The Division One NCAA Tournament, March Madness, is set to begin on March 17, after the 64-team pool is determined on Selection Sunday. There are multiple teams aiming to win the tournament with players trying to enhance their draft stock.
Last year, Duke University won the national championship, defeating the University of Wisconsin 68-63. Two months later during the NBA draft, Duke’s two top scorers, Justice Winslow and Jahlil Okafor, were both selected as top 10 picks. This year Duke is 21-8 and would currently rank as a fourth seed if the tournament started right now.
One of the NBA community favorites is the University of Kansas. They are the only team projected as a number one seed after being in that position last year. They also have the advantage of four of their five starters returning from last year’s, led by Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr.
Not to be outdone is their Big 12 rival the University of Oklahoma. They would also project as a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament and are led by the second leading scorer in the nation, Buddy Hield. Hield has shown clear NBA potential with massive scoring performances, including 46 points during an away game against Kansas.
Despite his success, the team has hit a bit of a rough patch, losing four of their last seven games. Either way, Oklahoma remains the only team in the Big 12 that has a chance of defeating Kansas.
One of the biggest potential disappointments of the NCAA Tournament would be Louisiana State University missing the tournament. They are led by Ben Simmons, a player projected to not only be the number one overall pick in the upcoming draft, but also projected to be the next LeBron James by many NBA experts.
Simmons is currently the highest scoring freshman since Kevin Durant in 2007 at the University of Texas. Despite his superb season, LSU is currently out of the NCAA Tournament, with a 17-12 record, unless they can win the SEC Tournament. The absence of Ben Simmons would be the first time a number one overall pick didn’t appear in the NCAA Tournament.
Although there are favorites to win the NCAA Tournament, this college basketball season has proven to be one of the more unpredictable with six different teams being top ranked, and three of those top teams losing to unranked teams. This year’s tournament, like many in the past, promises to bring plenty of surprises come March 17.