March 21, 2019
Players to Watch: ZIon Williamson, Duke Forward / Cassius Winston, Michigan State Guard
If you have heard of college basketball, you’ve heard of Zion Williamson. This kid has been all over social media for his dunks and dominating performances. He will most definitely go off in the rounds of 64 and 32 as they look like easy wins for Duke. We may see another fast break 360 windmill dunk that will for sure get you out of your seat. He is the leader of the team and without him on the court, Duke doesn’t look like a Final Four team at all.
Cassius Winston is a well known player around the NCAA, but doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Cassius leads the MSU team in points (18.9) and assists (7.6), but also leads with his mentality and how he handles adversity. Cassius is known for being able to play great in clutch games and I expect him to do the same in this year’s tournament.
Upsets : Yale over LSU / Belmont over Maryland
Over the years, I’ve learned you’ve got to look at the teams who are on fire and who has been in a recent decline. That has been the case for Maryland, losing the last 3 of 4 games to close out the season. Belmont is a team that has caught fire as of late and comes into the tournament looking to prove that little conference teams matter, too. They just won their first ever NCAA Tournament game on Tuesday and look to ride that wave when they take on Maryland. LSU is a team that has had off the court issues this year and will be a distraction heading into the tourney. Even though they have great players in Naz Reid and Tremont Waters, this will be a factor in them losing to Yale.
Cinderella Story: Belmont to Sweet 16
Belmont is a team that has been overlooked all year. They have been healthy and kept the rotation constant all year as well. Belmont had to win a play in game to even get a chance at being able to play against Maryland, but every year since the play in games began in 2011, a team that’s won a play in game that year has went on to win another game in the tournament. If Belmont gets past a Maryland team who hasn’t looked good recently, they can definitely get past Yale, who will be upset by a disorganized LSU team.
Best Shot at Winning the East: Duke (but if they somehow don’t) Michigan State
This section of the bracket in my opinion is the easiest to fill out. The obvious choice is to take Duke, right? Don’t look over the potential round of 16 matchup between Duke and Virginia Tech. If Duke were to lose to a surprise team, this would be the one. Virginia Tech has already beaten them once this year, but that was without Zion Williamson. The Elite 8 game will also be a tough test if both Michigan State and Duke make it there. If MSU does make it to the Elite 8, don’t be shocked if Tom Izzo’s Spartans defeat the Blue Devils and move onto the Final Four. They have tons of shooters and an experienced coach on their side to game plan against the best team in the tournament, and if Zion gets hurt or MSU misses very few shots, the Spartans could ruin many people’s brackets – but not Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s bracket, because she has State winning the whole thing.