Image from tampabay.com
The college basketball nation’s top-ranked team will head into the NCAA tournament as a heavy favorite to advance to the Final Four in Texas. The Florida Gators have on paper the easiest region to go up against on the road to the championship game. Yet, as fans of the game, we all know in the NCAA tournament the unexpected is normal. To uphold fans expectations, the Gators have to do what they do best, defend. The Gators are third in fewest points allowed (57.9). Defense is a key to winning a championship but as well as a perfected offense. The top-ranked Gators have a weakness that could haunt them in close games. Center Patric Young isn’t a lock down shooter, more of a pick and roll player. Young’s major problem is his free throw percentage, shooting only 60 percent from the line. Although, with the lock down defense they have shown, the Gators are more than capable to advance in the tournament.
Image from theplazz.com
The last time the Virginia Cavaliers won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament was 38 years ago (per NBCsports.com). The ACC coach of the year, Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers took on a challenge and beat Duke to take home the ACC championship. As the fellow top-ranked Gators, the Cavaliers lock teams down on the defensive side of the ball. What is unique about the Cavaliers is their ability to control the pace of the game. The Cavs have an average of 61 possessions per game which is the slowest (per CBSsports.com). If they can manage to make this happen throughout the tournament, I hope you have the Cavs advancing on your brackets. One guy to look out for on this team is Malcolm Brodron.
Image from www.usatoday.com
The high flying athletic team lead by the junior guard Nick Johnson and freshmen phenomena Aaron Gordon, the Wildcats come into the tournament looking very solid on paper. With four players averaging double figures in points per game and four players with more than 20 blocks this season, the wildcats are the team to watch. After going on a 21-0 run in the regular season, the Wildcats just came up short in winning the PAC-12 championship to UCLA. The Burins out rebounded the Wildcats 38-35 (per SI.com) in the conference championship which put them in a position to bet the once No. 1 rank Wildcats. In sum, if teams want to find a way to beat the Wildcats, they have to clean up and beat them on the boards.
Wichita State (Midwest)
Image from nydailynews.com
The 34-0 guys, the perfect season, the Shockers are the team right now to beat. I could do a complete run down of the Shockers season but fans just are not sold on this team. Why doubt them? Ask the Missouri Valley Conference. The Shockers conference is not the most challenging to say the least. The selection committee isn’t in favor placing the team in the hards region to play. Kentucky, defending champions Louisville, Duke, and Michigan, this will be the ultimate test for head coach Gregg Marshall and Wichita State to make history.