Gonzaga sits atop the West bracket this year. They are coming off of a great season that saw them beat Duke with their only losses at the hands of North Carolina, Tennessee, and St Mary’s in their conference tournament. Michigan is the #2 seed and, on paper, it looks like these 2 teams will be facing each other in the Elite 8. #4 Florida State shouldn’t have any trouble knocking Vermont out.
The #8 vs #9 matchup promises to be exactly what we expect from this game. Baylor vs Syracuse give us 2 teams that have shown a huge upside but maybe lacked consistency at times. #5 Marquette vs #12 Murray State is a game that many are already calling for the upset. Marquette struggled down the stretch so they need to get their game back. #7 Nevada vs #10 Florida is, simply put, a game that shouldn’t even happen. For the life of me, I have no idea how Florida got in. A 19-15 record should never garner an at-large bid. This is an embarrassment to the tournament itself. But I digress.
NKU is a team that I can see pulling off a fairly large upset. Is part of this hope? Yes it is. Their campus is just down the road a bit. The Norse play an uptempo style that can catch teams off guard. Texas Tech is a very solid team, but have shown lapses at times. The NKU moneyline should be worth throwing a few dollars at though. #6 Buffalo will play the winner of the Arizona State vs St Johns play-in game. Buffalo has looked very good all season and should pull this one out with ease.
This bracket will be entertaining, to say the least. Possibilities are abound with some of these games. In my bracket on ESPN, I have Michigan advancing to the Final Four. Having said that, I can see a few teams making it out of the West. We are sure to see good, close games here. Nothing is a given in March; it’s the best time of year to watch basketball at any level.
The lines in Vegas are posted and bettors throughout the country are already laying the money down. The anticipation and excitement are what keeps us coming back to this game each March. If you haven’t been in Las Vegas for March Madness, I highly recommend it. When that first game tips off and the entire sportsbook explodes with cheers, the goosebumps begin. And a buzzer beater? Even if you don’t have skin in the game, the ebb and flow of emotions in a packed sportsbook is an incredible experience. Get out there one time and check it out. I promise you it won’t be your last trip out there.