For many hoops fans, March is the most wonderful time of the year, and this year is no different. Selection Sunday is now in the rearview mirror and we have the next few days to fill out brackets that will be busted by some point on the third day.
Last year, UMBC became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed when they took down top-ranked Virginia. This year, Virginia is a No. 1 seed again and will be looking to redeem what may have been the most embarrassing loss in NCAA history.
Duke’s Zion Williamson returned from a knee injury during the ACC tournament, helping lead the Blue Devils to win over North Carolina and Virginia to claim the title. All three teams are No. 1 seeds in their respective regions. The fourth No. 1 seed went to Gonzaga, one of the few mid-majors that has seen sustained success among the huge programs over the years and will look to have a decent showing in this year’s tournament.
If you’re looking for some potential upsets in the first round, you might want to take a look at No. 12 Oregon. This was a Top 10 team early in the season and has become one of the best defensive teams in the country as of late. The Ducks just won the Pac-12 Tournament and will be a tough matchup for No. 5 Wisconsin. No. 13 UC Irvine is one of the hottest teams in the country and will enter the tourney on a 16-game win streak. No. 4 Kansas State will be without senior Dean Wade, who is still in a walking boot. Wade is one of the country’s best players and could potentially miss the game with a foot injury.
The actual NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 22, but there will be play-in games beginning on Tuesday, March 20.