The Pitch’s guide to March Madness and the Round of 64


courtesy of The Pitch

March Madness predictions.

The NCAA Division One basketball tournament, better known as March Madness, starts Thursday, Mar 15. The Pitch is here to guide you through your bracket picks for the Round of 64, and the rest of the tournament. With an estimated 40 million Americans filling out a bracket annually, you could be the first person ever to have a perfect bracket!

The West Region starts with number one seed Gonzaga facing off against 16 seed Georgia State. Gonzaga, coming in as the favorite to win the whole tournament, is a lock to beat Georgia State and move on to the Round of 32. Number two seed Duke plays 15 seed CSU Fullerton, and with legendary Duke Coach Mike Krsyzewski in his final season, the Blue Devils will not disappoint against Fullerton and will move on to the Round of 32. 

Next, the number three seed Texas Tech, with their deflating defense, will easily defeat 14 seed Montana State and advance to the Round of 32. Number four seed Arkansas, led by star guard JD Notae and their high flying offense, will dismantle 13 seed Vermont. Number five seed UConn, led by their size and ability to gain offensive rebounds, will have too many extra possessions and will overpower 12 seed New Mexico State. Alabama, who is the six seed and dominantly shooting the three-ball, will blow by the 11 seed which will be Notre Dame. 

The first upset in the South Region will be courtesy of 10 seed Davidson, which has four players averaging over 10 points. These players will lead Davidson to a late victory over number seven seed Michigan State. The final game in the Round of 64 will be played between number eight seed Boise State and nine seed Memphis, currently 10-1 since Jan. 20, and will continue this hot streak in the Round of 64 and move on to the Round of 32.

The East Region’s number one seed is the defending national champion, theBaylor Bears, who will face off against 16 seed Norfolk State. Baylor will run through Norfolk State and head to the Round of 32. Number two seed Kentucky will rely on their big man and number one player in the country, Oscar Tshiebwe, against Saint Peter’s.  Saint Peter’s will be unable to stop Tshiebwe and the Wildcats. Purdue is the number three seed in the East and will use their offense, which is the best in the nation, to blow past 14 seed Yale. 

One of last year’s Final Four teams, UCLA, is the number four seed and will face off against 13 seed Akron. Experienced UCLA will be too much for Akron to deal with in the end. Number five seed Saint Mary’s, who upset Gonzaga earlier in the season, will not be victims of an upset against 12 seed Indiana. ACC champions Virginia Tech are the 11 seed in the East and will force the first upset in the East Region when they defeat six seed Texas. 

Number seven seed Murray State has won 20 straight games and will continue this hot streak when they face off against 10 seed University of San Francisco. The final game of the Round of 64 in the East Region will be between eight seed North Carolina and nine seed Marquette. North Carolina, led by frontcourt duo Armando Bacot and Brady Manek, will be too much for Marquette to deal with.

The South region leads off with one seed in the South and third overall, Arizona, facing off against the sixteenth seed Wright State. Arizona will overpower the competition and move on to the round of 32. Moving on to the two seed Villanova, which has historically been a top team, should easily move on to the next round against 15 seed Delaware.  

The three seed Tennessee is set to battle the 14 seed Longwood, in which Tennessee should roll the competition to advance to the next round. A Kofi Cockburn-led Illinois four seed team will square off against 13 seed Chattannooga, where Illinois will run away with the game. One of the strongest defensive teams in the NCAA, only allowing 58.9 opponents points per game, five seed Houston will start their tournament off with a triumphant win over 12 seed University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB. 

Our first and only South bracket upset will come with an 11 seed Michigan beating six seed Colorado State, as Michigan has held its own and split series with the top teams in the nation. Always a fan favorite and known for their historic runs, 10 seed Loyola Chicago is set to play an E.J Liddell-led seven seed Ohio State, where unfortunately Loyola Chicago will fall short. Eight seed Seton Hall will use their rebounding prowess to beat nine seed TCU in the final Round of 64 game in the South Region.

The Midwest Region is led by one seed Kansas, which will easily dismantle 16 seed Texas Southern. Auburn, the two seed in the Midwest, led by Jabari Smith, will be too much for Jacksonville State to deal with. Three seed Wisconsin, led by Big 10 player of the year Johnny Davis and Big 10 coach of the year Greg Gard, will overpower 14 seed Colgate on both sides of the ball. Four seed Providence will put an end to 13 seed South Dakota State’s 21 game winning streak, due to their superior offense and their ability to pull off close wins.   

Big 10 champion Iowa is the five seed in the Midwest and has one of the top five most efficient offenses, and this will lead them to a victory over 12 seed Richmond. Six seed LSU faces off against 11 seed Iowa State. LSU has the youngest squad in the tournament and this inexperience will be their downfall against a defensively stout Iowa State team. 

Seven seed USC will use their size and freshman seven-foot center Isiah Mobley to overpower Miami, the 10 seed in the Midwest. Eight seed San Diego State has one of the best defenses in the country and will use this advantage to defeat an inexperienced nine seed Creighton.

The teams that will be moving on from the Round of 64 and into the Round of 32 in the West Region are one seed Gonzaga, two seed Duke, three seed Texas Tech, four seed Arkansas, five seed UConn, six seed Alabama, nine seed Memphis, and 10 seed Davidson. The teams moving on in the East Region are one seed Baylor, two seed Kentucky, three seed Purdue, four seed UCLA, five seed Saint Mary’s, seven seed Murray State, eight seed North Carolina, and 11 seed Virginia Tech. The South Region will have one seed Arizona, two seed Villanova, three seed Tennessee, four seed Illinois, five seed Houston, seven seed Ohio State, eight seed Seton Hall, and 11 seed Michigan moving on to the Round of 32. In the Midwest Region, one seed Kansas, two seed Auburn, three seed Wisconsin, four seed Providence, five seed Iowa, seven seed USC, eight seed San Diego State, and 11 seed Iowa State will be the teams moving on to the Round of 32.

(Link, leads to full version of March Madness chart)