By: Rachel Jarard
This annual March Madness is in full swing with teams fighting for the spot of the champion. Yet again, this year’s brackets are proving to be unsuccessful, as no one has managed to get the perfect one.
The games continue Friday, March 25th with 12 teams still standing after the sweet 16 games held on Thursday with more set to be eliminated before heading to Elite action on Saturday, March 26th and Sunday, March 27th.
March Madness predictions are stacking up with a few teams in the front running for the final four. There has been no perfect bracket yet again and many were shot down thanks to the first round of upsets such as Saint Peters over Kentucky. Teams are coming in hot with unexpected wins that are throwing off a lot of spectators.
“St. Peters could be the best upset ever,” said David Craig, member of NCAA March Madness Men and Women Basketball Group.
Arkansas and Ganzaga will play the highest-scoring game of the sweet 16. These two teams are ranked in the top three of the 16 remaining teams, with the Zags ranking first nationally in offensive efficiency.
The Miami Hurricanes are projected to win against the Iowa State Cyclones. Both have advanced with multiple upsets but the hurricanes are currently looking like front runners even though the Cyclones won their last three underdog games. In the last three games Miami had an average scoring of plus 5.3 while Iowa State’s was minus 7.
“I really like Duke and Housten,” said Derek Owens, 22, who played varsity basketball all four years at Gainesville High School. “Duke has been getting coached by the best coach ever, Coach K, and Housten is a very well put together team, they play hard defense so that is why I like them.”
The Gonzaga Bulldogs nearly had an almost perfect season last year. According to Sports Interaction, there is a +300 chance that Gonzaga will win the national championship with Arizona straggling close behind with the second best odds at +600.
The Wildcats are glad to be back after missing the tournament in Sean Miller’s final three seasons with the team. Arizona also had a 31 win season and actually won their first Pac-12 title since 2018. Player, Bennedict Mathurin averages 17.4 points a game and is looking to take the team back to the final four, which will be the first time since 2001.
“Auburn and Kentucky were by far the most overrated teams in the SEC, and they were showed out by Arkansas,” said Derek Bresch, a senior Business Major.
Amalie Arena in Downtown Tampa was honored to host the first weekend of the NCAA championship in 2022, but it ended up being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tampa did hold the final four tournament for women in 2019, but they will now be holding the SEC tournament which will be the first time since 2011.