Sports Staff Fills Out March Madness Bracket

Alan and Matt make their case.

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Duke guard Quinn Cook (2) passes off to teammate Duke center Jahlil Okafor (15) during the second half on Sunday, March 22, 2015, at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

Matthew Leto and Alan McGonigle

Every year in March, the NCAA committee selects 68 teams in the annual basketball tournament. Now that the field is set, millions are anticipating the first tip-off. The NCAA committee revealed the bracket on “Selection Sunday.” The four Number One seeds: Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia.

The NCAA tournament is so intriguing because any team can get on a hot streak, and win the tournament. Every year, millions fill out the tournament bracket, hoping to do the impossible and pick a perfect bracket. Top seeds in the tournaments usually win, however there is always a bracket buster. The odds of picking a perfect bracket is a one in 76 million, according to past tournament data. Each year, billionaire Warren Buffet offers one BILLION dollars to anyone who fills out a perfect bracket for that year.

This past season featured many teams having numerous chances to sustain a number 1 ranking. However, the number 1 seed was not controlled until late in the season, when the Kansas Jayhawks went on a role and won their previous fourteen games, including the Big 12 tournament. The tournament is broken into four regions: East, Mid-West, North and the South.

Favorites

(1) Kansas Jayhawks –  The number one seed in the South region and have won their previous 14 games finishing with a 30-4 record. The Jayhawks posted a 21-3 record against the top 100 teams this season. The Jayhawks are led by Senior Perry Ellis and Sophomore Devonte’ Graham who has been scorching hot of late.

(1) North Carolina Tar Heels – They enter as a number one seed in the East region. The Tar Heels finished the regular season with a crucial victory over Virginia for the ACC Championship. The Tar Heels may be the most balanced team in the nation; they are lead by Seniors Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson.

(2) Michigan State Spartans – They enter the Midwest region as a number two seed. The Spartans completely dominated the Big 10 tournament, during championship week. The Midwest region offers a potential rematch between Michigan State an Virginia in the Elite 8. The Spartans are led by Senior Denzel Valentine, who is considered the best all around player in the filed of 68.

(3) Miami Hurricanes – They enter the South region as a number 3 seed. The Hurricanes were the surprise of the ACC this year, with victories over Duke, Virginia and Notre Dame. The Hurricanes back court is led by Seniors Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan. When these two players are on a roll. The Hurricanes are a hard team to beat; look for a deep run in the tournament.

(4) Kentucky Wildcats – They enter the East region as a number four seed. The Wildcats closed the regular season with an SEC tournament championship. The Wildcats are looking to avenge their final four loss last season. The Wildcats arguably have the best back court in the nation with Sophomore Tyler Ulis and Freshman Jamal Murray.

(4) Duke Blue Devils – They enter the West region as a number four seed. The Blue Devils are the defending champions, and are led by standouts Sophomore Grayson Allen and the Freshman Brandon Ingram. The Blue Devils can score points by the bunches, especially if the three ball is falling.

Sleepers

(6) Norte Dame Fighting Irish – They enter the East region as a number six seed. The Fighting Irish were the most efficient team in the ACC, which is very impressive with the likes of North Carolina, Virginia, and Duke. When the Fighting Irish are able to get out into transition, they spread the floor and make it near impossible to guard them.

(9) Connecticut Huskies – They enter the South region as a number nine seed. The Huskies always seem to be contenders the month of March as they won an OT thriller that resulted in a conference tournament championship. Watch out for a potential upset against Kansas in the round of 32.

(9) Providence Friars – They enter the East region as a number nine seed. The Friars play an aggressive style of defense as well as getting to the free throw line. The Friars are led by standout Junior Kris Dunn. Look for a potential upset against North Carolina in the round of 32.

(9) Butler Bulldogs – They enter the Midwest region as a number nine seed. The Bulldogs enter with the mentality that a win over Texas Tech, they have a chance to defeat the number one seed Virginia. The Bulldog’s coach says “Virginia is the number one seed that we wanted to face.” Look for a shocking upset in the round of 32 over Virginia.

(12) Yale Bulldogs – The Bulldogs face off against Baylor in the round of 64 and Yale is scorching-hot coming into the tournament. Yale is 11-1 in their past twelve games, and Senior Justin Sears will lead the way for the Bulldogs and Yale will be going for the jugular this round against Baylor.

Final Four Prediction

(1) UNC – UNC comes in at a number one seed, which automatically gives them an advantage. They will have to play a strong Spartans team, however strong performances by Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson is likely. Expect the Tar Heels to cut down the nets on April 4th.

(2) Michigan State -The Spartans come in at a number two seed. The Spartans will advance to the Final Four, after a victory in the Midwest final over Virginia. Expect a big night from Denzel Valentine, but they will fall short to the Tar Heels

(3) Texas A&M – The Aggies will play an up and down Hurricanes team in the Final Four, and Daniel House Jr. will have a big night. However, the Hurricanes will prevail and the Cinderella season will end.

(3) Miami – The Hurricanes will blow by the Aggies in the Final Four and advance to play the Tar Heels in the championship. The game will be for the ages, however the Hurricanes will come up short to their ACC rival.

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