Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

Zach Hampu

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

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Midwest Bracket Predictions

First Round

North Carolina vs Iona

Both teams have a fast-paced offense but North Carolina is a great team.  I don’t see a chance of an upset here.

Prediction: North Carolina

Utah State vs Washington

Utah State has a great duo of Sam Merrill and Neemias Queta.  Merrill is an experienced offensive leader that can shoot the three and Queta is a talented rim protector with NBA potential.

Washington’s head coach Mike Hopkins brought the 2-3 zone to Washington from Syracuse and the Huskies have a strong defense.  Matisse Thybulle is one of the best defensive players in the country and part of their balanced scoring attack.

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South Bracket Predictions

First Round

Virginia vs Gardner Webb

Not happening again.

Prediction: Virginia

Ole Miss vs Oklahoma

Ole Miss has lost five of their last seven and KenPom likes the Sooners more.  I expect a close game with an intriguing guard matchup of Christian James and Breein Tyree.

Oklahoma has a good defense and I don’t think the Rebels will ever get it going offensively.

Prediction: Oklahoma

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Zach Hampu’s Full East Region Bracket Predictions

First Round

Duke vs NC Central/North Dakota State

I really don’t see a plausible scenario in which Duke could possibly lose this game.

Prediction: Duke

VCU vs UCF

UCF has gotten some attention in the last couple weeks but VCU is by far the better team. Despite an A10 tournament loss to Rhode Island, VCU is really good.  They dominated the A10 in the regular season and they have KenPom’s 7th best defense.

Prediction: VCU

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Players who can carry their team in the NCAA Tournament

When I think about March Madness, memories of watching guys like Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette carry their team on tournament runs always come to mind.  It’s one of the most interesting narratives in the tournament-one guy putting the team on his back, especially offensively, and willing them to victories.  Everyone loves watching a hero, here are this year’s candidates to play that role.

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