March Madness Predictions
Image credit to USA Today

It’s that time of year! As obviously indicated by the title, March Madness is upon us. The absolute highlight of the month, the sporting highlight of the spring, and the peak of the college basketball world has arrived. We are about to begin the craziest month of basketball you will likely ever see. And, as per the Bucket Zone’s tradition, here are our March Madness predictions.

South

Winner: Arkansas (3).

Upset: Wisconsin (9) to beat North Carolina (8).

The South is led by Baylor, a team that went almost undefeated in the regular season. While Baylor is statistically the team with the highest chance to win, I do not believe they will make it to the Final Four. Quite frankly, I think they’ll win their first two games and loose to Purdue.

Regardless, the South has a number of good teams, all of which have a distinct possibility to make a deep bracket run. Texas Tech (6) and Purdue (4) are likely candidates to shock a few teams, so make sure to watch these teams as they open their games up today and tomorrow. (Note: At the time of publishing, Texas Tech beat Utah State (11), 65-53).

West

Winner: Gonzaga (1).

Upset: UCSB (12) over Creighton (5).

Nobody is going to beat Gonzaga. In fact, nobody is going to even come close to beating Gonzaga until the Final Four. This team is absolutely stacked. They have height, depth, shooting, defense, and excellent coaching. They were undefeated in the regular season and look to be 8th undefeated national champions in the March Madness era.

On the other end of the West, there are a few teams that have the ability to make a long run, including Virginia (4), Kansas (3), and Iowa (2). No lower-seeded teams have the apparent potential to do the same, and I don’t anticipate too many upsets from this division.

East

Winner: Alabama (2).

Upset: UNC Greensborough (13) over Florida (4), St. Bonaventure (9) over LSU (8).

The East is where the real Madness happens. While March Madness predictions can be finicky and often completely based on luck, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the East will produce the most upsets by far. The seeding seems to be rather weird and while Michigan is favored to win the division, it’s still any man’s game.

The most interesting games will probably not occur until the second round, but make sure to watch Alabama (2) against Iona (15). In fact, I’d make sure to watch all of Alabama’s games, since I believe they are the team that will proceed all the way to the Final Four, even beating the higher-seeded Michigan.

Midwest

Winner: Oklahoma St. (4).

Upset: Oregon St. (12) over Tennessee (4).

The Midwest is by far my favorite division, and that isn’t because it contains my favorite team (West Virginia University). Oklahoma State, Illinois, West Virginia University, and Houston have all shown signs of the ability to maintain a deep run into the tournament. In fact, those teams are my favorites to win the division, in order of likelihood to win.

While the clear favorite is, of course, the first-seeded Illinois, I truly believe Oklahoma State will come out and shock some high-ranked teams. Led by NBA prospect Cade Cunningham, this team has the ability to turn games around in a second. If they don’t make it to the Sweet Sixteen at least, I’ll be shocked.

Overall prediction: Gonzaga.

I’m sorry, but I’m going with my head instead of my gut here. The latter would have me predict Oklahoma State, but I just don’t see any team beating Gonzaga. They have proven their ability to win games over and over again this season, and I anticipate this tradition will continue all the way to the Finals.

Regardless, predictions are just that: predictions. They are in no way set in stone, and I’d honestly be surprised if even half of my predictions turned out to be accurate.

Enjoy the games, and let me know who you think will win in the comments below! After the tournament is over, I’ll come back and re-rank my March Madness predictions to see how well I did.

You can read more of Elisha’s posts here.

By Elisha Mcfarland

Writer, blogger, NBA and NFL fan.