March, the time of year where everyone becomes their own in-house, in-office, in-group chat expert on college basketball! As a sports-watching male, who can name lots of college mascots and knows more than six players, by name, that will be lottery picks in next year’s NBA Draft, I am clearly the in-Poker Central expert to provide you with NCAA Tournament picks before March Madness tips off on Thursday.
In all seriousness, if Charles Barkley is going to give his picks, takes and opinions over the next two weeks, anyone is qualified, right? Without further ado, Will OC’s March Madness Picks (Part II)…
If more Will OC chalk was what you were looking for this morning, you are in business. Despite being arguably the weakest of the #1 seeds, Gonzaga has a relatively clear path to the Elite Eight. Northwestern making the tournament for the first time is a nice story but they won’t even make it past Day 1. The rest of the top half of the region may be some of the smartest college players in the country but those teams won’t even get a chance to play the Bulldogs, as Gonzaga should take care of business against West Virginia to open the second weekend.
On the other end of the bracket, Pac-12 champion Arizona have a slightly tougher road to meet Gonzaga. Florida State has quality wins against a handful of NCAA Tournament teams, including Louisville, Duke, Florida and Virginia and Maryland is another ACC team that many wouldn’t be surprised to see make a run.The other team of interest on the bottom half of the region is Gonzaga’s arch rivals, Saint Mary’s.
The Gaels dropped all three of their games against Gonzaga this year but aside from that, only have one other loss on the season. I personally don’t see them doing much but if they can get through the opening round, they could give Arizona some trouble. Probably not though and that is why I am WILD ABOUT THEM CATS. Florida State, Gonzaga and the rest of the West aren’t stopping ‘Zona.
What is the opposite of chalk? Chaos, disarray, bedlam, havoc? Whatever you want to call it, this region has it. After Rhode Island was my first East Coast Bias pick of the tournament, my home state Seton Hall Pirates are the second. The Pirates have played their best down the stretch, winning eight of their final 11 games, while almost upsetting top ranked Villanova in the Big East Tournament.
While North Carolina may not fall to Seton Hall like I am (foolishly) predicting, they likely won’t win the region one way or another. The bottom half of the bracket is stacked with talent and the potential Sweet Sixteen matchup between UCLA and Kentucky could be the best game of this year’s tournament.
Lonzo Ball is the prototypical one-and-done that Kentucky made famous and the winner of that game should force their way into the Final Four. Since I’m, we get it already, WILD ABOUT THEM CATS, Kentucky is my pick to make the National Semi and they could very well be my eventual champion.
Those Final Four picks and some other NCAA Tournament hot takes tomorrow morning before the games tip-off.