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March Madness: Road To The Final Four

Jarret Bailey, Sports Writer

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The highlight tournament of the NCAA Basketball season and one of the most marquee events in all of sports is among us once again–March Madness. Sixty-eight teams come in, but only one will be left standing as champion. We’ll start in the Midwest where Kentucky came away with the Number 1 seed in their branch. The Wildcats are currently 34-0 and are looking to get back to the Final Four and claim another championship. Kentucky is the first team in over 20 years to be named the Number 1 team in the first pre-season polls and maintain it all throughout the season, but this time of year, anything can happen. The other three Number 1 seeds are Wisconsin in the West, Villanova in the East, and Duke in the South. We usually see some form of a Cinderella story team who comes out of nowhere and takes the nation by storm, such as Florida Atlantic a few years ago. This year there doesn’t seem to be many chances of one of those occurring, but keep an eye out for Harvard, who faces North Carolina in the first round and possibly New Mexico State, who faces Kansas. Eastern Washington is also on my radar of possible upsets as they face Georgetown.

I’ve looked over and revised my bracket several times, but in the end, my Final Four consists of Kentucky, Villanova, Iowa State, and Wisconsin. Kentucky is one of the easier choices due to the undefeated season and just because of the all around talent and great coaching led by John Calipari. Plus, with that two-headed monster of Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker leading the charge for the wildcats, I like their chances. Villanova is who I like coming out of the East. Darrun Hilliard has had a great year scoring, averaging 14 PPG, and with Daniel Ochefu working inside the paint, grabbing boards left and right and creating havoc in the low block, ‘Nova has a bright future. I think that Iowa State may be an underdog in the tourney, but they have a crew who has been making some noise this season. They have five players who averaged double figures this year, led by George Niang who has averaged 15 PPG to go along with 5 rebounds and close to 4 assists. Jameel McKay has been doing work as well, averaging 11 PPG and 7 rebounds. Iowa State could very well, in my opinion, win it all with the crew that they have established. And last, but not least, I have Wisconsin. they have one of the best players in the tournament in Frank Kaminsky, who’s averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds per game this season. They also have a pair of players who have shot better than 40% from behind the arc in Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig. Wisconsin plays in one of the tougher conferences in College Hoops, and they have prevailed to another great season, so watch out for the Badgers.

In the end, I have Kentucky and Villanova facing each other in the championship game, and I have Villanova prevailing victorious. Anything can happen, though; after all, it’s called March Madness for a reason.

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