#16 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds
Blackbirds are supposedly an extremely smart species and Joel Hernandez averages 20.9 PPG.
#16 Radford Highlanders
As Obi-Wan Kenobi told Anakin in Star Wars Episode III, “I have the high ground”, The Radford Highlanders should use that same idea to their advantage. Anakin was foolish enough to challenge Obi-Wan, now who is foolish enough to challenge Radford? Carlik Jones hit the buzzer beating 3 to win the Big South, clutch gene could be in play.
#11 St. Bonaventure Bonnies
Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley are very good basketball players averaging 19.8 and 18.5 PPG respectively. The Bonnies are named after themselves which means they ooze confidence.
#11 UCLA Bruins
UCLA has won 11 National Championships and we all know that history repeats itself. Aaron Holiday, averaging 20.3 PPG and 5.8 APG, won’t be taking any days off in March.
#16 NC Central Eagles
Located in Durham, NC, the Eagles may be looking to get their own basketball tradition going. LeVelle Moton is an underrated coach.
#16 Texas Southern Tigers
The back to back SWAC Champions had the opportunity to play UNC in the first round last tournament. UNC won the whole thing a year ago, so it might be time to see what lessons the Tigers took away from that game.
#11 Arizona St. Sun Devils
Arizona State tried to literally fight Colorado in their loss during the PAC-12 Tournament. It could be an encouraging sign if the Sun Devils decide to put up a fight on the court for once in 2018.
#11 Syracuse Orange
Orange juice is really good and Syracuse has their tallest team in the last 10 years. In the age of dual sport athletes, it is important to note that height is a key component for NFL Scouts when they evaluate talent. Nothing easy vs. a 2-3 zone.
#1 Virginia Cavaliers
Kyle Guy isn’t just any guy. He averages nearly 14.5 PPG and shoots almost 40% from deep. Virginia possesses an impenetrable defense that would take Ulysses S. Grant to break through. This is one of the most disciplined teams in the tournament.
#16 UMBC Retrievers
Candidate for best mascot of the tournament, the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers will be looking to retrieve a national title. Jairus Lyles will go get a bucket whenever he wants. His dagger on the road in Vermont to get to the tournament verifies the clutch gene. The excuse won’t be my dog ate my homework, it will be the Retrievers ate my bracket.
#8 Creighton Blue Jays
Coach Greg McDermott will have his team ready to call him Coach Greg McBuckets with dynamic scorers like Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas. Blue Jays have got to be one of the best birds for any bird watchers to see and they for sure should be watching these Blue Jays.
#9 Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State will have teams checking the map when they introduce themselves as coming from Manhattan. They’ll also have opposing bigs checking their defensive maps when they get lost trying to guard Dean Wade on the perimeter. Things start off with a revenge game vs former Wildcat, Marcus Foster. This team is tough.
#5 Kentucky Wildcats
For once people aren’t only condemning Kentucky as probably paying players which means the young Wildcats have less distractions. Kevin Knox will be looking to knock off the competition.
#12 Davidson Wildcats
Davidson is back and ready to harness the powers of Steph Curry. Peyton Aldridge leads a group that bombs threes at 39%.
#4 Arizona Wildcats
Arizona is basically a professional team and Deandre Ayton is definitely worth more than $100 K. This team won a pretty bad conference but is ready to see if the hard work they inve$ted over the summer pays off.
#13 Buffalo Bulls
The city is on a hot streak after sending the Bills to the Playoffs. Luckily the Bulls don’t have Nathan Peterman. Instead, they have CJ Massinburg who averaged 16.9 PPG and 7.4 RPG enroute to winning some #MACtion titles.
#6 Miami Hurricanes
Miami basketball hasn’t been the same since LeBron left. The Hurricanes believe it is God’s Plan that they make a run and certainly spread the scoring wealth with no player averaging over 12 PPG.
#11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers
Clayton Custer leads a Ramblers team that beat Florida on the road earlier this season. People often tune out when someone starts rambling but that’s exactly what this team wants you to do. Don’t sleep on the Missouri Valley Champs.
#3 Tennessee Volunteers
Rick Barnes went from one UT to the next. Best player name candidate, Admiral Schofield, partners with Grant Williams and Lamonte Turner to lead a team that makes up for having to watch their football program.
#14 Wright State Raiders
Is Wright State the Right State? A team with a mascot of the Raiders has a dog in its logo and the 27th best scoring defense in the country.
#7 Nevada Wolf Pack
The Martin Twins lead a team that scores 83 PPG and if you’ve ever seen the jungle book you know how strong a Wolf Pack is.
#10 Texas Longhorns
Shaka Smart is always dangerous in March, but the success of the Longhorns comes down to Dylan Osetkowski. The team is playing for Andrew Jones who was diagnosed with Cancer this year, making them a team to root for.
#2 Cincinnati Bearcats
I thought a Bearcat was a made up mascot until I went to the zoo last summer and saw one in real life. That has me believing in the Bearcats as they have gone from pretenders in the past to contenders in the present. They get down and guard. Maybe it should be CincinNATTY.
#15 Georgia State Panthers
D’Marcus Simonds has a future in the NBA and I want to see Ron Hunter on TV as much as possible.
#1 Xavier Musketeers
There are way more than 3 Musketeers on this team and Trevon Bluiett has no plans of blowing his last opportunity at Xavier. Xavier can beat you is a lot of different ways and winning the Big East regular season is not easy.
#8 Missouri Tigers
Is Michael Porter Jr.’s Back back? If it is, then the Tigers have a secret weapon who got the misses out in their last SEC tournament loss to Georgia.
#9 Florida State Seminoles
Florida State has a war chant.
#5 Ohio State Buckeyes
#12 South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Mike Daum, aka The Dauminator aka A Walking Bucket, is ready to have another top mascot candidate, the Jackrabbits, hopping to the Final Four.
#4 Gonzaga Bulldogs
A hungry dog runs fastest. The Bulldogs carry some international flair back to the tournament where they will look to avenge last season’s loss in Phoenix. Very underrated team.
#13 UNC Greensboro Spartans
The Spartans team that didn’t slap the floor won its conference tournament and also has the 6th best scoring defense. Funny how that works out.
#6 Houston Cougars
The Cougars haven’t played a true home game all season. They had home games at Texas Southern’s arena since their home venue is being renovated. This means they have more neutral site experience than any team in the field which could come in handy for an athletic group of kids.
#11 San Diego State Aztecs
This team gets good balance from its starting lineup. Being a west coast team means they have the element of surprise because nobody stayed up to watch them.
#3 Michigan Wolverines
The Back to Back Big Ten Tournament Champions come into the NCAA tournament on another hot streak.
#14 Montana Grizzlies
The Grizzlies won the Big Sky conference. Any time a team can conquer that much area they are worth a look. The sky is indeed very big.
#7 Texas A&M Aggies
#10 Providence Friars
Ed Cooley ripped his pants in the Big East Title Game. That is a coach that I’d play for.
#2 North Carolina Tar Heels
They won last year
#15 Lipscomb Bisons
The Bisons catch you off guard immediately by having you question if it is Bison of Bisons. Curiosity killed the cat, while you were thinking about that Lipscomb was lighting you up on offense. They space the floor.
#1 Villanova Wildcats
Jalen Brunson is a savvy point guard. One of the most well coached teams in America scores 87 PPG, most in the country. Still can’t forget the Kris Jenkins shot from 2 years ago.
#8 Virginia Tech Hokies
Buzz Williams sweats a lot.
#9 Alabama Crimson Tide
Collin Sexton finger roll vs A&M, look it up.
#5 West Virginia Mountaineers
How far can a press get you? Usually it can win a middle school girls championship. Time for Jevon Carter to let his experience show and lead Press Virginia on a tournament run.
#12 Murray State Racers
The Racers could be known as the erasers when they start erasing people’s perfect brackets. They play fast which is fitting for their mascot.
#4 Wichita State Shockers
In 2013, the Wichita State Shockers shocked the world by advancing to the Final Four. The following years featured easy conference titles in the Missouri Valley. The Shockers now reside in the American and were unable to come away with the conference crown. The last time Wichita State didn’t win the regular season conference crown? 2013
#13 Marshall Thundering Herd
Marshall plays Wichita State in their first game and Greg Marshall coaches the Shockers. Marshall is already one step ahead being the first school to have the last name of the opposing coach.
#6 Florida Gators
The Gators basically play positionless basketball and can space the floor as well as anyone. They are tough to beat when they hit shots and if Chris Chiozza starts hitting more floater 3s then it might be time to take them seriously.
#3 Texas Tech Red Raiders
You can get to Lubbock by going to the middle of nowhere and turning left. The school that parties hard actually has a team that plays even harder on defense. The Red Raiders always have high intensity.
#14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks are on the exact same line of the tournament bracket as 2016 which means they have been in this position before. The Final Four is in San Antonio and there is no doubt that Stephen F. Austin would love to Remember the Alamo by playing in the Alamodome.
#7 Arkansas Razorbacks
Look up Daniel Gafford highlights.
#10 Butler Bulldogs
The Butler Way
#2 Purdue Boilermakers
Carsen Edwards is unguardable.
#15 Cal State Fullerton Titans
One of the millions of schools in California, Cal State Fullerton is another team that has the advantage of flying under the radar thanks to Pacific Time. This team is a mystery that teams may not be able to solve.
#1 Kansas Jayhawks
In the reinforcement brought in mid-season acquisition Silvio De Sousa, Kansas, the home of the original rules of basketball, is attempting to add midseason free agency to the NCAA rules. Somehow allowed to add a player who solves their only weakness midseason, the Jayhawks have everything they need to win games. Devonte Graham is as good as they come at the guard position.
#16 Penn Quakers
The Ivy League Champs have a group of high IQ players who will do their homework and study the scouting report.
#8 Seton Hall Pirates
Angel Delgado is a walking double double. The challenge for pirates has always been if they can find where X marks the spot. If I was Kevin Willard I would consider Angel Delgado as the X on my treasure map and feed him the ball.
#9 NC State Wolfpack
Kevin Keatts is back in the tournament after coaching UNC Wilmington. A talented team with fun names to say such as Omer Yurtseven, Torin Dorn, Abdul-Malik Abu, and Allerick Freeman can be fun to watch if they get the ball moving.
#5 Clemson Tigers
Mark Donnal is a veteran with tournament experience thanks to his time at Michigan. A strong defensive team that finished 3rd in the ACC will look to make a run in its first NCAA tournament in a good while. It won’t be easy to catch these tigers by the tail.
#12 New Mexico State Aggies
Zach Lofton has racked up experience through stops at 3 schools but still doesn’t really pass the ball. He does score almost 20 PPG which makes the Aggies ready for a shootout.
#4 Auburn Tigers
The surprising Auburn Tigers won the SEC regular season. Can they learn from their football team to respect “small schools”? If they can then the Tigers have talented players in Mustapha Heron, Jared Harper, and Bryce Brown.
#13 Charleston Cougars
Grant Riller, Joe Chealey, and Jarrell Brantley all score more than 17 PPG on a Cougars team that has only lost one game since January 18th.
#6 TCU Horned Frogs
Jamie Dixon has turned the TCU program around and has the team moving the ball as well as anyone. They average 18.8 APG and pose tough matchups across a balanced starting 5.
#3 Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans defense is astronomically worse when they slap the floor in a display of fake toughness. If they can avoid doing that they could make a run with what is supposed to be one of Izzo’s best teams ever.
#14 Bucknell Bison
Zach Thomas leads a team that has won 18 of 19 games coming into March. The Bison are stampeding towards San Antonio. Mike Muscala also played for Bucknell.
#7 Rhode Island Rams
Imagine the marketing campaign of “Rhode to the Final Four”.
#10 Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma basketball followed up the football team blowing a 14 point halftime lead to Georgia by blowing the 2nd half of their own season. The Sooners lost 11 of their final 15 games but it could be a bold strategy of saving their energy for when the games really count. Judging by their reaction on selection Sunday they may not be dead just yet.
#2 Duke Blue Devils
Duke was picked by all the experts before the season so I guess that is worth something.
#15 Iona Gaels
One of the best New York schools you’ve never heard of won the sneaky MAAC conference. They can score with anyone on the floor.