by: Andrew Berman
March 28, 2019
The first weekend of the NCAA tournament is over now, and it was awful. There were only 3 close game: 2 involving Maryland, and one of those unfortunately went against Maryland. Tremont Waters of LSU hit a layup with just over a second to go after a missed travel call nullified a 15 point comeback by Maryland. Duke barely survived the 7’6 monster, Tacko Fall, and UCF, by getting an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and putting it backup with 8 seconds left. Classic Duke. Now down to 16 teams and 1 perfect bracket, the longest a perfect bracket has existed. Following is a guide to the rest of the tournament:
The Sweet 16 begins Thursday with Florida State University vs Gonzaga, Purdue vs Tennessee, Texas Tech vs Michigan and Oregon vs Virginia. These games are not expected to be that entertaining compared to other years’ Sweet 16s as I expect the higher seeds to continue the standard they have been competing at and win when expected. Gonzaga is way too big for FSU to guard. Purdue is the most one sided team remaining and rely on one streaky player to score 30 points or 10 points a game, Carsen Edwards. Oregon’s cinderella run, that a lot of people expected, is most definitely coming to an end with Virginia’s annoying defense and fundamental offense. Texas Tech Vs. Michigan, however, should be a great game. Texas Tech is led by a top 10 projected pick in this years NBA draft, sophomore, Jarrett Culver, and a lot of role players that fit around him perfectly to form a dangerous 3 seed. Michigan got a favorable seeding after losing to Michigan State 3 times this season and only a few quality road wins, with a 2 seed in the weakest region. Led by Big Ten freshman of the year, Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan is back winning again – like they always do in March. Among the top 2 brackets left on the ESPN bracket challenge, Michigan advances past the Red Raiders; However, Jarrett Culver will be too much for Michigan to handle and Texas Tech will win.
LSU is playing without their head coach, Will Wade, due to an indefinite suspension after the FBI launched an investigation into their program for paying players to go there. They have drawn three 5 star recruits from abnormal recruiting areas from the team, and the FBI has gained evidence of them compensating Javonte Smart, 4 star recruit, for coming to LSU, against NCAA rules of amateurism. They take on #2 seed Michigan State on Sunday, and if you hate the NCAA and what they stand for, root for LSU. However, if you hate cheaters MSU is your team and they should be able to run LSU out of the building with their systematic offense and elite coaching. MSU is also the biggest betting favorites for the sweet 16, opening at -8. Other games on Friday include, Auburn Vs. University of North Carolina, which UNC will win by double digits, of course. As expected Duke will destroy VT in all 40 minutes coming off a disappointing game, and Houston Vs. Kentucky, which should be an awesome game and can go either way. I think Kentucky’s youth will hurt them and Houston will come out victorious in a nail biter.
On Saturday and Sunday, the final 8 battle it out for a spot in the final four. I think that Michigan State, Texas Tech, Houston and Tennessee will be those four, but I am the same guy that had Maryland, eliminated in round of 32, in the final four. Tennessee vs Houston will be great fun as two experienced teams battle it out after disappointing ends to last season. Tennessee is the better team overall and would win that. MSU and Texas Tech is college type players vs role players and one NBA talent in Jarrett Culver. It could go either way, but for the sake of the review, Texas Tech would win – Leaving a Texas Tech vs Tennessee Championship where I believe Grant Williams, Admiral Scholfield and Jordan Bone of Tennessee will be too much for Jarrett Culver to overcome and will lead Tennessee to a 78-72 win for the national championship in what seems like the most boring NCAA tournament ever.