We like to focus most of our attention to the NBA game, but we also like to partake in some college hoops every now and then as well, so we wanted to offer our thoughts on which teams we like in this year’s tournament and who to keep an eye on in the big games.
There are no wrong ways to fill out a bracket for March Madness, but there’s only one right way to do it. Hopefully this guide helps.
Villanova is now the prohibitive favorite after De’Andre Hunter hurt his wrist, which will undoubtedly hurt Virginia’s chances. The Wildcats have talent up and down the roster from Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges to Phil Booth and Omari Spellman. They should have the inside track.
However, Villanova is also where Kyle Lowry went to school, and he only shot 31.6 percent from the field when the Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs. That production can’t be trusted when games matter. Instead, we’ll ride with a team who knows how to produce players who can deliver big games at the Air Canada Centre.
Our pick: Florida (Bradley Beal went there)
Kansas is the top seed in the region and there’s no reason to think they can’t make another deep run this season. Bill Self puts together strong teams every season and the Jayhawks have an incredible track record when it comes to producing pro talent.
Drew Gooden played at Kansas in college, and what he learned there enabled him to have a remarkable performance when the Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs. The 33-year-old went 7-of-14 from deep in the series. He made more threes than Kyle Lowry, Lou Williams, or DeMar DeRozan did in the series. Clearly, Jayhawks age like fine wine.
Our pick: Kansas (Drew Gooden went there)
As we mentioned earlier, the Cavaliers are reeling after Hunter’s injury, so this region is wide open. It seems like a great opportunity for Kentucky to step up and fill the power vacuum in the region.
John Calipari always brings a stacked roster to the tournament, like in 2010 when he had John Wall on his roster. Wall went on to be the top overall pick in the draft that summer and averaged 17.3 points and 12.5 assists per game when the Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs. That’s the kind of talent you need to make a deep run in March.
Our pick: Kentucky (John Wall went there)
There’s just something about the number four that evokes strength. Just look at how it adds that extra oomph to this sentence:
Washington won four games in a row when the Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs.
So yeah, just go ahead take the fourth-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs. There are probably some guys on the team that are good or whatever.
Our pick: Gonzaga (4-0)
As powerful as four is, it’s no match for what John Wall did to Toronto. Remember this sequence?
If you needed one play to demonstrate Washington was the better team in the series, that’s the one. If you need one sentence to demonstrate Washington was the better team, just say the following: “The Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs.”
In the other matchup, it’s tempting to go with Florida, since Beal played a bigger role than Gooden did, but don’t forget Paul Pierce is also a Jayhawk. He played a massive role when the Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs.
Before the series, he said the Raptors didn’t have “it”, then he followed it up by hitting big shots in their Game 1 overtime win in Toronto, then he said “I don’t want to go through customs no more” after they won Game 2 in Canada, then he hit a big shot to seal their win in Game 3, and then he finished it off by calling Drake a fool after the Wizards completed the sweep.
You can spend a lot of time debating the final between Kentucky and Kansas. Wall and Pierce were both important in their own ways when the Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs. However, Kentucky also has to claim Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes, who were playing for Toronto when the Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs.
With that in mind, the choice is clear.
Our pick: Kansas (The Wizards swept the Raptors in the 2015 playoffs)