Complete NCAA March Madness Predictions!

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By hcostats
Mar. 16, 2017

Round of 64

East Region

1 Villanova vs 16 Mount St. Mary's: A 16-seed has never beaten a 1-seed and I don't expect the defending champs to be the first to ever go down in the first round.  Winner: Villanova

8 Wisconsin vs 9 Virginia Tech: Wisconsin is slightly under-seeded and Virginia Tech has a mere 3-6 record against RPI top-50 teams.  The Badgers are getting more hype than they probably deserve, but they should win this one.  Winner: Wisconsin

5 Virginia vs 12 UNC Wilmington: Virginia's offense has definitely had its troubles scoring the basketball.  They may have a smothering defense, but UNC Wilmington is the 27th-ranked RPI team, making them one of the best mid-major teams in the tourney.  Let the madness begin.  Winner: UNC Wilmington

4 Florida vs 13 East Tennessee State: The Gators are a popular pick to be upset, but I'm not buying it.  I know they're 3-3 since John Ebugnu tore his ACL, but those losses were to Kentucky and twice against a tricky-good Vanderbilt squad.  Winner: Florida

6 SMU vs 11 USC: The Trojans looked solid as they pulled off a 17-point comeback to get into the bracket.  But I doubt they have enough left in the tank to take down a red-hot SMU team.  Winner: SMU

3 Baylor vs 14 New Mexico State: Baylor is one of the coldest teams in the tournament, and the Aggies are only a 5-loss team.  Baylor seems to always be good for a surprising first-round exit as well.  Winner: New Mexico State

7 South Carolina vs 10 Marquette: South Carolina is a great defensive team, but they can't buy a bucket on offense.  I wouldn't be shocked if PJ Dozier steps up and captures a win, but I'm leaning towards the Golden Eagles here.  Winner: Marquette

2 Duke vs 15 Troy: Duke has caught fire at the right time, and they were fortunate to get a very weak first-round opponent.  I don't see the Blue Devils having any problems here.  Winner: Duke

West Region

1 Gonzaga vs 16 South Dakota State: The Zags are primed for a championship run, and this game should serve as a warm-up for the rest of the tournament.  South Dakota State is probably the best 16-seed, however, so don't be surprised if they make things interesting in the first half.  Winner: Gonzaga

8 Northwestern vs 9 Vanderbilt: The Wildcats have gotten a lot of credit for making their first tournament appearance, but I think the Commodores will win this one.  Northwestern has won just 5 games in their last 12.  Winner: Vanderbilt

5 Notre Dame vs 12 Princeton: This matchup is more interesting than people are leading on.  Princeton has won 19 straight games after starting the year 4-6.  However, I like the Irish to avoid the upset after making an appearance in the ACC title game.  Winner: Notre Dame

4 West Virginia vs 13 Bucknell: West Virginia is a strong offensive team, and I'm just not impressed with Bucknell at all.  I like the Mountaineers in a blowout here.  Winner: West Virginia

6 Maryland vs 11 Xavier: Both of these teams are cold as ice right now.  Xavier has struggled to beat top-25 talent this year.  However, some games just don't go the way you'd expect.  Winner: Xavier

3 Florida State vs 14 Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles are another team that people are liking for an upset, but I'm not seeing why.  Not that they're bad, but the Seminoles have played well against lower-level talent.  Winner: Florida State

7 Saint Mary's vs 10 VCU: Saint Mary's only has 4 losses on the year, and 3 of them are to Gonzaga.  VCU is a worthy opponent, but the Gaels should have the confidence to advance.  Winner: Saint Mary's

2 Arizona vs 15 North Dakota: Arizona is one of the tournament favorites, and I expect them to at least get out of the first round.  But don't sleep on North Dakota, who have won 10 of their last 11 and have 19-point scorer in Quinton Hooker.  Winner: Arizona

Midwest Region

1 Kansas vs 16 UC Davis: Kansas has an electrifying offense with a good combination of veterans and young talent.  UC Davis just played a hard-fought game that went down to the wire, so I don't picture them having the energy to compete with the Jayhawks.  Winner: Kansas

8 Miami (FL) vs 9 Michigan State: With an RPI ranking of 51 and a BPI ranking of 44, it's a complete mystery as to how Michigan State got a 9-seed.  They are a solid team with good potential, but they haven't displayed a whole lot of promise so far.  Winner: Miami (FL)

5 Iowa State vs 12 Nevada: Nevada is maybe the best team seeded lower than 11.  Iowa State actually looks like a good tournament team after taking the Big 12 tourney title, but their recent success may blind them to how dangerous the Wolfpack is.  Winner: Nevada

4 Purdue vs 13 Vermont: Vermont has a great defense and Purdue has a talented offense, so this one will be interesting.  A lot of people are picking the Catamounts, but I think Caleb Swanigan is too good to lose in the first game.  Winner: Purdue

6 Creighton vs 11 Rhode Island: Rhode Island has a 3-1 mark against top-25 teams, and Creighton has only won 7 of their last 15.  Don't forget, Rhode Island was ranked as high as #21 earlier in the season.  Winner: Rhode Island

3 Oregon vs 14 Iona: The Ducks may have some injury issues, but Iona is nothing to worry about.  I expect Dillon Brooks to take over and lead Oregon on.  Winner: Oregon

7 Michigan vs 10 Oklahoma State: Michigan is the favorite here after making an incredible run to a Big Ten championship.  However, Jawun Evans and the Cowboys' offense is primed for a tourney win, and Michigan doesn't have the star power to respond.  Winner: Oklahoma State

2 Louisville vs 15 Jacksonville State: Jacksonville State is a weak offensive team and the Cardinals have a solid offense.  This one should be no sweat for Coach Pitino and company.  Winner: Louisville

South Region

1 North Carolina vs 16 Texas Southern: The Tigers have no chance against a stacked UNC team, but Trae Jefferson sure is a fun player to watch despite only being 5'7".  Winner: North Carolina

8 Arkansas vs 9 Seton Hall: Arkansas is a great offensive team and they are playing well right now.  Both teams struggle against top-25 teams, but that isn't a factor in this round.  Winner: Arkansas

5 Minnesota vs 12 Middle Tennessee: This game is high on everyone's upset list, as it should be.  But there's usually one underdog team that gets everyone drinking the Kool-Aid for nothing.  Winner: Minnesota

4 Butler vs 13 Winthrop: Butler had a good start to the season, but they have been struggling as of late.  I know they've beaten Villanova twice, but they've also lost to 3 different non-tournament teams, including an 11-20 Indiana State team.  My upset senses are tingling.  Winner: Winthrop

6 Cincinnati vs 11 Kansas State: Since expanding the field to 68 teams, there has been a play-in team advancing to the Round of 32 every year.  Cincinnati is a good team, but Kansas State should be confident after taking down John Collins and Wake Forest.  Winner: Kansas State

3 UCLA vs 14 Kent State: UCLA is the only 3-seed that I think is completely untouchable this round.  It isn't just that they have several NBA-ready players, but Kent State is ranked 143rd in RPI as well.  Winner: UCLA

7 Dayton vs 10 Wichita State: Wichita State could not have been more severely under-seeded.  After seeing them as a 10-seed and Illinois State not in at all, it's clear how the committee feels about the MVC.  Anyways, the Shockers are the better team here despite their seed.  Winner: Wichita State

2 Kentucky vs 15 Northern Kentucky: Kentucky has championship-level talent, but they were unable to find consistency for most of the year.  Now, however, the Wildcats have won 11 in a row and should be feared by all other teams.  Winner: Kentucky

Round of 32

East Region

1 Villanova vs 8 Wisconsin: This will be a good defensive clash as both teams hold their opponents to less than 63 a game.  The difference will be in Villanova's offensive attack led by Josh Hart.  The Wildcats will advance.  Winner: Villanova

4 Florida vs 12 UNC Wilmington: For anyone looking to pick a 12-seed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, you should probably stop.  In the last 5 years, only 1 12-seed has won in the Round of 32.  Good luck to the Seahawks.  Winner: Florida

6 SMU vs 14 New Mexico State: New Mexico State is a talented team, but they only have 1 upset in them.  SMU has too much talent to be taken out by a 14-seed.  Winner: SMU

2 Duke vs 10 Marquette: Marquette has struggled against top-25 teams all year, posting a 1-4 record against ranked opponents.  Duke's recent hot streak will be enough for the Blue Devils to roll here.  Winner: Duke

West Region

1 Gonzaga vs 9 Vanderbilt: I was originally leaning towards an upset here, but Gonzaga is just too good on both ends of the floor to not be in the Sweet Sixteen.  It's too bad Vanderbilt can't just play Florida every round.  Winner: Gonzaga

4 West Virginia vs 5 Notre Dame: This is an intriguing matchup.  Notre Dame has a mere 4-8 mark against top-25 teams, but that record was at 1-6 before improving to 3-2 over their last 5 challenges.  Winner: Notre Dame

3 Florida State vs 11 Xavier: Xavier has won just 3 of their last 10 games and has a 1-6 record against top-25 teams.  The Noles should roll to an easy win here.  Winner: Florida State

2 Arizona vs 7 Saint Mary's: The Gaels are a very good team, but I just don't think they've played enough strong opponents to be prepared for this game.  The only ranked team they've played all year is Gonzaga, and they lost all 3 games to the Bulldogs by an average of 17 points.  Winner: Arizona

Midwest Region

1 Kansas vs 8 Miami (FL): Miami's defense will present some issues for the Jayhawks' offense.  That being said, the Hurricanes are just 3-8 against ranked opponents compared to Kansas' 6-2 mark.  Winner: Kansas

4 Purdue vs 12 Nevada: As I mentioned earlier, 12-seeds usually don't fare well in this round, so I like Purdue here.  The Boilermakers won't run over Nevada, however, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did lose here.  Winner: Purdue

3 Oregon vs 11 Rhode Island: Rhode Island is a team poised to make a run, and the injury to Chris Boucher will definitely hurt Oregon here.  I expect Rams' senior forward Hassan Martin to have a field day without having to worry about Boucher in the paint.  Winner: Rhode Island

2 Louisville vs 10 Oklahoma State: I'm sure most of the brackets you've seen online or on TV have all the 1-seeds and 2-seeds making it to the Sweet Sixteen.  The last time that happened was in 2009, so I wouldn't bet on it.  Oklahoma State has a star player in Jawun Evans that has the ability to take over a game and win it on his own.  Winner: Oklahoma State

South Region

1 North Carolina vs 8 Arkansas: The Tar Heels are deep and experienced, and the Razorbacks haven't won a game against a ranked opponent all year.  UNC will roll over Arkansas with ease.  Winner: North Carolina

5 Minnesota vs 13 Winthrop: After using all of their energy to beat Butler in the first round, Winthrop will be sluggish out of the gate, and Minnesota's early lead will be too much for the Eagles to overcome.  Winner: Minnesota

3 UCLA vs 11 Kansas State: I like K-State, but not as much as I like UCLA's loaded squad.  Don't forget, despite being a 3-seed, UCLA finished their conference tournament ranked 8th in the country.  Winner: UCLA

2 Kentucky vs 10 Wichita State: As I mentioned earlier, the Shockers are extremely underrated.  I would not be shocked (no pun intended) to see Kentucky fall here, but the Wildcats have come on strong as of late, so I'll give them the edge.  Winner: Kentucky

Sweet Sixteen

East Region

1 Villanova vs 4 Florida: If it weren't for their first 2 games being against double-seeded opponents, I would not have picked Florida to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.  That being said, this is where the road stops for the Gators; at the hands of the defending champs.  Winner: Villanova

2 Duke vs 6 SMU: Former Duke player Semi Ojeleye will get a shot at his former team.  He has become a star player since leaving Duke, but SMU is just not quite as deep as Duke is.  I expect this one to be really close, but the Blue Devils will survive.  Winner: Duke

West Region

1 Gonzaga vs 5 Notre Dame: After changing my mind on eliminating Gonzaga last round, I decided now was the right time for them to go down.  Notre Dame has made it to the Elite Eight 2 straight years, and this will be the third.  Winner: Notre Dame

2 Arizona vs 3 Florida State: The Seminoles are very deep and talented, but they've lost each of their last 3 games against current top-25 teams.  Arizona is a tough out, and they will outlast Florida State here.  Winner: Arizona

Midwest Region

1 Kansas vs 4 Purdue: Purdue's only win over a current top-25 team was against Notre Dame back in mid-December.  Since then, they've lost games to Iowa, Nebraska, and 2 to Michigan late in the year.  Kansas won't be the opponent they get back on track against.  Winner: Kansas

10 Oklahoma State vs 11 Rhode Island: Rhode Island will have won 10 straight games at this point, but how long can they stay hot for?  I think the Cowboys will once again rely on high scoring to inch their way through the tournament.  Winner: Oklahoma State

South Region

1 North Carolina vs 5 Minnesota: Simply put, Minnesota is just not as good as the Tar Heels.  Reggie Lynch is a solid big man for the Gophers, but he will not be able to handle the duo of Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.  Winner: North Carolina

2 Kentucky vs 3 UCLA: In a rematch of what was a classic game earlier in the season, 2 of the most stacked teams in the country will go head-to-head for a spot in the Elite Eight.  I believe the Bruins will get it done again against Kentucky as they prepare for UNC in the South Regional Finals.  Winner: UCLA

Elite Eight

East Region

1 Villanova vs 2 Duke: In one of the most anticipated matchups of the entire tournament, the defending champions will square off with one of the tournaments most feared teams.  Villanova is a great team, but Duke's much tougher schedule will pay off as they knock off the tournament's #1 overall seed.  Winner: Duke

West Region

2 Arizona vs 5 Notre Dame: As I mentioned previously, Notre Dame has been to each of the last 2 Elite Eights.  They lost both times, and I expect more of the same here.  Arizona will be just too much for the Irish's smaller lineup.  Winner: Arizona

Midwest Region

1 Kansas vs 10 Oklahoma State: After creeping past their last 3 opponents, the fun will finally come to an end for Oklahoma State.  They lost to Kansas both times they met in the regular season, although neither game was a blowout.  I don't expect this one to be a blowout this time either, but I wouldn't call it a nail-biter.  Winner: Kansas

South Region

1 North Carolina vs 3 UCLA: In what should be one of the tourney's best games, freshman-sensation Lonzo Ball will go head-to-head with sharp-shooting junior Joel Berry.  I think UCLA will be able to control the pace of the game, which will play in their favor.  Winner: UCLA

Final Four

(W2) Arizona vs (E2) Duke: Arizona should be confident going into this game since they are the better team.  However, everyone fears seeing Coach K's team in March, especially this late in the tournament.  Duke's combination of experience and talent will lead them past the Wildcats and into the national championship.  Winner: Duke

(MW1) Kansas vs (S3) UCLA: Lonzo Ball and company will have their work cut out for them trying to contain the trio of Frank Mason III, Josh Jackson, and Devonte' Graham.  I like UCLA's team and I believe they can make this game interesting, but I can't pick them over a talented team coached by Bill Self.  Winner: Kansas

National Championship

(MW1) Kansas vs (E2) Duke: The Jayhawks and Blue Devils will face off for the national title.  With a full season of hard work on the line, I expect that both teams will come out strong and fight hard for 40 minutes.  When it's all said and done, I expect to see Kansas cutting down the nets in Phoenix.  Duke has come on strong as of late, but they haven't been able to put together a long enough stretch of convincing success for me to pick them to win it all.  Kansas won the early-season matchup between these 2 teams, and I expect to see another high-scoring affair here to round out the college basketball season.  Final Score: Kansas 84, Duke 82