March is upon us. The lead-up to the Big Dance will commence this week in the form of Conference Tournaments. Let’s look at the brackets for this week and who should be favorited to take home the tournament championships along with some dark horses to keep an eye on.
The Wichita State Shockers took home the regular-season trophy finishing 11-2 in conference play.
My Prediction: Houston (2 seed)
Houston actually had 3 more conference wins than the Shockers and only one more loss. This is what happens in a COVID season though. Regardless, the metrics back Houston to be the much better team and they will be playing for seeding coming down the home stretch before March Madness. This is a physical Houston team that has been dominant of late. Look for them to meet Wichita State in the finals and win in dominating fashion.
Team to watch: Memphis Tigers
The Virginia Cavaliers took home the regular-season trophy finishing 13-4 in conference play.
My Prediction: Florida State (2 seed)
This is a tournament that could go a lot of different ways. It is quite possible that the six seeded Tar Heels could come out on top. That being said, I would put my money on Florida State. The Seminoles are coming off a tough road loss to Notre Dame and their play in the conference tournament will influence their seeding for March Madness. I have faith in Leonard Hamilton and the high powered offense that ranks 10th in the country in Adjo.
Team to watch: North Carolina Tar Heels
The Baylor Bears took home the regular-season trophy finishing 13-1 in conference play.
My Prediction: Baylor (1 seed)
Baylor will have a very tough conference tournament schedule, but nothing that the Bears can’t handle. Apart from a loss at Kansas, they have looked dominant the entire season. If they can hold off a hot Oklahoma State team I would expect them to get their revenge against Kansas in the championship round of the tournament. The Bears have the 3rd best offense in the country and a respectable defense to back it up.
Team to watch: Oklahoma State
The Villanova Wildcats took home the regular-season trophy finishing 11-4 in conference play.
My Prediction: UConn (3 seed)
James Bouknight. That is really all you need to know. The Sophomore guard is one of the best players in the country. After returning from injury in mid February, the Huskies are 5-1 winning in dominating fashion for the most part. With the injury to Villanova’s star point guard it would seem that UConn has a great chance to compete for the conference tournament championship. They will be a fun team to watch under the leadership of Dan Hurley down the stretch of March.
Team to watch: St. John’s
The Michigan Wolverines took home the regular-season trophy finishing 14-3 in conference play.
My prediction: Illinois (2 seed)
This conference tournament will represent around 15% of the March Madness bracket. You can say what you want about the Big Ten but it is unarguably the best conference in the country. The Illini are hot and the Wolverines are not coming down the home stretch. Look for Illinois to continue their climb to the top as they fight for a #1 seed in March Madness. It will be worth watching the Michigan State Spartans as they come off a win against Michigan, they still seem unlikely to win the tournament but I would never count Izzo out.
Team to watch: Michigan State
The Alabama Crimson Tide took home the regular-season trophy finishing 16-2 in conference play.
My Prediction: Arkansas (2 seed)
This will be a great conference tournament. It will likely be a rematch between Arkansas and Alabama to decide the outcome. That being said, I wouldn’t count out Ole Miss, Kentucky, or LSU. I struggled to make this decision but I decided to go with the Hogs who are one of the hottest teams in the country. Either way, the finals of the SEC tournament will be high-powered and could drastically impact seeding for March Madness. If it is Arkansas/Alabama, the winner would likely secure the #2 seed in March Madness while the loser would fall to the #3 seed.
Team to watch: Ole Miss
The Oregon Ducks took home the regular-season trophy finishing 14-4 in conference play.
My Prediction: USC (2 seed)
I love the Trojans this year. Led by the 7-foot freshman phenom, Evan Mobley, they have put together a good regular season. They are the best team from a metrics standpoint in their conference and have more experience than an Oregon team that has been plagued with cancellations. I really see Oregon and USC as the only real threats to win this tournament and we will likely see them meet in the finals. I expect the staunch USC defense to slow down the Ducks in a relatively close battle to finish the season heading into the Big Dance.
Team to watch: UCLA
hours minutes seconds