NCAA March Madness (Full Bracket Prediction!)

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The field of 68 teams is officially set for the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament! I hope you were lucky enough to have your favorite school make it, but if you follow a team like I do with (UNLV), you will be watching the tournament with no real dog in the fight. Do not worry though, March Madness provides fun for everyone with the opportunity to fill out a bracket and compete against both friends and strangers. Over 70 million people are projected to fill out a bracket this season. Some do it just for fun but most people do it and compete for money in the process.


So how skillful do you actually need to be to win your bracket pool?

This question doesn’t have a direct answer that can be given. All leagues are played under different sets of rules that can either increase or decrease luck that will be needed.  Make sure you understand the rules that your league uses and go from there. The more people in a league the more you will need to find a way to be different from the pack and the more luck you will need to have to actually win. In the end, having both a little luck and skill will help you to win your pool.

The site I play under:

CBS Sports Website

I like CBS Sports more than ESPN because they allow some customization to be done to the scoring. If you want to add a bit of skill to your league I would highly recommend finding a website that allows you to alter scoring. ESPN is just far too luck driven for my liking.

 

My March Madness Picks:

South Region First Round 

1.Virginia vs. 16. Maryland BC
No 16 seed has ever beaten a #1 seed. The 1st time won’t be here. Safely advance Virginia to the next round.

8. Creighton vs. 9. Kansas State
Creighton doesn’t get offensive rebounds, nor do they create turnovers (two things very important in being able to survive and advance) but offensively Creighton will still be too much for Kansas State to handle. Advance Creighton to the next round.

5. Kentucky vs. 12. Davidson
Davidson is going to shoot 30+ three-pointers in this game. It is possible Kentucky’s length could cause them issues? Sure, but I think the bigger question is can Davidson keep Kentucky off the offensive boards? If they do Kentucky is on potential upset alert. A very close game that I will take Davidson to advance. (If you are awarded upset bonus points I think Davidson is a no-brainer pick.)

4. Arizona vs. 13. Buffalo
Buffalo can play. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them compete with Arizona early. At the end of the day though Arizona has Deandre Ayton and Buffalo has no answer for him. Arizona to the next round.

6. Miami vs. 11. Loyola Chicago
Size and athleticism could become an issue for Loyola Chicago but they are full of veterans who know how to defend for the entirety of the shot clock. Already boasting a win against Florida this season they know that they can compete with an upper echelon team. There’s a definite chance they get blown out but Loyola could be this year’s Cinderella team. Loyola Chicago pulls the upset.

3. Tennessee vs. 14. Wright State
Wright State grades out defensively as a top 10 team in the nation; unfortunately for them, they are going to be absolutely stifled offensively by Tennessee’s defense. This game has blowout possibilities written all over it. Tennessee advances.

7. Nevada vs. 10. Texas
Nevada is Elite 8 caliber good. The tournament is just coming at the wrong time for them. After suffering countless injuries, they are now only 6 players deep and two of their star players in Caleb Martin and Kendall Stephens come into this tournament with injuries of their own. Foul trouble or the ever-looming prospect of Martin or Stephens getting re-injured makes this team tough to trust. I will give them the benefit of the doubt over Texas but any outcome is conceivable here. Nevada advances. 

2. Cincinnati vs. 15. Georgia State
Cincinnati might be the most physical team in this tournament.  Look for them to have an offensive rebounding field day against Georgia State. Cincinnati to the next round.

 

West Region First Round

1.Xavier vs. 16. Play in winner
Regardless of which team wins Xavier will advance to the final 32. Nothing more needs to be said.

8. Missouri vs. 9. Florida State
Missouri gets back potential top 3 selection Michael Porter Jr. for their NCAA Tournament run. I am not so sure this helps though. Missouri had become accustomed to playing “team” basketball without Porter. The addition of him may scatter chemistry. You can never underestimate star power but in general, I think the SEC was overrated this season. Give me Florida State to win. 

5. Ohio State vs. 12. South Dakota State
South Dakota State lives and dies by the 3. If they are dropping, then a huge bracket buster is possible. If they aren’t they have no foreseeable path to the school’s first-ever NCAA Big Dance victory. I will assume they won’t get enough to go in. Ohio State moves on.

4. Gonzaga vs. 13. NC Greensboro
Nobody is going to give NC Greensboro a shot to pull the upset here and I think that is a real mistake.  Greensboro boasts one of the nations top defenses. Taking care of the basketball will be vital in defeating them. Gonzaga’s Point Guard Josh Perkins is one of the nations most underrated players. In a lot of match-ups, I think Greensboro would have actually pulled the shocker. Gonzaga will end up being too savvy for them but the game could be a very competitive low scoring one. Gonzaga grinds into the next round.

6. Houston vs. 11. San Diego State
Houston is going to have a lot of sleeper buzz attached to them and rightfully so. If they get hot there is no reason they couldn’t make a serious run towards the final 4. I must mention that this game does remind me a lot of SMU and USC last season where SMU had final 4 buzz and slipped up first round to USC. Houston’s Achilles heel is their propensity to commit fouls. In March every whistle matters and free points given away can lose a close game. I’d tread carefully with Houston or at least realize the risk that is inherited by taking them far. I’ll take Houston but am a bit terrified of the hodgepodge uncertainty surrounding them.

3. Michigan vs. 14. Montana
Montana is one of the best teams in the nation in forcing turnovers; Michigan is #1 in the nation not turning it over. The committee did not make it easy for some of these small schools to pull an upset this year. A different match-up for Montana may have given me some intrigue in picking a big upset but I will avoid the temptation here. Michigan will get the win.

7. Texas A&M vs. 10. Providence
Texas A&M has all the skill in the world. They just can’t seem to put it together for any extended period of time but If they got hot for the tournament it wouldn’t shock me. Providence is a rugged team but I expect Texas A&M to be too much for them. Texas A&M advances.

2. North Carolina vs. 15. Lipscomb
I don’t see a path for Lipscomb to pull an upset. UNC into the round of 32.

East Region First Round

1. Villanova vs. 16. Radford
Give me Villanova.

8. Virginia Tech vs. 9. Alabama
Collin Sexton is a stud for Alabama. He should end up being very close to a top 5 pick for the NBA Draft. Virginia Tech is a more complete team though ranking top 30 in the nation in both points per possession and effective FG percentage. Virginia Tech wins.

5. West Virginia vs. 12. Murray State
Murray State will not go easily in this match-up. They grade out top 30 in both offensive and defensive points per possession and FG percentage. West Virginia will have the advantage in offensive rebounding and turnover percentage. I will take West Virginia but won’t be surprised if Murray State pulls the upset.

4. Wichita State vs. 13. Marshall
Wichita State isn’t as good defensively as they have been in years past but should find their way past this match-up. Marshall doesn’t do anything that would make me believe they are a live dog here. Wichita State wins.

6. Florida vs. 11. St. Bonaventure
After winning the play in game St. Bonaventure will now take on Florida. These two teams are mirror images of one another. They shoot the three-point shot well (St. Bonaventure does it better), have good ball possession (Florida controls it better), and can’t get defensive rebounds (both are bad). St. Bonaventure will surely shoot better than they did against UCLA and while I don’t anticipate them being able to turn Florida over I do think they can replicate their success of drawing fouls against a handsy Florida team. If the game gets close late, Florida has done a terrible job of closing. Give me St. Bonaventure in the upset.

3. Texas Tech vs. 14. Stephen F Austin
Stephen F Austin will try to pester Texas Tech throughout the game. Will it work? It is possible but SFA has way too many huge flaws for me to actually see them pulling off the upset. They turn it over at will, allow offensive rebounds, and foul quite often. Texas Tech will grind out a win.

7. Arkansas vs. 10. Butler
Both these teams grade out very similarly according to my spreadsheet. I don’t see a huge edge in either direction. I will lean towards the 10 seed Butler based on the fact they are a little more defensively sound. Butler in a coin flip game.

2. Purdue vs. 15. Cal State Fullerton
Purdue should have their way with Fullerton.

Midwest Region First Round

1. Kansas vs. 16. Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania may be the best 16th seed we have seen in a long time. My spreadsheet gives them a 12.5% chance to beat Kansas. That might not seem like a high percentage but when a 16 seed has never beaten a 1 it is a rather significant number. Just as a comparison none of the other three 1 vs. 16 seed match-ups has a 16 seed over 1% to win according to my stats. I think at the end of the day Pennsylvania won’t have enough offensively to actually pull off the once in a lifetime upset but you never know. Kansas loves to shoot the 3 and with the way Penn defends the 3-point line, anything is possible if Kansas goes cold. I select Kansas to advance but think this is one of the better opportunities we have ever gotten to see a 16 over a 1 and will be dabbling with selecting Penn in any league that awards a big bonus for an upset.

8. Seton Hall vs. 9. NC State
NC State should be able to force turnovers and Seton Hall should control the offensive glass. I lean towards Seton Hall. Seton Hall to advance.

5. Clemson vs. 12. New Mexico State
New Mexico State is one of the best defensive teams in the country but they will only go as far as Zach Lofton and Jemerrio Jones take them in the tournament. This team is better than your average mid-major and also more confident. In back to back days earlier in the season they beat Miami and Davidson on a neutral court. If Clemson puts up a tough defensive fight I could see New Mexico State wither away but the upset potential is too great to ignore. Give me New Mexico State in the common 12 over 5 upset.

4. Auburn vs. 13. College of Charleston
Auburn comes into the NCAA tournament limping after losing 3 of their last 4 contests. I am not a huge fan of this team and think they have already peaked but I also think they draw a very favorable region. This part of the bracket has the potential to bust wide open. As far as this game is concerned, I don’t think College of Charleston will be able to match-up with Auburn on the defensive end. Auburn wins by 10+ points.

6. TCU vs. 11. Play in winner (Arizona State?)
This game would pit two terrible defensive teams against one another. I hate this match-up. No matter who TCU plays between Syracuse and Arizona State it will be against a team that shouldn’t be in the field. I tentatively pick TCU because of their great offense but don’t trust any of these teams and think all options would result in a coin flip.

3. Michigan State vs. 14. Bucknell
Michigan State comes into this tournament as possibly the most under-seeded team in the draw and to make matters worse draws a very game Bucknell team. The match-up isn’t the greatest as far as X’s and O’s are concerned for Bucknell but they have played a very strong non-conference schedule and aren’t strangers to crashing the big dance. Give me Michigan State to advance but Bucknell has a punchers chance. 

7. Rhode Island vs. 10. Oklahoma
Oklahoma getting into the tournament isn’t even the biggest joke of the whole matter. How they actually got a 10 seed and avoided all play in games is beyond baffling. Oklahoma will go however far Trae Young takes them. I guess it is conceivable he could pull a Kemba Walker and just take over the tournament like Walker did for Uconn in the 2010-2011 season but with Oklahoma losing 11 of its last 15 games I don’t think it is likely. Rhode Island onto the next round.

2. Duke vs. 15. Iona
Duke has been known to slip up in these 2 vs. 15 games but it won’t happen here.


South Region Second Round

1. Virginia vs. 8. Creighton
Virginia’s first test of the tournament will come in this battle. It definitely is possible that Creighton shoots the lights out and pulls an upset but most teams aren’t able to do that against Virginia’s hard-nosed defense. Like it was mentioned in the Creighton vs. Kansas State breakdown, Creighton doesn’t force turnovers nor do they get offensive rebounds. Limited possessions vs. Virginia will bounce them from the tournament in the second round. Virginia is Sweet 16 bound.

4. Arizona vs. 12. Davidson
The Davidson Wildcats, after springing the upset against the Kentucky Wildcats, will now face the Arizona Wildcats…. conspiracy theory? All jokes aside, Davidson will look to continue their hot shooting against Arizona. While I do think there is potential that they stay hot, I also think this is probably where the road comes to an end for Davidson. They would need a superhuman effort from their big men to keep Ayton in check. Arizona advances to the next round.

3. Tennessee vs. 11. Loyola Chicago
This is such an interesting game. I want to take Loyola Chicago very badly into the Sweet 16 but I just can’t get myself to do it. Tennessee is able to counteract pretty much everything Loyola Chicago does well. Tennessee might not be a great shooting team but they do excel from the 3-point line ranking in the top 40. Tennessee’s biggest liability is the offensive rebounds they give up. Loyola Chicago ranks 334th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage. I just don’t see Loyola Chicago pulling another upset in this one. Tennessee will have its hands full but will advance.

7. Nevada vs. 2. Cincinnati
If Nevada was healthy I would consider this more. With the way things stand, Cincinnati will be too physical for Nevada. They will either break them down with their grueling nature or will get Nevada into foul trouble. Either way, Cincinnati will be too much to handle.

West Region Round 2

1. Xavier vs. 9. Florida State
Florida State is battle tested from being in the ACC and after playing teams like UNC, Duke, and Virginia night in and night out they will not be scared to face #1 seed Xavier. So will they win? I definitely think it is possible. Xavier is the weakest #1 seed of all the teams in my opinion. Xavier is very flawed defensively and is not good enough offensively to make up for that. They don’t force turnovers and they don’t get enough offensive rebounds. Florida State is not great defensively themselves but will not be blown away by what Xavier has to offer offensively, at least compared to what they are used to seeing in the ACC. I think this is a very close game and will actually pick the upset. Florida State beats Xavier and our first #1 seed is gone.

4. Gonzaga vs. 5. Ohio State
Gonzaga’s tournament experience should help them in this tough second-round battle. Ohio State is a very solid team but I am not sure what they do spectacularly. They struggle shooting the three-point shot and don’t create turnovers. Gonzaga making a run in the NCAA tournament is becoming standard. Gonzaga onto the Sweet 16.

3. Michigan vs. 6. Houston
This game has potential to turn into a really good one. Both teams do a pretty decent job of neutralizing what the other team does well. Michigan with the extra week layoff could end up wishing they didn’t have such a long break but I still don’t fully trust this Houston Cougars team. I think Michigan will be too solid in all facets for Houston; that’s if the Cougars even get to this game and don’t slip up round one. Michigan advances.

2. North Carolina vs. 7. Texas A&M
Texas A&M’s Jekyll and Hyde team will take on the defending champions UNC. I expect more Hyde than Jekyll for this match-up. North Carolina is beatable but I don’t think A&M will be able to put it all together. UNC to the Sweet 16.

East Region Round 2

1. Villanova vs. #8 Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech doesn’t get offensive rebounds and they don’t create turnovers. I know it becomes a monotonous statement but teams who don’t do these things have a much more difficult time pulling a big upset. Virginia Tech has the capabilities to get hot offensively so they aren’t drawing dead but defensively Nova may shred them. Nova advances.

4. Wichita State vs. 5. West Virginia
This game could go either way. Both teams bring a unique style to the table. I am going to go with Wichita State for the following reasons: West Virginia usually exits the tournament because their havoc defensive style doesn’t create the number of turnovers it desires. This will be because the team who beats them is a good offensive team that is able to control the ball. West Virginia ranks 4th in creating turnovers and Wichita State ranks 35th in not turning it over. The other key stat that tends to hamper West Virginia in big tournament games is giving up offensive rebounds. West Virginia is ranked 257th in the nation in allowing offensive boards. Wichita State is ranked 13th in creating offensive boards. Wichita State wins a very competitive game.

3. Texas Tech vs. 11. St. Bonaventure
Getting everyone healthy for Texas Tech will be vital in this match-up. Injuries crept up on the Red Raiders late in the season and probably prevented them from winning the Big 12 regular season title. Star player Keenan Evans is the most important player to get back to full health. He suffered a nagging toe injury late in the season. If he is healthy Texas Tech can make a real run at the final 4, if he isn’t their run will end early. I am going with Texas Tech to advance but monitor in the coming days if any bad news comes out about Keenan Evans.

2. Purdue vs. 10. Butler
Purdue has become the forgotten about team in the tournament. A couple of weeks ago they were a popular pick to be a Final Four team and now I hear nobody mentioning them. Butler is a scrappy team but doesn’t have enough statistical strength in any category to make me consider picking them over Purdue. Butler was a top 70 team in most stats I looked at, yet they were not top 30 in any of those categories. Purdue rolls into the Sweet 16.

Midwest Region Round 2

1. Kansas vs. 8. Seton Hall
If Kansas can get by Penn I look for them to dominate Seton Hall. Seton Hall does have an advantage on the offensive boards but Kansas is too deep and too good for them. Kansas cruises.

4. Auburn vs. 12. New Mexico State
Just like New Mexico State beat Miami and Davidson in back to back days early in the season I am looking for them to repeat this by beating Clemson and Auburn during the first weekend. I actually think the harder game of the two for New Mexico State would be their round 1 game against Clemson. NMSU is hard to prepare for and if they can get by Clemson look for them to potentially pull another rabbit out of their hat. New Mexico State is still dancing.

3. Michigan State vs. 6. TCU
I mentioned this in my initial write-up about TCU in their first-round game and I am sticking to the same narrative. I do not like this TCU team. Michigan State will advance.

2. Duke vs. 7. Rhode Island
Rhode Island would need to force a bunch of turnovers and shoot much better than what they are accustomed to doing in order to win this game. Duke to the next round.

Sweet 16

1. Virginia vs. 4. Arizona
I pray this is the game we actually get in the Sweet 16. I think from a skill level standpoint it could turn into one of the great battles of the tournament. Virginia’s lockdown defense versus Arizona’s high-powered offense is an exciting thing to think about. So who wins? I’ve never been one to love Virginia come tournament time but I think this year’s team is the best they have ever had. Arizona will give them some scares but #1 Virginia will march into the Elite 8.

2. Cincinnati vs. 3. Tennessee
This is the game Tennessee will be exposed for their lack of defensive rebounding. Cincinnati ranks 2nd in the nation in offensive rebounding and Tennessee ranks 259th in allowing offensive boards. Give me Cincinnati in what will be a chalky 1 vs. 2 South Regional Final.

4. Gonzaga vs. 9. Florida State
Florida State might be a battle-tested team but being able to overcome Xavier and Gonzaga will be too much for them. Gonzaga will have a week to prepare for the Seminoles and should handle them quite easily. Gonzaga advances.

2. North Carolina vs. 3. Michigan
In another mini-upset, I will take Michigan to get past the defending champion UNC Tar Heels. North Carolina’s defense is just not good this season and their offensive points of emphasis will be negated by Michigan. UNC ranks 20th in points per possession and 3rd in offensive rebounding. Michigan defensively ranks 18th in points per possession allowed and 17th in offensive rebounds allowed. UNC won’t force turnovers and will struggle to get the offensive rebounds they are accustomed to…this is a bad combination and one that reeks of trouble. Michigan to the Elite 8.

1. Villanova vs. 4. Wichita State.
Wichita State will finally have the regression in this year’s defensive unit bite them. Villanova is too strong offensively for the mistakes Wichita will make. Nova advances.

2. Purdue vs. 3. Texas Tech
I don’t think Keenan Evans can possibly get healthy enough to replicate his early season success he provided Texas Tech. They had a better season than almost anyone saw coming but the road will end here. Purdue wins. 

1. Kansas vs. 12. New Mexico State
There is definitely some interest in selecting New Mexico State over Kanas. New Mexico State will play tough defense and just like in the U-Penn game, if Kansas goes cold an upset might be around the corner. I really wish the top part of the region was deeper because I HATE taking the Jayhawks all the way to the Elite 8. If you have a team you love I would consider rolling them out to the final 8 but unfortunately, I don’t. The bracket left me a little tied up and I will default and begrudgingly take Kansas to move on. It may end up happening because I find the bracket so weak but Kansas losing anywhere really wouldn’t shock me. Not having a team I can pinpoint as being one I like is tough.

2. Duke vs. 3. Michigan State
This match-up is downright criminal. The committee putting MSU as the #3 seed is one of the biggest errors of a tournament that is culminated with mistakes. This leaves us to play the guessing game of which one of these two top 5 teams in the country will advance to the Elite 8. My stats say Michigan State will win a close one but my gut is telling me Duke. Brackets will unfortunately be made or lost because of this game. Give me Duke but I can’t say I am thrilled to do so. 

Elite 8

1. Virginia vs. 2, Cincinnati
The #1 and #2 defenses will square off with a trip to the Final Four on the line and while this may seem like the perfect kind of game for Virginia to win I am not so sure that is the case. There’s a lot of spots of encouragement if you a Bearcat supporter. I mentioned this statement above and I will once again for this game. If you live by the three you usually end up dying by the three. This is exactly what snake-bit Virginia in their two losses this season. Cincinnati is top 15 when it comes to defending the 3-point shot.  There is even more reason for optimism if you are rooting for Cincinnati also. While Virginia doesn’t turn the ball over, Cincy still ranks top 15 in forcing mistakes. If Virginia gets behind early and starts having to force situations the Bearcats will be able to exploit a Cavalier team that is not used to playing at a higher tempo. Mix that in with the fact that Cincinnati is ranked 2nd in offensive rebounds and Virginia will not get many second-chance opportunities, I think this game has potential to get away from Virginia early. Vegas will probably have this line at about Virginia -3 or -3.5. Brackets are going to have Virginia over Cincy in this situation at probably an 8/1 clip. From a pure value standpoint and finding a spot to differentiate myself, I will take Cincinnati to make the Final Four.
***Deandre Hunter has been ruled out for Virginia for the NCAA tournament. This will make it even more difficult to get past Cincinnati.

3. Michigan vs. 4. Gonzaga
Michigan is the hottest team in America right now, but if I was them, I would worry about the stop and go nature of the tournament and I would even be concerned with the layoff before the tournament has started. At some point, Michigan will probably go cold and if they do I don’t like their prospects of being able to create second-chance looks. Gonzaga has some flaws in leaving shooters open around the perimeter so if Michigan can stay locked in there is potential for the Wolverines but I don’t think enough shots will drop. I will have their run come to an end here. Gonzaga advances to another Final Four.

1. Villanova vs. 2.Purdue
Villanova has by far the easiest path of all the #1 seeds in my opinion but will finally run into their first big-time test against Purdue. The Boilermakers are led by four seniors but their best player happens to be sophomore Carsen Edwards. Purdue is long and experienced. These seniors carry demons from their first three years based off of some of the dud performances they have laid in the tournament. WIll this be detrimental or will this help them? My answer is this will help them. Purdue for how big they are aren’t a great rebounding team and they are paper thin on their bench, but until a team can out physical them on the boards and put them into foul trouble I don’t see why they can’t keep advancing. Villanova is not that team so give me Purdue to finally get over the hump and get themselves in the Final Four.

1. Kansas vs. 2. Duke
For Kansas, this match-up is probably better than one versus Michigan State but not by much. Both MSU and Duke metrically grade out better than Kansas does. Duke should have been a #1 seed and Michigan State probably should have been the best #2. Kansas, in reality, is more of a #2 and a back-end #2 at that. Michigan State or Duke will manhandle this team on the offensive glass and will be able to shut down their outside shooting. There are many more reasons why Duke would have a huge statistical advantage but it is a bit of overkill to explain the 1000 ways I think Kansas will die in the Mid-West. Duke advances.

Final Four

#2 Cincinnati vs. 4. Gonzaga
Gonzaga reaching back-to-back Final Fours would be amazing, mostly when you consider their first Final Four in school history came last season. Assuming they get to this point, would they be able to replicate their success and once again get themselves into the Finals? Something tells me no… Statistically, this game has very little to separate these two teams. My numbers do have Cincinnati as a 1-point favorite but it’s a razor-thin margin trying to sever these schools apart. Cincinnati’s lack of consistent shooting could absolutely spell trouble against a Gonzaga team that does a great job of limiting second-chance looks but I can’t help but feel like the Zags would get this game stolen from them for a couple of reasons. Cincinnati is very rough and tough and will not back away from a fight. I think it’s conceivable that Gonzaga would be rather lackadaisical in their effort. Part of this would be because they just experienced the buzz of the Final Four last season and some of the hunger would be gone. The other part of it would be because they know what it is like to be in the Finals and may look ahead wanting to get straight into that game. The Bearcats will claw and do what is needed to not come up short. I will take #2 seed Cincinnati to reach the NCAA Finals!

2. Purdue vs. 2. Duke
Purdue vs. Duke would be a very exciting contest. Two gargantuan sized teams that in a weird way play completely opposite of one another. Purdue wants to stretch the court with their big men and Duke wants to attack the paint and muscle their way on the boards. That isn’t to say Duke can’t do a little of what Purdue does but a high degree of physicality is more of their nature. I mentioned this for Purdue earlier but I think both teams come into this tournament under the radar. Duke has gone from everyone’s pick to cut down the nets earlier this season and have now reached a point that people are struggling to figure out exactly what they want to do with them on their brackets. For me, Duke would just be far too physical for this Purdue team. The Boilermakers lack of brute strength will finally catch up to them. #2 Duke is into the Finals.

2018 NCAA Championship Game

2. Cincinnati vs. 2, Duke
After a long season, and frankly a long write-up on my end, we are finally to the Championship game. Cincinnati should have been a #1 seed over Xavier and Duke should have been a #1 seed over Kansas but for all intensive purposes, our National Championship pits two #2 seeds against one another.

How does each team win?

In order for Cincinnati to win they would need to make this game very ugly, kind of like how Virginia does in their games against Duke. Tempo would need to be slowed way down, they would need to expose Duke on the defensive boards, and they would need to shoot much better than they are accustomed to doing. In reality, they need to play their brand of basketball and just hit a few more shots.

Duke can win in a couple of different ways. They win if they manage to speed this game up. If they are able to get to over 75 points in this contest, I don’t think the Bearcats stand a fighting chance. They also can win a hard-fought game. If they can limit Cincinnati’s offensive rebounding and if they hold them to a reasonable shooting percentage, they should still be able to find themselves cutting down the nets.

Who wins?
Both of these teams, if they get to the finals, will clearly have a chance to pull out a win. At the end of the day though, Cincinnati will have to get so much more to go correctly for them to get a victory.

Duke 73 Cincinnati 65

Your 2018 NCAA Basketball National Champions will be The Duke Blue Devils.

 

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