By Dan Leach — Twitter @DanLeach971
Let the Madness begin!
In what should be one of the craziest NCAA tourneys in recent memory — filled with parity and what will be a ton of great games and upsets, here are a couple pointers direct from the official Dan Leach Space Coat Bracket.
This is the Zags year to get to the Final Four for the first time in program history
They might not play in a very tough conference top to bottom, but this Zags team can do it all. Their inside outside game is on par with anyone in the country and their defense will be the difference in taking down a super tough Arizona team in the Elite 8.
Nova will make the title game again.
There is no more balanced team than the Wildcats and they know what it takes to make a deep run. Look for Kris Jenkins and company to get all the way back to the national title game where they won in epic OT fashion last year over UNC.
HOW FAR WILL MICHIGAN STATE GO? – Let’s be honest, even the most ardent Spartan fan can’t be that excited about MSU’s chances as the tourney begins. Michigan State has been about as inconsistent as a Spartan team has been in years, and are lucky to just get into the tourney with 14 losses. Miami is beatable, but the Canes will have too much on both ends of the floor, giving MSU its second first round exit in as many years. Yes, Tom Izzo can always create some March magic, but this year’s team and Izzo himself just don’t seem like what we are used to up in East Lansing.
Leach NCAA Bracket (pdf)
HOW FAR WILL MICHIGAN GO? – No one saw the Wolverines winning four games in four days to cut down the nets in the B1G tourney, especially after what happened to them when their plane skidded off the runway on their way to D.C. Not that the kids needed extra motivation, but it definitely brought them even closer together and they played with such a love of the game and a fancy-free style, that even some MSU fans were cheering them on.
If Michigan can get past a tough Oklahoma State team in the opening round and get to the rematch with Louisville, they have enough talent with senior guard Derrick Walton Jr., who’s playing out of his mind, and fellow senior Zak Irvin starting to drain shots from everywhere, along with their solid 1-3-1 D to go on a serious deep run.
Michigan is a Top 5 efficient offense in the country and that is going to lead them to an Elite 8 appearance in a year where back in January some though they might not even make the NCAA tournament. It has been a hell of a turnaround and the magic has a great chance to continue deep into March.
DTM UPSET PICKS
VERMONT – The Catamounts have won 21 straight and get matched up with a Purdue team that has shown weakness late in the season.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE – The Blue Raiders will do it again (Cue Spartan fans nightmares), and knock off a B1G team for the second year in a row in the opening round as they get a Minnesota team that is very talented, but not playing their best basketball over the past two weeks and are prime to be taken down by an explosive MTSU squad.
FLORIDA GULF COAST– No one can forget the Dunk City run a couple years ago when they knocked off Georgetown on the way to the Sweet Sixteen. Well now its Dunk City Vs Capitol City in the first round this year, (like that was by accident), the Noles have been unimpressive for a while now and will become another big FGCU victim in round one.
WHO WILL CUT DOWN THE NET —– KANSAS
The Jayhawks led by do-everything Josh Jackson, will just be too much to handle in the end, and will cut down the nets for the 4th time in program history after beating Nova in yet another OT epic title game.