It’s here. It’s finally here. A half-month of lost productivity, illegal betting, and Cinderella stories starts now. Check out BlogDailyHerald’s predictions below.
The shoo-ins: Not many potential first-round upsets here. Both Middle Tennessee and St. Mary’s are pretty dangerous for First Four teams, so they might give Memphis a run for their money, but I’m going all top seeds in the first round. Don’t listen to any talk about Valparaiso as a potential Cinderella, Tom Izzo has the Spartans way too well-prepared—he always does—for them to lose so early.
The upsets: Creighton over Duke, second round. I’m sorry, I can’t help but root against Coach K and whoever happens to be playing for him. This is how much I don’t like Duke. Makes my day every time. For real, though, Doug McDermott has been averaging 23.1 points per game (2nd in Division I) with a near 50% 3-point shooting percentage. He’s my pick for mid-major breakout player of the tournament (see below). Also, as I mentioned before, Memphis might have trouble with its play-in opponent, but this is sadly a kind of boring bracket, especially compared with the South. Though Oregon is the Pac-12 champ, I don’t think this is the 5-12 upset to pick.
Player to watch: Wooden Award finalist Doug McDermott of Creighton. Just like Jimmer and Gordon Hayward before him, this guy is due to become a household name. Don’t expect him to carry the Bluejays to the national championship, but they might have an upset or two in them.
Regional champ: There are three perennial superpowers in this region, but Louisville isn’t #1 overall for nothing. The team is coming off a huge Big East Tournament victory over Syracuse, and there aren’t many teams who can stop them. Look for them to bounce Michigan State in the Elite 8 and maybe even take the whole thing.