March Madness starts this week with the conference champions. Each conference has a chance to guarantee one team makes it to the tournament. I'm going to analyze the big five conferences as I'll make some bold, probably mostly incorrect, predictions. I don't think I'll get too risky as I have no idea how most of these teams will perform but maybe I'll learn something and more importantly just enjoy the spectacle of an early March Madness treat before the big dance.
This conference could be the most powerful this year. Even the early teams are pretty decent. Wake Forest should top Boston College while Clemson should beat NC State and Georgia Tech should win over Pittsburgh. The next day Syracuse should take out Miami, Duke over Clemson, Wake Forest upsets Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech loses to Virginia. First place North Carolin will beat Syracuse and face Duke who will upset Louisville. Florida State will face Notre Dame after the Seminoles beat Wake Forest and the Fighting Irish beat the Cavaliers. I'm taking Florida State over Notre Dame and UNC over Duke. The Tar Heels are my pick for the ACC.
The ACC Tournament tipped off with Clemson beating NC State, then Wake Forest knocked off Boston College, and my only wrong prediction was Georgia Tech losing to Pittsburgh. The second round of games had Miami upsetting Syracuse, Duke eliminating Clemson early while Virginia Tech proved me wrong against Wake Forest and Virginia put away Pittsburgh. The third day of the tournament had the top-ranked UNC Tar Heels beating the Hurricanes and Duke upsetting Louisville with a huge comeback. Florida State eliminated the Virginia Tech and Notre Dame knocked out Virginia to move to the semifinals. Duke upset UNC in the great rivalry game and Notre Dame topped FSU making my championship prediction of UNC vs FSU totally wrong. Instead Duke and Notre Dame will faceoff for the ACC tournament title. Notre Dame put up a fight but could not defeat the Duke Blue Devils who went on to take the ACC tournament title.
The Big Ten is not as impressive this year as they have been in other years. Tomorrow we'll see Penn State vs Nebraska, I'm picking the Nittany Lions and Ohio State vs Rutgers with a Buckeye win. For the second day of games, Michigan will beat Illinois, Penn State will lose to Michigan State, Indiana will upset Iowa but Ohio State will fall to Northwestern. Michigan won't be able to take out Purdue and Michigan State will stop at Minnesota. Indiana will lose to Wisconsin and Northwestern to Maryland. The final four will be Purdue vs Minnesota leaving that to the Boilermakers and Wisconsin vs Maryland with Terrapins taking that game. I'm picking the Purdue Boilermakers to win it all in the Big Ten.
The Big Ten started off with two upsets when Penn State beat Nebraska and Rutgers took down Ohio State, I only managed to predict one. Day two saw Michigan beat Illinois after a plane accident and Penn State's elimination by the Michigan State Spartans in the early afternoon games. Indiana beat Iowa State and Rutgers lost to Northwestern. Day three had Michigan upsetting the top team Purdue, destroying my bracket, and Minnesota taking out Michigan State to make the Golden Gophers my new top pick.Wisconsin beat Indiana as I predicted but Northwestern upset Maryland to go to the semifinals. Minnesota also got upset by Michigan and Wisconsin beat Northwestern. Michigan topped Wisconsin to take the Big-10 tournament title
The Big 12 has some awesome teams this year and it will be an exciting tournament to watch to see who comes out on top. The first games against TCU and Oklahoma will go to TCU and Texas Tech against Texas will go to the technical school Red Raiders. The game of Oklahoma State against Iowa State could be an upset for the Cowboys. Kansas will dispatch TCU like West Virginia will do to Texas Tech. Baylor should get past Kansas State. The final four will be Oklahoma State losing to Kansas and Baylor beating West Virginia. Baylor will lose so that the Kansas Jayhawks will take the Big 12 Championship.
Day one had TCU beating Oklahoma and Texas upsetting Texas Tech. Day two had Iowa State putting away Oklahoma State and TCU coming through with a huge upset over Kansas throwing off my whole bracket for this tournament. West Virgina beat Texas and Baylor was upset by Kansas State. The semifinals had Iowa State beating off TCU and West Virginia eliminating Kansas State. The championship game went to Iowa State Cyclones over West Virginia sealing their spot in the tournament and something that I did not see coming.
The PAC-12 is always hard to watch with their games occurring later in the night with the time difference. I'm taking some wild guesses. For the games tomorrow, I'll pick Stanford to upset Arizona State, California to beat Oregon State, Colorado over Washington State, and USC topping Washington. That makes for Stanford to fall to Oregon, California to lose to Utah, Arizona to best Colorado, and UCLA over USC. The final four of the PAC-12 are predicted by me to be Oregon vs. California and Arizona vs UCLA. I think the championship will be between the one and two teams and Oregon will beat Arizona to make the Oregon Ducks the PAC-12 champions.
On Wednesday, Arizona State beat Stanford, California beat Oregon State, Colorado beat Washington State and USC beat Washington. Thursday began with Oregon eliminating Arizona State. California took out Utah, Arizona beat Colorado and USC fell to UCLA making this bracket my best picks yet with only one mistake. My PAC-12 picks appear to be even more accurate with Oregon beating California and Arizona beating UCLA. In the PAC-12 championship, Oregon defeated Arizona making this my best bracket.
SECThe SEC is the conference that I watch the closest though the teams are not the strongest. I'm saying LSU upsets Mississippi State and Auburn over Missouri in the early games. The next day I'm picking Georgia over Tennessee, Alabama over LSU, Vanderbilt over Texas A&M, and Auburn upsetting Ole Miss. Kentucky will cruise past Georgia and face Alabama who will upset South Carolina. Florida will beat Vanderbilt in revenge and Arkansas will stop Auburn's run. Florida and Kentucky will face off in teh championship and I'm picking the Kentucky Wildcats for the SEC champions.
The SEC tournament began with Missippi State knocking off LSU and Auburn losing to Missouri, both of my predictions were wrong. Georgia upset Tennessee in the second round and Alabama beat Missippi State putting me back on track. Vanderbilt beat Texas A&M and Ole Miss eliminated Missouri. The quarterfinals started with Kentucky beating Georgia and Alabama upsetting South Carolina. Vanderbilt had beaten Florida twice in the regular season and did the same in the tournament. Arkansas stayed on top of Ole Miss to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinal, Kentucky beat Alabama and Arkansas beat Vanderbilt. The final between Arkansas and Kentucky went to the Wildcats.
Last year, I had time to make an individual post for each tournament but I've found this is a better way to compress it. What I will do is post the updated results after my pick for the winner and call myself out for my awful predictions. Looking forward to watching tournament basketball in anticipation for the true March Madness.