It’s officially time for the best two weeks of any sports season.
Yes, I said ANY sports season because there is no spectacle greater and bigger than March Madness.
Everyone takes time to fill out a bracket, or 15, and I’m willing to bet 90 percent of America has Duke winning the National Championship. Which is understandable now that the Blue Devils are healthy.
While the tournament starts today and most, if not all brackets have been constructed, allow me to breeze through and offer my wisdom/predictions for what I believe will happen.
I’m either going to be very right or miserably wrong, but either way, this is all in good fun. At least until I rip my bracket apart.
There’s always at least five double-digit seeds who pull the first-round upset and make a tournament run, a la Loyola-Chicago from last season.
I don’t believe a double-digit seed crashes the final four this year, but plenty of them will see second-round action. And here are just a few.
• 11-seeded Belmont will upset sixth-seed Maryland. Belmont finally got its freshman big man Nick Muszynski back in the lineup and healthy, the Bruins have their third-leading scorer and leading-shot blocker back. Not to mention this team scores 87 points per game. This will be the best offensive team Maryland sees, and it won’t have enough to keep up.
• 14-seeded Yale upends third-seeded LSU. LSU is in all types of shambles with the circus surrounding its program and head coach, not to mention their poor showing in the SEC tournament. It’s not a good mix against a Yale team that scores 80 points per game and possess four guys who score in double figures. Not to mention, Yale’s top six players shoot more than 45 percent from the floor. Efficiency.
• 12-seeded Oregon beats fifth-seeded Wisconsin. The Ducks are rolling right now, did anyone see them play in the PAC-12 championship? They were unreal. This team has found its stride and identity after star center Bol Bol went down after just nine games. This could be a Sweet 16 team, especially if Payton Pritchard plays as he did in the conference tournament.
• 13-seeded UC Irvine downs fourth-seeded Kansas State. The Anteaters don’t possess a ton of lethal scoring, but what they do have is depth — a lot of it. This team goes nine players deep, with every guy contributing at least six points. While that might not blow you away, the bigger point is they’re heatlhy. Meanwhile, Kansas State’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, Dean Wade, is out with a foot injury.
• 12-seeded Murray State races past fifth-seeded Marquette. This will be the most fun matchup of the whole first round. Markus Howard, of Marquette, who is sixth in the nation in scoring at 25 points per night, against the high-flying and Top-3 NBA prospect Ja Morant, who leads the nation in assists per game with 10 along with 24.6 points per night, eighth in the nation. The difference maker: Murray State has four guys who average double figures. Marquette has two.
• 11-seeded Ohio State takes down sixth-seeded Iowa State. I openly admit, as a huge Ohio State fan and Ohio-born guy, this is probably more wishful thinking than anything. The Buckeyes have struggled since January and barely made the tournament. With that being said, the Cyclones have no one who physically can matchup with 6-foot-9, 270 pound Kaleb Wesson. On the flip side, Iowa State might not need it, considering its nine guys all shoot more than 40 percent from the field. Fingers crossed.
Once the dust settles, I believe Duke (East region), Gonzaga (West region), Purdue (South region) and Kentucky (Midwest region) meet up in Minneapolis.
Gonzaga and Kentucky meet in the championship with the Bulldogs finally capturing the National Championship that has eluded them for the past couple of years.
In the Future
I’ll be back for Brock-O-Tology Part 2, the Sweet 16 version, next week. May the odds be in your favor, and may my predictions be right and not bust too many brackets.