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West Bracket and Final Four Predictions

First Round

Gonzaga vs Farleigh Dickinson

Farleigh Dickinson had a nice win in the First Four but now they run into a team that is, in my opinion, the best team in college basketball.

Prediction: Gonzaga

Syracuse vs Baylor

This game is a toss up but Syracuse’s zone causes a lot of problems in the tournament and the Orange are better coached.

Prediction: Syracuse

Marquette vs Murray State

Marquette is not exactly playing their best basketball entering the tournament.  They’ve lost five of their last six games.

This will be one of the most picked upsets of the tournament and rightfully so.  I think Murray State’s Ja Morant will live up to the hype on this huge stage and lead Murray State to a win.

Prediction: Murray State

Florida State vs Vermont

I think this Florida State team is incredibly overrated.  They have nothing resembling a half-court offense and rely very heavily on their athleticism.  However, Vermont just doesn’t have the athleticism to keep up and doesn’t have much of a chance if Florida State can run at all.

Prediction: Florida State

Buffalo vs Arizona State

Arizona State just isn’t very good.  They were 22-10 on the season and that is inflated by playing in a historically bad Pac 12.

Buffalo, on the other hand, is very good.  They are 31-3 and have won 12 straight.  The Bulls are good on offense and defense and have three strong offensive threats in C.J. Massinburg, Nick Perkins, and Jeremy Harris.

Prediction: Buffalo

Texas Tech vs Northern Kentucky

Northern Kentucky is nothing special and Texas Tech has the best defense in the nation.  I see Northern Kentucky had a very tough time scoring and a strong showing from Jarrett Culver.

Prediction: Texas Tech

Nevada vs Florida

Most sportsbooks have Nevada as a 2 point favorite.  The Wolf Pack has been volatile over the last couple weeks and this game all depends on how Nevada plays, there isn’t much Florida can do to change the outcome.

If good Nevada shows up it’s a win for Nevada, if bad Nevada shows up then you’ll see Florida in the second round.

Prediction: Nevada

Michigan vs Montana

Michigan is a really good team unless there is an absolute total catastrophe they’ll move on.

Prediction: Michigan

Second Round

Gonzaga vs Syracuse

Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone may cause problems in the tournament, but Gonzaga will not be affected by it.  Gonzaga shoots and moves the ball very well and shouldn’t have any difficulty with the zone or Syracuse’s offense.

Prediction: Gonzaga

Murray State vs Florida State

Ja Morant is a great player but he won’t be enough.  Florida State will get out and run again and pull away from the Racers.  Murray State also doesn’t have a big man to match up with Christ Koumadje and Mfiondu Kabengele.

Prediction: Florida State

Buffalo vs Texas Tech

Both are great teams but Buffalo is more balanced.  Texas Tech has a very tough time winning games when Jarrett Culver isn’t hitting shots and I think Buffalo will key on him defensively.

Prediction: Buffalo

Nevada vs Michigan

Nevada certainly has the ability to pull off this upset.  They’re one of, if not the most experienced college basketball teams of all time and have several potential NBA players.

However, Michigan is extremely tough on the defensive end and will give Nevada a lot of problems.  Even if Nevada does play like they are capable of, I’ll take Michigan.

Prediction: Michigan

Sweet Sixteen

Gonzaga vs Florida State

As I said earlier, Florida State is very overrated and rely on being more athletic than the other team to win games.  This may work against Vermont and Murray State but Gonzaga is a great team and will easily advance past the Seminoles.

Prediction: Gonzaga

Buffalo vs Michigan

Michigan is a really good team but they have some pretty sizable flaws.  They can’t run in transition and they aren’t great from behind the three-point line to name a couple.  If Buffalo can exploit these they’ll advance to the Elite Eight.

Prediction: Buffalo

Elite Eight

Gonzaga vs Buffalo

Buffalo definitely has the ability to beat the other teams in their way up to this point but Gonzaga is a really great team.  Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke are two of the most efficient players in college basketball and they’ve got good shooters around them.  I don’t think Buffalo, or anyone else, can stop the Bulldogs.

Prediction: Gonzaga

Final Four

Michigan State vs Gonzaga

Michigan State can get by Duke but Gonzaga does not have the same offensive flaws.  Not that many teams do, but the Spartans don’t have anyone to match up with Rui Hachimura.

Josh Perkins will have his hands full with Cassius Winston but if he can contain him the Zags will be in good shape.  Gonzaga has the best offense in the country and the Spartans will have a very tough time slowing them down.

Prediction: Gonzaga

Virginia vs Wofford

If anyone can stop the Wofford offense it’s Virginia.  KenPom’s 2nd ranked defense will slow the game way down and use their methodical style of play to advance to the National Championship.

Prediction: Virginia

National Championship

Gonzaga vs Virginia

This would be the two best teams in college basketball going at it in a great game.  Killian Tillie’s return from a couple weeks ago will play a big role as the Zags have yet another offensive threat back in the fold.

I think Zach Norvell Jr. will have a great game and lead Gonzaga offensively but the Rui Hachimura-De’Andre Hunter matchup is beyond exciting.  Hachimura and Hunter are both athletic forwards with lottery potential.  Also, if Josh Perkins can get into the lane and distribute on either Kyle Guy or Ty Jerome the Cavaliers will have a tough time.

Both teams move the ball and shoot the ball very well.  Gonzaga will likely try and speed Virginia up but even if Virginia has it their way I think the Bulldogs can pull out the win.

These are the two best and most complete teams in college basketball and I really hope they meet in the championship.  They are both well coached and are very good on both ends of the floor.  I think the edge goes to Gonzaga though.  They’re a hair better offensively and less reliant on the three.

Prediction: Gonzaga

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