by Owen Steffan ’18
As the best three weeks of the year roll around, it’s time to make brackets for March Madness. This season of college basketball is particularly interesting because unlike in years past, there are no clear-cut favorites to run away with the title.
The Round of 64 should include several upsets, particularly in the 5 seed-12 seed matchups, where I have Davidson (12) over Kentucky (5) in the South Region, New Mexico State (12) over Clemson (5) in the Midwest Region, and South Dakota State (12) over Ohio State (5) in the West Region. I also have SF Austin (14) over Texas Tech (3) in the East Region, as SF Austin upset West Virginia as a 14 seed just a couple of years ago. Davidson is on a roll as of late, beating URI (7) twice and winning the Atlantic 10 title, while Kentucky is young, inexperienced, and won’t live up to the expectations that they are so used to every year at the tournament. New Mexico State vs Clemson was an easy choice for me, as the Tigers have struggled ever since star senior forward Donte Grantham tore his ACL in January. Lastly, I picked South Dakota State over Ohio State, as 6-foot-9, 250-pound Mike Daum (23.8 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 42.1 3FG%) will be tough for the Buckeyes to slow down. South Dakota State is also a huge threat to upset Gonzaga in the Round of 32, as the Bulldogs are no strangers to failing to meet expectations in the tournament. I also have Butler (10) beating Purdue (2) as the experienced Bulldogs should push the Boilermakers to their limit. Also watch out for the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (11) to upset both Miami (6) and Tennessee (3) in the South Region on their way to the Sweet 16.
My Final Four consists of Virginia (1) from the South matching up with Michigan (3) from the West and Villanova (1) from the East playing Kansas (1) from the Midwest. I have Virginia and Villanova advancing to the championship. Jay Wright’s Wildcats, led by one of the best players in the tournament Jalen Brunson, have one of the most efficient offenses in the country and are my pick to win it all this year.