March Madness: Predictions in the round of 64


Tyler George, Sports Report

Once a year, the basketball gods bless basketball fans worldwide with an event you can’t miss. Each March, 68 teams get a chance to compete in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. This year’s field is tighter than ever, with no real front-runner. Here is a deeper look into the possible cinderella teams, alpha dogs, and sleepers.

Toss-up games:

Miami(21-11) vs Michigan State(19-14)

My prediction: Michigan State wins a close one (61-57) in this battle of experienced coaches. Miami’s head coach Jim Larranaga and MSU’s Tom Izzo share a lot of tournament experience. MSU and Miami have had uncharacteristic up and down seasons in two tough conferences. MSU is a very young and talented team, but I think Izzo will have them ready to go come Thursday.

Dayton(24-7) vs Wichita State(30-4)

My prediction: Dayton will win this match up (67-66), even though they are a 6-point underdog. Wichita State is a veteran tournament team who made a historic run a few years ago. I think strength of schedule will come into play as Dayton has had tougher games throughout the season. Dayton has beat teams such as Vanderbilt, Alabama, VCU, and Rhode Island. Although Wichita State has played some good teams, they haven’t had any signature wins.

Creighton(25-9) vs Rhode Island(24-9)

My prediction: Rhode Island will win this one in a minor upset(71-66). This is a common 11-6 upset pick for this year, and for good reason. Rhode Island just topped VCU in their conference tournament, earning them an automatic bid. They beat Cincinnati early in the year and also had a close game with Duke. Creighton is always a hard-nosed team, but Rhode island is hot and will remain hot against the Blue Jays.


Butler: The Bulldogs are 23-8, and they have racked up a series of impressive wins against tournament teams. They’ve beat Northwestern, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Villanova twice, Xavier twice, and Marquette twice. The Bulldogs got a nice draw with having to play a weak five seed Minnesota, or a solid twelve seed in Middle Tennessee State. After that, they would run into UNC, in what could be a great game. Don’t sleep on the Bulldogs to make a little run.

Wisconsin: The Badgers are 25-9 on the year, and they finished third overall in the big ten. I think the committee messed up big time placing Wisconsin as an 8 seed, and they could go down as one of the most dangerous 8 seeds in tournament history. They are a veteran team with notable players such as Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes, and Ethan Happ. Watch out for the Badgers as they look to shake things up in the East side of the bracket.

Notre Dame: The Irish are 25-9 and have recent wins over Virginia and Louisville. They start out by playing Princeton, who got the automatic bid by winning their tournament. I think Notre Dame will make an elite 8 run defeating the weak 1 seed in Gonzaga. Although they’ve had their troubles this year, don’t sleep on them come tourney time.

Alpha dogs:

Kansas: The Jayhawks are 28-4 on the year and have a fairly easy road. They also have player of the year candidate, Frank Mason, in a tournament in which guards are important. Also, the Jayhawks have the solid freshmen Josh Jackson among other skilled wings. With a veteran coach like Bill Self, they will be ready to go and are destined for success.

Arizona: The Wildcats are 30-4 overall and have won 24 of their last 26 games. Although they are a fairly young team, they play like veterans. I think they are in the weakest region of the bracket and should be able to coast to the final 4 with ease.