Teams to watch out for in this year’s edition of March Madness
By: Nick LeBlanc and Alex Strang
Madness is in the air. The sights and sounds of seasons being crushed, top seeds being overly confident in their ability to “win it all”, and lower seed hopefuls quickly ruining said hope is going to become all too familiar.
Before jumping into this year’s bracket, it’s important to first remember those whom have fallen in last years season of March Madness and learn from their mistakes. In memoriam of No. 2 Michigan State, who lost in the first round to No. 15 Middle Tennessee; No. 4 California, who lost first round to No. 13 Hawaii; and No. 3 West Virginia, who lost to No. 14 Stephen F. Austin. Bracketeers everywhere will never underestimate the power of an upset because of your mistakes. Thank you.
“There will be more upsets this year than there has ever been before,” senior Brandon Wright said. “This year, there are no teams that are significantly better than others like there has been in the past with Duke or Kentucky.”
Jumping into this year’s bracket, here are some of the overly confident high seeds and hopeful low seeds to look out for.
Within the South region of the bracket, arguably the three top teams in the nation, No. 1 North Carolina; No. 2 Kentucky; and No. 3 UCLA, all have to fight for national championship glory within one region. Having the most top heavy region shows as the top four seeds in the region all advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. The only interesting upset came from No. 12 Middle Tennessee in the first round. Other than that, expect either North Carolina, Kentucky, or UCLA to be representing the South region on April 1st in the Final Four.
In terms of the south region, Sophomore Logan Eggleston thinks UCLA will come out on top: “UCLA is going all the way.”
On to the Midwest, the team to look out for is Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen. They are red hot coming out of their conference championship victory and have something to prove as underdogs. In terms of the Midwest No. 1 seed, Kansas, expect them to continue their trend of choking under the pressure of March Madness: they lose to Purdue in the Sweet 16.
“Michigan is hot right now, but not talented enough overall to win the whole thing,” junior Janie Harshe, a Michigan fan, said.
In the West lies more uncertainty. Teams like No. 12 Princeton and No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast had the potential to pull off their respective upsets against No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 3 Florida State, but fell short. Now, after the round of 64, the only upset to take place in the West was No. 11 Xavier over No. 6 Maryland. No. 1 Gonzaga, after coming off a 32-1 season, has the potential to not make the Final Four even after their tremendous season as the stout, No.4 West Virgina and No. 2 Arizona stands in their way.
After the defending champ, Villanova, was knocked out of the tournament by No. 8 Wisconsin, and No. 2 Duke was knocked out by No. 7 South Carolina, the East bracket is left wide open for the remaining teams participating in the Sweet Sixteen. Expect No. 4 Florida to seize the opportunity and make it to the Final Four.
Before the tournament began, the Squall staff predicted Duke to be the winner of the biggest tournament of the year. In a revised pick, the Squall is now taking Kansas to cut down the nets. Personally, we believe UCLA will take home the trophy, but we also picked Michigan State to win it all last year, so take the advice with a grain of salt, because in reality, you have a better chance of winning the Powerball or getting struck by lightning than picking a perfect bracket, even from here on out.