournament.
Predicted March Madness 2021 Winner: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Bracket Predictions found at: https://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/page/bracketology/the-varying-states-ncaa-tournament-bracketology
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