The Contenders (Seeds 1-4)
North Carolina: North Carolina brings a scary combination of size and speed to the tournament. Their ability to pound the ball inside and run the court is difficult to stop and their tremendous experience will help the compete for another national championship.
Kansas: The Jayhawks have one of the most dynamic offenses in the nation. Frank Mason, Josh Jackson, and Devonte Graham all averaged more than 13 points and Kansas as a team shot an incredible 48.7 percent from the field. The real challenge will be whether Kansas will cope with their lack of depth in their frontcourt.
Gonzaga: Discipline. That’s what Gonzaga is. A disciplined basketball team that avoids turnovers (16th in Ast/TO) and rebound better than most teams. Fifth year Senior Przemek Karnowski is a physical big man who dominates in the post and Nigel Williams-Goss is a smooth scorer. Ranked as a one seed, their physical style of play will allow the Zags to go deep in March.
Villanova: The Wildcats are another team that doesn’t beat themselves up with turnovers. Guard Josh Hart is a Wooden award candidate and sophomore Jalen Brunson is an extremely skilled point guard. Despite being underrated, Villanova has the talent to consecutive championships.
Duke: The Blue Devils have a scary combination of skill, length, and experience. Junior Grayson Allen is a scrappy scorer (14.1 PPG) and Freshman Jayson Tatum is expected to be a top-5 pick in the NBA Draft. In addition to Allen and Tatum, Duke still have former top recruits Marques Bolden, Javin Delaurier, and Harry Giles manning the bench.
Kentucky: Although very sloppy, Kentucky still has one of the more talented teams in the nation. Freshman Malik Monk can score the ball at will and center Bam Adebayo is one of the most dominant post players in college basketball. If Kentucky can work together as a team, they can make a run at a final four.
Arizona: After a season that fell under most fans radar, Arizona has climbed into the tournament with their best record with their best record since 2014. Their tough defense and solid offense will make them a tough team to stop in the tournament
Louisville: The Cardinals relentless pressure has made them a powerhouse in college basketball. With the help of sophomore Donovan Mitchell, Louisville has a reliable scorer who can slash and score in the paint and stretch defenses with his three point shot.
Florida State: Athleticsm. That’s what the Seminoles pride themselves on. Arguably one of the most athletic teams in the nation, Florida State find themselves in the tournament for the first time since 2012. With their tremendous size and athleticsm, the Seminoles should outmatch and intimidate most teams.
UCLA: With Freshman phenom Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf at the helm, the Bruins are the most feared offense in college basketball. Ball has developed into one of the best point guards in college basketball. UCLA has a scary combination of shooting ability (40.5 percent) and size (39.2 rebounds).
Oregon: Forward Dillon Brooks is one of the more underrated players in the tournament. With his big frame and smooth shot, he has developed into an elite scorer. After a shaky start to the season, the Ducks have won 27 of their last 30 and have scored more than 80 in half of those games. Always a tough team, the Ducks should be a difficult out for even the top teams.
Baylor: The Bears physical defense has allowed them to win 25 of their 32 games despite an extremely weak offense (186th in the nation). They have good size, but lack a true dominant scorer in order to advance deep in the tournament.
Florida: I like what Florida has. They are one of the rare teams who have several guys who can score. They move the ball around nicely and force opponents to take lots of contested shots. Look out for Sophomore Ke’Vaughn Allen (13.9 PPG) and athletic big man Devin Robinson (6.1 RPG).
West Virginia: West Virginia is a wild card because of their press. If teams break the press easily, the Mountaineers struggle to get back defensively and do not get easy baskets. Look out for Junior guard Jevon Carter who seems to be the floor general for an aggressive Mountainers offense.
Purdue: The Boilermakers offense runs on sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan. A powerful force who can stretch the floor, Swanigan has had one of the greatest seasons in Purdue basketball history (18.5 PPG, 12.6 RPG). Look for Purdue to be a tough out in the tournament due to their three point shooting, tough defense, and ball movement.
Butler: I feel like Butler has been contending for a national championship for the last five seasons. Every year they have a solid team that prides themselves on solid defense, hustle, and a talented offense that can shoot from beyond the arc and slash to the rim for tough shots. This year is no different and coach Chris Holtmann has this Bulldogs team in great shape for the tourney.
Notre Dame (5 seed): Not many teams move the ball like the Irish. If guard VJ Beachem finds his stroke during the tournament, Notre Dame will be a tough team to knock out.
SMU (6 seed): A very good defensive team ed by Semi Ojeleye (18.9 PPG), a transfer from Duke, the Mustangs have quietly entered the tournament with one of the best record in college basketball, 30-4.
Final Four: Kansas, UCLA, Duke, and Gonzaga
Finals: Duke over Kansas 83-76