Key storylines drive March Madness


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The March Madness NCAA tournament is the highlight of the college basketball season.

Cody Flavell, Staff Writer

The calendar has flipped to March and conference tournaments have ended. Thus, March Madness ensues – and it all starts today.

Every year, college basketball teams go through the regular-season grind with a goal to be one of 68 teams selected to play in the NCAA Tournament.

In 2016, North Carolina and Villanova had one of the most exciting championship games in recent memory. The scoring went back and forth over the final 4:30. North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit an off-balance three-pointer to tie the game with 4.7 seconds left. Villanova’s Kris Jenkins took a pass from Ryan Arcidiacono and buried a three at the buzzer to win it for Villanova.

Both teams are on top of their respective regions in 2017.

In the Eastern Region, Villanova, Duke, and Baylor are the top three teams. All three beat strong teams to land those top spots. Number 10 seed Marquette and 12 seed UNC Wilmington seem to be the likeliest upsets in this region. If all goes according to plan on this side, Villanova comes out as the winner in this region. They are entering the tournament as the overall Number 1 seed.

The West Region is considered to be the easiest road for the top teams, which include Gonzaga, Arizona, and Florida State. Gonzaga has only lost one game all season, but many people consider them unworthy of that Number 1 spot due to the quality of their opponents. Their loss was to BYU, a team that is not in the tournament. Arizona seems like an odds-on favorite to come out of this region. They’ve got some lights-out shooters and can beat anyone in this region.

The Midwest Region seems like a candidate to be the one with the most upsets. With Kansas, Louisville, and Oregon claiming the top three spots, it wouldn’t be shocking to see at least two of these teams upset before the elite eight. Michigan is a surging team as of late and assuming they beat Oklahoma State in round one, they likely will find themselves in a matchup with Louisville that Michigan can win. It’s likely Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks come out of this side. They’re the region’s Number 1 team and if Michigan pulls off the Louisville upset, Kansas’ road gets that much easier.

The South Region is loaded this season. The top three seeds are North Carolina, Kentucky and UCLA. UCLA’s Lonzo Ball has been a hot topic this season as his dad has been very vocal about his son’s potential stardom in the NBA. This could serve as a distraction for Ball and UCLA. Despite the strong teams and upsets that could happen, it wouldn’t shock anyone if Kentucky came out of this side taking down last year’s runner-up, North Carolina.

This would lead to a final four of Villanova vs. Arizona and Kansas vs. Kentucky.

Villanova, the best overall team in the bracket, is just a solid all-around team. They should beat a very good Arizona squad by a close margin.

Kentucky is always a team that finds a way to win big games and this year will be no different. Watch for their star shooting guard, Malik Monk, to carry them all the way to a championship, beating Kansas and then Villanova in the final game, earning the opportunity to cut the nets down.