The NCAA Tournament is the best playoff in sports, period. It never disappoints. That being said, this hasn’t been an exciting tournament in terms of pure upsets thus far. I’m not saying the first round was unexciting or anything, I’m just saying that if you filled your bracket with upsets, then this wasn’t your ideal first round. After the Round of 64 and in preparation of the Round of 32, I have some thoughts.
Notre Dame Survives, Stands Chance To Blow Up West
I, personally, had Princeton winning their first game against the #5 seed Fighting Irish. There’s always something about the 5-12 Ivy League matchups that give teams trouble. In a West Region that is relatively wide open, I think they could potentially run the table. With Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell and VJ Beachem, they have a strong core, with a good bench and an excellent coach in Mike Brey. Now, granted, they’re down at halftime as I type this, but anything can happen in this glorious month.
Middle Tennessee State Wins Another First Round
Middle Tennessee loves to play the Big 10 in the month of March. They’re famous for taking down Michigan State last year in the first round, and they took care of business against Minnesota this time around. Though they’re a #12 seed, they’re an athletic team that was a popular pick in a lot of brackets. They have #4 Butler in their next game in a winnable match. Look out for them to potentially make the Sweet 16 in a matchup against either UNC or Arkansas.
Northwestern Escapes, Matches Up With Gonzaga
Northwestern was basically handed a win in their first game against Vanderbilt, when Matthew Fisher-Davis inexplicably forgot the rules of basketball.
The Wildcats have the best all-time winning percentage remaining in the tournament (jokes), and I’m interested to see how they do against Gonzaga. I think the Zags catch a lot of hate for their strength of schedule (or lack thereof). They won, but they looked really vulnerable. Can Northwestern build on their momentum?
Charles Barkley HATES UCLA
I wrote the other day about LaVar Ball, and he has officially become the majority shareholder of Charles Barkley’s brain. Barkley now refuses to pick UCLA in basically any matchup, which is hysterical. But on a more serious note, UCLA has a tough path to the Final Four. They’re dynamic offensively, but I’m curious if the defensive-minded #6 Cincinnati Bearcats can slow down the attack from Lonzo Ball, Bryce Alford and the rest of the Bruins. After that, they’d hypothetically have to go through Kentucky and UNC.
Cover photo from Zimbio.
GIF from Yahoo Sports.