The brackets have been set. The face paint is on. The mascots are rearing to perform. Yes, it’s time for March Madness. The annual NCAA college basketball championship tournament starts today. Thousands of permutations and combinations abound — no pundit in the history of the tournament has ever completed a perfect bracket. But the sports staff here at The Gateway are trying anyways. Here are our picks for which team is going to take it all.Max Lutz
With the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament about to kick off, the University of Connecticut Huskies are riding into the competition brimming with confidence. They are fresh off being crowned victors of the Big East tournament. And the Huskies, led by brilliant junior guard Kemba Walker, solidified their place as one of the premiere contenders at this year’s NCAA March Madness through the arduous journey they have taken to get there.
After a less than stellar regular season saw the Huskies go 9–9 in conference action, and a starting line-up that doesn’t include a single senior, Connecticut had plenty of doubters scoffing at the team’s chance to even make the big dance. However, the Big East proved to be a critical launching pad in the Huskies journey to this year’s March Madness.
Star guard Kemba Walker set a tournament record with 130 points and lead his team through the marathon tournament to win five straight games against powerhouse teams like Pittsburgh, and Louisville. In the Big East semi-final against Syracuse, Walker single handedly notched an astonishing 33 points and 12 rebounds.
The Huskies exemplify all the qualities a team needs to win the tournament; a strong, committed defence, an experienced and savvy coach, and an NBA prospect in Walker. All of this will surely lead the Blue and White to a national victory.Matt Hirji
March Madness is all about the crowd — the atmosphere surrounding the hardwood as the thump of the ball rings out its repetitive song. Fans can make or break a run to the national championship banner.
Their loud cheers can change the momentum of a game, and in March Madness that could be the difference between a team cutting down the mesh or going home empty-handed. For that reason, my pick this year is the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
Hailing from Athens, Georgia, the Bulldogs are a 10th-ranked team heading into the tournament. But they have another ranking in their pocket that’ll catapult them to a NCAA championship this year. The Princeton Review recently awarded the University of Georgia this year’s number-one party school — something that represents the student body’s brazen disregard for academics to show the pride they have for their school.
When it comes to binge drinking, tailgate parties, and inebriated school spirit, Georgia can’t be beat. So it’s only safe to assume that Bulldogs fans will come out in full force and catapult their varsity basketball team to triumph over the competition this month.Justin Bell
There’s one reason, and one reason alone, so many people tune in to March Madness — the underdog.
And taking on the role this year is a team whose mascot is, aptly enough, a Terrier. Boston University will take on Kansas on Friday in what is being predicted will be a huge blowout. By any metric, the Kansas Jayhawks will dominate in Tulsa and embarrass the Terriers.
But we all love to dream. And that’s why I think the Terriers will come out ahead. The team has won 11 straight games, including a close 56-54 victory in the America East conference to send them into the tournament.
They now face a team that dominated the Big 12 and has one of the strongest backcourts in the country. Even at the head coach position, Kansas holds the advantage. Bill Shelf has made it to 13 tournaments, while Boston’s Patrick Chambers has only been at the helm for two years.
But it’d be great to see the Terriers buck the trend and come out strong, playing with heart even though they know the odds are against them. Watch for the upset victory on Friday afternoon.Alix Kemp
If the Democratic Party has taught me anything it’s to always agree with Barack Obama. So it only makes sense to follow his guidance when making my picks in March Madness.
This week the Commander-in-Chief filled out this year’s bracket, picking the number-one ranked Kansas Jayhawks to cut down the mesh at the end of the NCAA tournament.
Compared to his domestic policy, the President isn’t taking much of a risk on this one. The Jayhawks have been a powerhouse team for years.
And even if our dear leader were incorrect, I would rather not go on trial for high treason.