With about 48 hours left until tip-off of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, many questions are still floating around of who may be the favorites and bracket busters of this year’s tournament. In this article, the West and East regions will be analyzed to see who the favorites are and which upsets are likely.
Teams to Watch: 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs, 5 Wisconsin Badgers, 6 Arizona Wildcats
Many analysts find Gonzaga (AP No. 1) to have the most likely shot besides Louisville to win the tournament. I don’t believe that this is the case. Gonzaga comes out of the West Coast Conference, a relatively weak conference that doesn’t show for itself not nearly as much as the SEC, ACC, and Big East do. Gonzaga doesn’t have any key wins to show for either. The team ranked highest in the tournament that the Bulldogs beat is 4 Kansas State in the West region. Sure they beat teams from prominent conferences, but the most of the teams they did beat from these conferences did not even make the tournament (Baylor, Washington State, Clemson, and West Virginia just to name some.) I say Gonzaga makes the Sweet Sixteen, but will be halted there, by the 5 Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers are coming off of a loss to Ohio State, the number 2 seed in this same West region, in the Big Ten Championship. But they do have something to build momentum off of as they defeated the Indiana Hooisers, the favorites to win the Big Ten title. I feel that the Badgers can go farther than most think, as I have them going to the Elite Eight. I feel that the winner of the West region will be 6 Arizona. Although they are coming from somewhat of an early exit in the Pac-12 Tournament, I feel that they should have their prowess from earlier in the season when the tournament comes around.
Teams to Watch: 1 Indiana Hooisers, 2 Miami Hurricanes, 6 Butler Bulldogs
You probably don’t even have to watch college basketball regularly to know that Butler is bound to make a run in this tourney. Coming into the tournament for the first time since joining the Atlantic 10 after making a move from the Horizon League, Brad Stevens’ crew will easily cruise to the Sweet Sixteen, and possibly further with some luck. The Hooisers came in this year as the Preseason No. 1. Expectations were set high and they played the way they were written off as for the most part. They did lose in the Big Ten Championship earlier than expected, but this team lead by Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo should make a run to at least the Elite Eight. Now the team that I have stopping both of these teams on their tracks is the red hot Miami Hurricanes, fresh off of winning the ACC title. Miami was not supposed to be anywhere near this good. They were not even slated to make the field of 68 when writers and analysts made their preseason predictions. The ‘Canes literally came out of nowhere and started to receive the national attention that they deserved once they embarrassed then No. 1 Duke at home when they beat them by almost 30 points and put on a slam dunk show back in late January. The Hurricanes have been on fire since then en route to their first No. 1 ranking in school history. This squad lead by Shane Larkin, son of Baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin,could easily win it all if they keep focused and have momentum on their side. Miami is most definitely my favorite to win the East region.
Follow Us on Twitter: @BigPlayTweets