I sorted through the bracket and searched for the most intriguing possible matchups, in my opinion. Here they are.
Kentucky vs. Arizona (Round of 32)
One coach draped in controversy, one coach that surprisingly isn’t. Two Blue Bloods meeting in the round of 32!
Sean Miller’s Arizona squad seem to be playing their asses off for their fearless leader after ESPN falsely reported news about an FBI investigation. To be fair, it’s all still pending and I’m sure the report was fairly accurate. Either way, they have NBA talent all over their roster, lead by the future #1 overall pick Deandre Ayton.
On the other hand, after a confusing year coaching his youngest team ever, Coach Calipari has finally figured it out. His team is finally playing to their potential behind the hot hand of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the recent three point outburst of Wenyen Gabriel.
This should be a really fun game between two coaches that are surely connected to the mob.
Villanova vs. Alabama (Round of 32)
Villanova is good. Not much more to say. They’ve been good all year playing for a great coach in Jay Wright, and behind two great players in Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. Their matchup with the surging Alabama is the interesting part.
Alabama is lead by one of the most exciting players in the country, and a sneaky good draft pick, Collin Sexton. Sexton has been playing out of his mind and can single handedly lead Bama to a win over Villanova if all goes well.
Worst case scenario, it’s a good game and the country will finally be able to see Collin Sexton ball out.
Duke vs. Michigan State (Sweet 16)
Duke vs. Michigan State is interesting simply because it is the game that features the most NBA talent on one court, and two of the best coaches of all time.
This one doesn’t need much analysis. Coach K vs. Coach Izzo. Grayson Allen, Marvin Bagley III, and Wendell Carter Jr. vs. Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Cassius Winston. Five future first round picks playing against each other. Buckle up for this one.
Virginia vs. Arizona (Sweet 16)
Virginia’s first test in the tourney against elite athletes. Virginia has gone from unranked to the #1 overall seed because of their tenacious defense and timely offense. Can that persistent D stop Arizona and all of their NBA talent?
Arizona has a clear physical advantage, but Virginia plays in a system that is hard to beat. This is one of those rare matchups of raw skill vs. sound fundamental play.
Michigan vs. North Carolina (Sweet 16)
The hottest team in the country that is full of natural scorers against the defending champs, and old reliable. Michigan, under the lead of Coach John Beilein, always seem to peak at the right time, and this season his Michigan squad is filled with talent. Can Michigan ride their momentum after winning their conference tournament?
North Carolina will do what they always do behind senior point guard Joel Berry and company. They will play well, they will score a lot of points, and they will be well coached. However, Michigan has the talent and the size to beat UNC and knock them out of the tourney earlier than expected.
Villanova vs. Duke (Final Four)
They have been two of the top five teams all year. They are destined for a matchup in the final four. As noted above, both teams are absolutely loaded with talent, and both teams can score with the best of ’em. Duke’s late season switch to a new zone defense that has been very successful may be the deciding factor in this potentially wildly entertaining game.
Best Bets In the First Round For You Degenerate Gamblers
I looked over all of the first round games and found the lines that I would bet on. I’ll just list them for you, if you have questions about why I made those picks find me on twitter here:
Here are the picks:
San Diego State +4
Stephen F. Austin +11
NMSU/Clemson OVER 133
Arizona/Buffalo UNDER 157