College Basketball Recap and March Preview

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As the calendar turns to March, the heat for college basketball turns up as springtime becomes closer. After football season, there is seemingly a little lull in the sports calendar, but once it is flipped to March, the intensity is ratcheted up again for March Madness. I have not written about College Basketball before this article, so I am going to recap what has happened so far in the season and also preview what the month of March could hold. The Duke Blue Devils seemed like a runaway freight-train early in the season and were on a path towards the number one overall seed in the tournament. After the Zion Williamson injury against the North Carolina Tar Heels a week ago, the entire college basketball landscape changed and there is seemingly no front-runner to win it all. Word on the street is that Williamson will return at some point during this season and that should elevate Duke back as the favorite to cut down the nets in early April but there is still plenty of uncertainty. The questions of how hard Zion will be able to play or will there be any restrictions on his game will make for interesting March discussion. In this article I will look at the major conferences and state who I think is “locked in” to the tournament field, who has “work to do” and who is right “on the bubble.” I will also make my predictions on how the top 4 seeds will land on Selection Sunday in each region. Finally, I will look at the mid-major market and see who should be making the “Big Dance” and who can make a run over the final month to secure a spot into the field of 68.

 

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American Athletic Conference:

Locks:

  • Houston
  • Cincinnati
  • UCF

Work to do:

  • Temple
  • Memphis
  • South Florida

ACC:

Locks:

  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Duke
  • Virginia Tech
  • Florida State
  • Syracuse
  • Louisville

Work to do:

  • North Carolina State
  • Clemson

Big 12:

Locks:

  • Kansas State
  • Texas Tech
  • Kansas
  • Baylor
  • Iowa State

Work to do:

  • Texas
  • TCU
  • Oklahoma

Big East:

Locks:

  • Marquette
  • Villanova
  • St. John’s

Work to do:

  • Seton Hall
  • Xavier
  • Georgetown
  • Butler
  • Creighton

Big Ten:

Locks:

  • Michigan State
  • Purdue
  • Michigan
  • Maryland
  • Wisconsin
  • Iowa

Work to do:

  • Ohio State
  • Minnesota

Pac-12:

Locks:

  • Washington

Work to do:

  • Arizona State
  • Oregon State

SEC:

Locks:

  • Kentucky
  • LSU
  • Tennessee
  • Ole Miss
  • Mississippi State

Work to do:

  • South Carolina
  • Florida
  • Alabama
  • Auburn

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Projected 1 Seeds:

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Kentucky
  3. Virginia
  4. Duke

Projected 2 Seeds:

  1. North Carolina
  2. Tennessee
  3. Michigan State
  4. Marquette

Projected 3 Seeds:

  1. Michigan
  2. Houston
  3. Kansas
  4. LSU

Projected 4 Seeds:

  1. Nevada
  2. Texas Tech
  3. Virginia Tech
  4. Purdue

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Mid-Majors with Upside:

  • Buffalo Bulls – Projected 6 seed
  • Belmont Bruins – Projected 12 seed
  • Wofford Terriers – Projected 10 seed
  • Old Dominion Monarchs – Projected 13 seed
  • Virginia Commonwealth Rams – Projected 9 seed
  • South Dakota State Jackrabbits – Projected 13 seed
  • New Mexico State Aggies – Projected 12 Seed
  • Dayton Flyers – First Four Out
  • Lipscomb Bisons – Projected 13 Seed

Things obviously can change over the next month as we get into conference championship season but the excitement is certainly starting to build for the NCAA tournament. I will do an official NCAA tournament preview once the bracket is released in mid-March but as it stands today at the very end of February, my predicted Final Four teams are:

  • Gonzaga
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Marquette

As stated above, these picks will obviously change once the brackets are released and the individual match-ups are analyzed (and if Zion Williamson returns) but I will stick with these four today. I hope this added a little extra anticipation to the upcoming NCAA tournament and I am excited to see how it all plays out over the next month.

Onwards,

Jordan

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