Players to Watch: Coby White, North Carolina Guard / Fletcher Magee, Wofford Guard
North Carolina guard Coby White is looking to make a statement in the tournament. He is underrated just like Cassius Winston, but has had more opportunities on TV to showcase his talents and hasn’t done as well as Cassius yet. I’m not saying Cassius is a better player than White, but White should have something to prove for himself and for his team.
Fletcher Magee (what a name!) has lead his Wofford team in scoring at just under 21 points a game (20.5). His main specialty is shooting the 3 ball from all over the court. Expect Fletcher to be pulling up a lot during his time in the tournament. Whether it’s just for 1 game or more, he will for sure looking to prove he deserves to play with the big guys.
Upsets: New Mexico State over Auburn / Northeastern over Kansas
Auburn is coming into the tournament hot after winning the SEC tournament. This gave them an automatic bid into this year’s field, but one thing that they don’t have that New Mexico State does is a strong winning record. This year, New Mexico State has won 30 games and will be looking to add one more to the win column against Auburn.
Northeastern over Kansas might be a stretch here for an upset. Starting 4 guards is a bold move for Northeastern, but this strategy can be an advantage when playing a small Kansas team. Kansas has been struggling this year compared to how they normally play. A 9 loss Kansas team is still a good team, but with Northeastern being able to prepare for Kansas for 4 days, they will prevail in a tight game and pull the upset.
Cinderella Story: New Mexico State to Sweet 16
New Mexico State will pull off the upset against Auburn and leave them with an easier game due to Kansas getting upset by Northeastern. The Aggies from New Mexico will have the best shot from this region to pull off the Cinderella story this year. Advancing to the Sweet 16 should be the goal for this team. If they make it there, more than likely they would have to play 1 seed North Carolina. North Carolina would overpower the Aggies and hence eliminate them from the tournament, ending there run.
Best Shot at Winning the West: North Carolina or Winner of Potential Houston and Kentucky Game
North Carolina is the clear favorite to win this region with all of the star power on the team. Coby White, Luke Maye, and Cam Johnson have great chemistry between them and can elevate each other’s play. They are a dangerous team this year and looking to prove to people that they can win the title. The brackets I’ve seen from friends and family mostly have North Carolina going to the National Championship but losing to Duke.
The winner of the potential Houston Kentucky game will give North Carolina a run for there money. This potential Elite 8 matchup will be a great game to watch no matter which team is playing North Carolina. Both Kentucky and Houston can match up well with the Tar Heels and potentially ruin a few brackets. Houston with a 3 seed and Kentucky with a 2 seed won’t get past North Carolina, but will give fans a great game to watch.