By Ryan Hunt
March is finally upon us.
With less than a week until Selection Sunday, here is HottyToddy.com’s intern Ryan Hunt with his final predictions for how the field might look:
Houston should receive the No. 1 overall seed with a dominating season in which it went 28-2. Following the Cougars are Alabama (25-5), Kansas (24-6) and UCLA (26-4). Purdue could also sneak into getting a top seed, depending on how the Big Ten tournament goes and whether a team like UCLA has an early exit in its conference tournament.
Conference Breakdown: The Big Ten and SEC have dominated the college basketball season with nine teams coming out of the Big Ten (Purdue, Indiana, Maryland, Northwestern, Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois, Rutgers and Wisconsin) and eight teams projected to come out of the SEC (Alabama, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Auburn and Mississippi State)
Dark Horse: The dark horse candidate that’s familiar with the big dance is Duke. After a close win against bitter rival UNC, the Blue Devils look to extend their win streak to seven and hope to capture their sixth national championship and first for first-year head coach Jon Scheyer.
On the Bubble: The bubble team that needs to be stellar in its conference tournament is the Wisconsin Badgers. With a 17-13 record and a close win over Minnesota on Sunday night, the Badgers need to go far in the Big Ten Tournament if they want to see their hopes of bringing a title to Madison. As of right now, ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi has the Badgers on the bubble with teams like Penn State, Nevada and Mississippi State.
Miracles in March: The best part of the March Madness tournament is the Cinderella team that defeats a 1, 2, or 3 seed, so who will it be this year? Everyone should watch out for the Catamounts of Vermont. They are 21-10 and have been looking great as of the last couple of weeks. If they play a team like Alabama, which has been struggling, don’t be surprised if you see Vermont advance.
Stay Tuned: Next week as we will dive into each corner of the bracket and help you make the perfect picks.