March Madness Matchups

Here are our predictions for the tournament


Jacob Rice on Unsplashed

Kicking off on March 16, March Madness is sure to be jam-packed with nail-biting matchups.

March Madness is finally here, with the first round of 64 games starting Thursday, March 16. For the first time in years, there is no overwhelming favorite in this tournament. 

With the last two tournaments riddled with Cinderella stories and upsets galore, there’s no telling what may happen in these next few weeks, but we’ve got everything you need to know to win your bracket pool. 

Let’s start in the South, where the number 1 overall seed, Alabama, lies. The Crimson Tide finished the season 29-5, steam-rolling through the regular season. Led by Brandon Miller, who averages close to 20 points per game, Alabama hopes to continue their reign of terror. 

As for upsets, look for the College of Charleston and Furman to give San Diego State and Virginia trouble. Both teams excel at 3-point shooting and, if they get hot, they’re capable of coming out on top.

North Carolina State, led by Terquavion Smith, has lots of firepower with the chance to make a deep run, if they get past the difficult 6 seed Creighton. Utah State should also give Missouri all they can handle in a game that could go either way.

In the second round, the winner of the Creighton/North Carolina State game will play 3 seed Baylor, in another tossup game. That’s a common trend in this year’s tournament, which makes it so hard to predict the upsets that will occur.

Onto the sweet 16, Creighton once again has a chance to advance — this time by beating Arizona — but we can expect the Blue Jays to end their run there.

In the Elite 8, Alabama looks strong, so they’ll be the first team to go to the Final Four in Houston.

Next we have the East, headlined by Purdue, who controversially beat Texas and UCLA to get the final 1 seed. The Boilermakers have a tough draw ahead of them against 8 seed Memphis, who just upset Houston on Sunday and stands in their way in the next round should they advance.

Duke comes into the tournament riding high with an ACC title and a 9-game winning streak. Despite this, the Blue Devils got very unlucky, falling to a 5 seed and having to face red-hot Oral Roberts University in the first round. If Oral Roberts hits their shots and Duke overlooks them, this is another game with lots of upset potential.

March Madness kicks off March 16 (Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash)

After losing to underdog 15 seed St. Peter’s last year, Kentucky has their hands full again, this time with 11 seed Providence. Providence struggled to end the year, but they’ve shown glimpses of greatness throughout the season. This is another 50/50 game that could go down to the wire.

Not quite as much upset potential lies in the next round. Memphis is capable of beating Purdue, and Providence/Kentucky will be in prime position to knock off Kansas State. In the Elite 8, Duke and Marquette are our picks to advance, with Duke joining Alabama in the Final Four.

The Midwest is led by Houston, a team considered by many to be the best in the nation, until they were upset by Memphis in the conference tournament. Moreover, Houston may be without star guard Marcus Sasser, who went down with injury in the team’s game Saturday.

Drake and Kent State are once again very dangerous teams, both looking to give Miami and Indiana more than they can handle. Indiana, led by star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, however, should be able to overpower Kent State.

Pittsburgh, who won their first four games on Tuesday, hopes to ride their momentum into their game against Iowa State, who’s been very inconsistent this year. Right below them, Texas A&M and Penn State duel in a game considered by many to be the best matchup of the first round. The winner of this game will face Texas in yet another game that could go either way.

Miami or Indiana, and even possibly Drake, will give Houston a massive challenge, but look for the Cougars to keep up their great form and advance to the Elite 8. Waiting for them there should be Texas, who matches up well with Houston and is our pick to move to the final four.

Finally, the West, the region with arguably the least upset potential. VCU could upset St. Mary’s, and 10 seed Boise State comes in as favorites against Northwestern. Besides that, there’s not much.

A predictable Sweet 16 should follow, with all the top 4 seeds advancing. UConn should give Kansas a battle, with Gonzaga and UCLA facing off in a rematch of the 2021 Final Four. UCLA is riddled with injuries, but their strength should be too much for Gonzaga and UConn, sending them to the Final Four.

In Houston, with just four teams left, Duke’s streak will fall to Alabama, who hasn’t made it to the Final Four since 1930. Last year they were the number two seed but lost in their third game to the 11 seed UCLA Bruins in an upset.

The other semifinal will take place between UCLA and Texas as they face off in a practically-even matchup, but UCLA’s injuries competing against Texas’ great form will push the Longhorns through to the final. With just Texas standing between them and the championship, we predict Alabama will cut down the nets and win it all.