2018 NCAA Tournament: Field of 64 predictions
It’s that time of year again. The 2018 NCAA basketball tournament brackets are out. Millions of people wager billions of dollars on this annually. From the secretary at the office that chips in $5 for the pool and just picks the favorite mascots to the hardcore fans that play in Calcutta’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, there is something for everyone.
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Most of the hardcore aren’t out here scouring the internet in search of the little golden nugget of truth that no one else has overturned. They had their minds made up on Sunday night who their targets were.
However, for most of us average people, we mull over the brackets for a few hours trying to figure out what kind of upsets will happen and where.
Fair warning: I haven’t won a bracket pool in quite some time, but I am consistently in the top five or so. It just depends on the size and payout of your pool whether these will actually work or not. All we know is that one region will be completely destroyed, at least one 12 seed will win, a team from the play-ins will advance past the first round, and a one seed will lose in the first weekend. That’s just the beginning!
Let’s take a look at my picks for the entire tournament!
First round: Villanova, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Marshall, Florida, Texas Tech, Butler, Purdue
Second round: Villanova, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Purdue
Regional semis: Villanova, Texas Tech
Regional champion: Villanova
Yeah, I know. Villanova is the chalky pick, but this is a really good team. This may be better than the 2017 team and right up there with the title team from a few years ago. If you want to be contrarian, picking Virginia Tech to knock off Nova on Saturday isn’t that far fetched of a pick. If you go that route, pick one of the Big 12 teams for the Final Four.
I don’t really see Purdue as that strong of a team. Despite the great record, they only played nine games against tournament bound teams, and one was against Lipscomb.
As you see, I picked Marshall for my upset special in this region. I would only make this pick in brackets that give you bonus points for upsets. I don’t mind making it in mine since it does that. However, if only one point is given per correct pick, I would still go with Wichita State. I’m not that confident in it.
First round: Xavier, Florida State, South Dakota State, Gonzaga, Houston, Michigan, Texas A&M, North Carolina
Second round: Xavier, Gonzaga, Houston, North Carolina
Regional semis: Xavier, North Carolina
Regional champion: North Carolina
This is my region of upsets. I would pick Xavier to lose earlier, but there just isn’t a team strong enough to push them out earlier. Maybe Gonzaga, but Bluiett is better than anyone the Bulldogs have. Another reason not to pick it: South Dakota State could pull another upset over Gonzaga. The Jackrabbits match up pretty well with them.
I’m still on the fence about the Houston pick. Michigan is on fire right now. I love Houston, but man, this is a tough matchup. I think I like Michigan more, but I am looking for some separation, and I have the winning losing to the Tarheels anyway. This is the region that has the best chance of imploding. Some think it’s the midwest, but things wont really get crazy there until they get to Omaha.
First round: Virginia, Creighton, Davidson, Arizona, Loyola-Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, Cincinnati
Second round: Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, Cincinnati
Regional semis: Virginia, Cincinnati
Regional champion: Virginia
Just because this is a chalky bracket doesn’t mean it wont be entertaining on the way through. Davidson has a good shot at knocking off both sets of Wildcats. If they don’t, either of the other Wildcats will be the toughest test for Virginia. Arizona has the talent to take this entire region.
Loyola-Illinois is one of the easiest upset picks of the first round. The loss of Brown for Miami really hurts that team. They were one of my favorite upset picks. Now they lose Brown and get a very tough draw. As for other upsets in this bracket, Wright State is a dangerous 14 seed. Buffalo is one of the better 13 seeds as well, but Arizona is really tough for them.
Nevada against Texas is going to be a fantastic defensive battle. I give the edge to Texas because of Mo Bamba, but don’t be shocked if Nevada wins and gives Cincinnati all they want.
First round: Kansas, North Carolina State, Clemson, Auburn, Syracuse, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Duke
Second round: Kansas, Auburn, Michigan State, Oklahoma
Regional semis: Kansas, Michigan State
Regional champion: Michigan State
This region is going to be a good one. Kansas has the easiest path to Omaha, but no one else is certain. New Mexico State and College of Charleston are dangerous double digit seeds. Honestly, so is Bucknell, but they got a horrible draw in Michigan State, who is perhaps the most underseeded team in the tournament.
If you are feeling frisky, and your bracket rewards upset picks, I wouldn’t be opposed to taking either College of Charleston or New Mexico State, or both, in the first round.
The Syracuse-Arizona State game was pretty ugly. The Syracuse-TCU game will be as well. If Arizona State could have hit an outside shot, they would be the one to upset TCU instead.
Most of you know that I am an Oklahoma fan. Every fiber tells me to take Duke, but Oklahoma has the size inside to pull this upset. Of course, the stars would have to align for something like this to happen. Oklahoma has the talent to beat anyone in the region besides Kansas. They could also lose to Rhode Island by 30. Duke is the safe pick, and the pick for non-Oklahoma fans.
Since we have to have all of our picks in by today, this is what our Final Four looks like. So far we have Villanova, Michigan State, Virginia, and North Carolina. I have Michigan State and Virginia in the championship with Virginia winning. The Hoos finally have some offense to go with that great defense!