It is March already, and that means March Madness is almost here. Currently, the first round is scheduled to start on March 19, and the Clarion team is interested in making some picks just like the Super Bowl picks for the next issue.
This 2020-2021 season has been odd, even in college basketball.
There are two powerhouse teams that are always favorites to reach the Final Four that are struggling to even get into the top 68.
Can you guess which teams?
I bet most people would never think that Duke and Michigan State would be in this conversation. However, they are projected to miss the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN sports analyst, Joe Lunardi’s bracketology.
He has been giving updates on which teams are in top 68 every week or so and doing this prediction for years, so his resource is reliable. There is still some time for both Duke and Michigan State to improve their resume in their remaining games, but we as basketball fans are curious to see what will happen to these teams.
Teams that will be in top 5: Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Illinois, and Alabama.
Gonzaga is 22-0 and the team has a great chance to be undefeated before the tournament starts. Baylor is following closely after Gonzaga with 17-1 record, and they have a tough game ahead this week against West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, but I believe that they can handle this.
In the meantime, two Big Ten teams are represented in Top 5 with Michigan and Illinois looking really good before the tournament starts. Lastly, Alabama has an Iron Bowl, wait, I meant just a regular game against Auburn, which I believe that they will take care of the business just like football.
Teams that will be in top 10: Ohio State, Villanova, Iowa, West Virginia, and Houston.
Ohio State has been falling apart lately by losing three games in a row against Michigan, Michigan State, and Iowa. However, the next game isn’t easy – Illinois. It is hard to tell whether they can be in Top 10, but with their impressive resume, there is a good chance that they can stay there.
On the other hand, Iowa bounced back nicely after a loss by beating Ohio State on the road game by 16 points. Ironically, they lost against Michigan by scoring 57 points but won against Ohio State by letting them score only 57 points. Can they do that against Nebraska and Wisconsin? Hopefully not against Wisconsin…
Teams that will be in top 15: Oklahoma, Creighton, Texas, Kansas, and Texas Tech
Kansas gave a first loss to Baylor to show that they can still beat anybody. Kansas started the season at No. 6 and was at No. 3 at one point, but then a few losses kept lowering their ranking. But it seems like they will be fine as long as they are not playing Texas, which beat them twice. Will they beat Texas the third time they meet?
Oklahoma, on the other hand, is going to the opposite direction. They have lost games against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Kansas State has a 7-19 record and the game against Oklahoma State was at home. This week will not get easy as they are playing against away game at Oklahoma State and hosting Texas. They need to get their momentum back before the tournament starts.
Teams that will be in top 25: Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, , Arkansas, Loyola Chicago, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Missouri, Oregon, Purdue, and Oklahoma State
Both Loyola Chicago and San Diego State are enjoying winning streaks. San Diego State’s 10-game winning streak seems like the longest winning streak currently besides Gonzaga’s. This is the team that can always bring troubles in the tournament, so definitely watch out!
Purdue is also on three-game winning streak and is always considered a strong team in the tournament. It is always great to see many Big 10 teams representing, and I am rooting for them as long as they are not playing Wisconsin. Go Big Ten!