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NCAA Tournament bracket set: What you need to know about every team

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The 2021 NCAA Tournament is set. Here’s what you need to know about every team in this year’s field.

Morehead State v Louisville Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Selection Sunday has finally arrived, after not one but two long years of waiting!

Following the Selection Show, here is what the official field of 68 looks like for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Go here to print one.

Here is how the NCAA officially ranked every team.

As for the four replacement teams in case anyone has to drop out, they are Louisville (1), Colorado State (2), St. Louis (3) and Ole Miss (4).

Getting ready to fill out your bracket but don’t know anything about Winthrop, Morehead State, UConn, San Diego State, or others? Look no further than this article, where I’ll give you a one or two sentence summary of every team that punches their ticket or looks like they’ll be in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

We’ll go conference by conference from the Ohio Valley to Big Ten.

*Note these were written prior to Selection Sunday.

1. Ohio Valley:

Morehead State

The Eagles, fresh off defeating the mighty Belmont Bruins to win the Ohio Valley and a ticket to the NCAA tournament, are 23-7 and projected to be either a 14 or 15 seed. They’ve been clicking, winning 19 of their past 20, but haven’t really beaten any good teams. They can get an upset if their 2 or 3 seed opponent is shaky (like injured Villanova or inconsistent Texas), but they probably won’t be strong enough to beat anyone else.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss

2. Big South:

Winthrop

Winthrop romped through their schedule, going 23-1 with the only loss being a two-point defeat against UNC Asheville, and are projected to be a 13 seed. They can beat some 3 or 4 seeds, but not all of them. They can probably beat teams like Villanova, Texas, Houston, or Purdue, but beware taking them over Arkansas, Kansas, or Florida State.

Likely Outlook: A trendy first round upset pick

3. Atlantic Sun:

Liberty

The Flames are flying high, humming through the Atlantic Sun and looking like a team that can do some damage in the NCAAs. They’ve won 12 in a row, are 23-5, and look like a 13 seed. I think you have to treat Liberty like Winthrop, except better. They’ve won in the NCAAs before and there are very few 3 or 4 seeds that can stomp them. My call? Take them over a shaky team, but take them over the red-hot Razorbacks or always reliable Jayhawks and Seminoles.

Likely Outlook: Watch out. This team’s got a first round win coming to them.

4. Missouri Valley:

Loyola Chicago

Loyola Chicago is looking even better than the Final Four team from a few years ago. The 24-4 Ramblers are projected to be either an 11 or 12 seed. Also, whether you care about KenPom rankings or not, you’ve got to be shocked that an 11 seed is ranked NINTH there with the number one defense efficiency in the country. That’s not a nerd stat; that’s a gigantic neon sign that says, “This team is GOOD”. So, how far do you take them? Well, you have to take them in the first round, unless they play Virginia or Texas Tech. Then you have to use caution. But Loyola over Florida, Clemson, Missouri?!?!? Sign me up! As for the second round, keep in mind that they’ll probably play a 3 or 4 seed, so watch out for musclemen like Arkansas and Kansas. But maybe they can beat them too! This team is going to the Sweet 16, and it’ll probably take a 1 or 2 seed to keep them out of returning to the Final Four.

Likely Outlook: It’ll be hard to keep this team from the second weekend. They’re that good.

Drake

Drake was firmly on the bubble, but they did enough to squeak in the field. If Drake gets in, they’re almost certainly going to the First Four. They’re 25-4, but after starting 19-0 went 6-4 down the stretch and suffered injuries to their best players. That’s not good momentum to bring into the First Four, and with opponents like Boise State, Utah State, VCU, Xavier, and Saint Louis likely to face them, the Bulldogs are not to be trusted.

Likely Outlook: Second round loss.

5. SoCon:

UNC Greensboro

The 21-8 Spartans are back in the NCAAs for the first time since 2018, when they lost by four in the first round to 4 seed Gonzaga. They’ve never won a game in the tournament before and are projected to be a 13 seed this time around. They haven’t really beaten any great teams, and don’t have as much momentum as you’d like to see, struggling in the SoCon quarterfinals against The Citadel. They might be able to pull an upset, but the 4 seeds are stiff competition. My advice? If you want to pick a 13 seed upset, see if Liberty or Winthrop’s matchups fit the bill.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss. Liberty and Winthrop are better.

6. Sun Belt:

Appalachian State

The Mountaineers are dancin’ for the first time since 2000! It’ll probably be short-lived, as they are a projected 15 seed and will likely get pummeled by Iowa or West Virginia. Still, what a Sun Belt tournament performance, coming out of the first round to win four straight games, with two in overtime, to punch a ticket!

Likely Outlook: First round loss

7. Colonial:

Drexel

The good news? The 12-7 Drexel Dragons are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996! The bad news? They’re a 16 seed and are a week away from a blasting by Illinois. Not enough firepower or defense to pull off a miracle, though they’ve been waiting a long time for this moment and will want it to last as long as possible. Congratulations, Dragons! But I’m not picking you in my bracket.

Likely Outlook: First round loss

8. NEC:

Mount Saint Mary’s

The 12-10 Mount is back in the NCAAs, with their last appearance being a 2017 First Four 16-seed win over New Orleans. They were the 4-seed in their conference tournament, so they made an impressive run to get there. If your pool picks the First Four games, you will be interested to know that they will likely end up there so keep this factoid in mind: pretty much all their games are low scoring because of their slooooow tempo (356/357 teams).

Likely Outlook: They’ll win a First Four game against the SWAC or MEAC, but no one else.

9. Horizon:

Cleveland State

I’ve wanted the Vikings to get in for a while and I’m glad they finally are for the first time since 2009. They won a doozy of a game in the quarterfinals (108-104 3OT!) against Purdue Fort Wayne, and have played pretty good basketball as of late to finish with a 19-7 record. They’ll probably be a 15 seed, and if you’re dying to pick a 15 then the Vikings (or Morehead) might be your best option, but they face long odds. Swing big with caution, but it’s March Madness so who knows? But I don’t advise betting against this year’s 2 seeds.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss

10. Summit:

Oral Roberts

16-10 Oral Roberts is in the tournament for the first time since 2007-08 after a wild win over North Dakota State to win the Summit League. Like Mount St. Mary’s, they might end up in the First Four, so if you’re interested in their performance there, I think they can beat might among the best 16 seeds there. Bottom line: if they’ve got the offense to beat South Dakota State and North Dakota State, then they can win a First Four game.

Likely Outlook: First Four win if sent there, and then first round loss.

11. West Coast:

Gonzaga

The last undefeated. Number one all year. Beat Iowa. Beat Illinois. Beat West Virginia. The Zags are the best of the best, the elitest of the elite, and, as Skipper the penguin would say, “the cream of the corn on a platinum cob!” They’re the first team to enter the NCAA tourney undefeated since 2015 Kentucky, and we know how awesome that team was. These 26-0 Zags got the guns to go all the way. They can beat anyone, and can win six games to bring home the school’s first national championship. Anybody can lose to anybody in March, but no one is more likely to win the tournament than Gonzaga. Maybe Baylor or Illinois or Alabama snags them, but this team is a machine like we haven’t seen in a while. Pick Gonzaga and don’t look back.

Likely Outlook: Champions, or at least Final Four.

BYU

The Cougars almost got the trophy win over numero uno but couldn’t keep the hot shooting up for a 2nd half of ball. They are 20-6 and a projected 8 or 9 seed. Now those matchups are hard to predict, let me tell you, but let’s look at it this way: the Cougars are good enough for sure to win an 8-9 1st Round game, but some opponents might be stoppers. Beware Michigan State, for instance, but Wichita State might be ripe for the picking. Can they go further and knock off a 1? Perhaps—they almost beat Gonzaga last night. I’m not seeing it, though. They haven’t been to the Sweet 16 in over a decade and aren’t trustworthy enough to back against the likes of Illinois and Baylor. Throw caution to the wind if you want, because hey! they almost beat Gonzaga, but in the NCAA Tournament ‘almost’ is not enough.

Likely Outlook: Second round

12. America East:

Hartford

15-8 Hartford won the America East Playoffs today, punching a ticket to the Dance that Vermont usually gets. Also, this is Hartford’s FIRST EVER NCAA APPEARANCE, so congratulations! If they’re a 16 seed in the First Four, they’re an easy pick over bad conferences (like the MEAC and SWAC).

Likely Outlook: If they can beat Vermont, they can win a First Four game. Nothing else obviously being a 16 seed.

13. MEAC:

Norfolk State

Oh boy, the MEAC. This conference perennially smells worse than a dumpster on trash day. Welp, someone had to win it and this time is was 15-7 Norfolk State. They’re one of the better MEAC teams, but I’m not sure if that’s saying much. They’ve got a little winning streak going so don’t write them off completely, but they’re in the First Four, so you probably want to pick against them.

Likely Outlook: Probably First Four loss

14. MAAC:

Rick Pitino is back in the tournament after taking the Iona Gaels to an MAAC title. They’d probably be a good upset candidate, but they’ll be seeded pretty low.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss due to 14, 15, or 16 seeding, but if they face a reeling or vulnerable team they can pull off an upset.

15: Big 12:

Texas

After an up-and-down year, the Longhorns are Big 12 Tournament Champions. This has to feel good for perennial hot-seat occupier coach Shaka Smart. I’m not sold on Texas, though they did just beat Oklahoma State today and are on a winning streak. Keep in mind that they were not expected to be 3-seed good in the preseason. Let’s see who they play. Perhaps they make the Elite 8, perhaps they exit in the first round. They will be a tricky case for your bracket and mine.

Likely Outlook: Some 14 seeds could beat this team, but they are tough. I think at the end of the day, if they play tough teams, they’ll fold and lose, but if they play mediocre teams, they’ll win. Somewhere between one-and-done and Sweet 16.

Baylor

Finally, a power conference! The Bears are one of the best teams in the country, finishing 22-2 with the only losses being at Allen Fieldhouse and yesterday to red hot Oklahoma State. They’re the real deal, as they will without a doubt be a 1 seed. How far do you take them? Well, let’s examine their stock, to use a financial analogy. Until they lost to Kansas in the second game back from a long covid pause, they were unstoppable. They’ve still been great, but not quite as invulnerable as Oklahoma State showed. I don’t think they can be stopped before the Elite 8, so take them that far, and then evaluate what kind of competition they’d likely be facing there. If it’s a red-hot machine like Oklahoma State or Arkansas, beware. Otherwise, these Bears know how to win, winning three straight against ranked teams at one point.

Likely Outlook: Elite 8 at least, probably Final Four.

West Virginia

The Mountaineers have been great this season, emerged from the rugged Big 12 with an 18-9 record and wins over Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Kansas. One thing to know first off: don’t pick them to lose in the 1st Round, even if it’s Winthrop or UNC Greensboro or someone awesome. Their full court press scheme almost always overwhelms mid-majors. Maybe if it’s a really good opponent consider it, but WVU is a good first round team. They are better than the projected 5 seeds, though Purdue could be tough. I don’t think they can beat Gonzaga or Illinois in the Sweet 16, but perhaps Baylor, Michigan, or Alabama is beatable. Their ceiling is high, but they aren’t a Final Four favorite. Still, they can get there depends on how the ball bounces. Watch out for the Mountaineers.

Likely Outlook: Sweet 16 at least, perhaps further.

Kansas

I’m going to assume here that the Jayhawks will be covid-free and ready to roll for the tournament. They’ve been solid all year but not as dominant as last year. They’ll probably be a 3 seed. You probably don’t want to pick against them in the first round, and depending on the 6/11, 2, or 1 seeds that might lie in their paths, you can probably expect a run into the second weekend. Watch out for Uconn and Loyola-Chicago in the 2nd round, though, and in the Sweet 16 know that Iowa and Oklahoma State are tough cookies.

Likely Outlook: Probably at least Sweet 16, but could be tripped up earlier.

Texas Tech

Chris Beard’s teams are tough outs. They’ll probably be a 7 or 8 seed, and will definitely be a team to be high on in the 1st round. The 1 and 2 seeds will be tough to beat, but Alabama and Ohio State will be easier to beat than Iowa and Oklahoma State.

Likely Outlook: Second round, and maybe an upset to get further.

Oklahoma

The Sooners are wild and shaky, having cooled off from a torrid January. They’ll be hard to pick in the 1st round. They’re probably a one-and-done. Stay away, unless the opponent is just as shaky (like Wichita State)

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss.

Oklahoma State

Ouch, I burned my fingers while typing the words “Oklahoma State”. That’s how hot they’ve been over the last few weeks. Ok, I might be exaggerating a little, but Cade Cunningham has this team clicking at the right time. Don’t write them off after a loss to Texas—Texas had an extra day of rest since they didn’t have to play Kansas. This 2 or 3 seed is going to the Elite 8, and possibly the Final Four depending on the opposition.

Likely Outlook: This is an elite team trending towards the Elite 8. And once in the Elite 8 you can always go a step further.

16: Mountain West

San Diego State

The Aztecs are red hot at the right time, winning 14 in a row to enter the NCAAs 23-4 and probably only as an 8 or 9 seed. This team is going to the second round; they’re the best of those seeds. Now, for the big question: can they beat a 1 seed? Not Gonzaga or Illinois, but the others could be in trouble.

Likely Outlook: Second round at least, maybe they’ll knock off a 1.

Utah State

The Aggies managed to sneak into the field to the surprise of many ahead of teams like Louisville, but don’t expect their stay to be long.

Likely Outlook: First round loss.

17: SWAC

Texas Southern won the SWAC, one of the worst conferences Division 1 has. If they’re in the First Four, deciding who to pick will come down to two things: momentum and competition. Texas Southern has the first but not (and perhaps because of?) the second, winning almost every game against their putrid opponents. Still though, winning the auto-bid over feisty Prairie View was a big accomplishment so congrats there. I like momentum, and perhaps Texas Southern can snag a First Four victory. Don’t count on it, though.

Likely Outlook: Maybe a First Four victory if send there. They won’t beat anyone else.

18: Big East

Georgetown

The Hoyas did it! They went from 9-12 and a lost season to Big East Tournament champions in four days, defeating Marquette, Villanova, Seton Hall, and Creighton to steal a bid and crash the NCAAs for the first time since 2015. What a story—I can’t remember the last time something like this happened. So how far does a team like Georgetown go? Honestly I’m not sure, but if they’re a 12 seed then they’re riding too high to lose. It’s March, Hoyas, go win some games! Yeehaw!

Likely Outlook: If four Big East teams couldn’t stop them then neither can a 5 seed. Second round. Maybe further if they catch a 13 seed or a bad 4 seed in their second game.

Xavier (bubble)

If Xavier gets in, don’t pick them no matter what. They’re awful.

Likely Outlook: First four loss. One and done.

Villanova

The Wildcats are usually a solid tourney bet and for a while looked poised to make a big run. Not anymore. Injuries are decimating this likely 4 or 5 seed and they’ll be lucky to get out of the first round. This is where you pick an upset.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss. Shocking, but true. Injuries are hard to overcome. Just look at what happened when they played Georgetown a few days ago.

UConn

Now here’s a team that can make a deep run! The Huskies are clicking at the right time, going from bubble team to second weekend threat. winning 7 or 8 before losing to Creighton in a rock fight last night by three. James Bouknight will lead this 6 or 7 seed to the Sweet 16 and maybe further. Watch out for the super strong 3 seeds, but these Huskies are lethal.

Likely Outlook: First round win minimum, then probably Sweet 16 or further.

Creighton

The 20-8 Bluejays have been winning more than I thought they would be right now, and they managed to subdue UConn the other night, but you do not want to lose by 25 in your last game before March Madness, especially if it’s to a team you were expected to beat. They’ll probably be a 5 seed and one you’ll want to stay away from.

Likely Outlook: If they’re a 5 seed, they are the hunted. Escaping the 1st round won’t be easy, and making the Sweet 16 will probably take a miracle.

19: MAC

Ohio

Ohio beat Buffalo to make it’s first NCAA appearance since 2012. They are the classic, classic example of a 13 or 14 seed that can pull off an upset even though they seem like nobodies. Why? Because anyone can lose, of course! They’ve won 9 of 10, only lost by two to Illinois waaaay back in November, and have clearly shown, at least to me, that Purdue, Virginia, and LSU better watch out because those three schools and others can’t be trusted to handle anybody in the 1st round.

Likely Outlook: They’ll need a good draw, but this team can pull off an upset.

20: Big Sky

Eastern Washington

They’ve been winning a lot of basketball lately, but 14 seeds don’t pull upsets very often. Pick them at your own risk over this year’s 3 seeds.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss.

21: ACC

Georgia Tech

Wow this team is different than the one that lost to Georgia State and Mercer in their first two games. The Bees will be a tough out for anybody, because they’re stinging right now fresh off an ACC Championship over Florida State. Don’t write them off in their first round game (they’ll probably be an 8, 9, or 10 seed), but I don’t think they can knock off a 1 or 2.

Likely Outlook: They can win a first round game, but they won’t be playing the ACC anymore. Carefully analyse what kind of team they’re playing before picking.

Florida State

The Seminoles have been solid this year and usually are in March. Don’t pick against this long, physical team, and be prepared to take them to the Sweet 16 (or even Elite 8)

Likely Outlook: Sweet 16 (or Elite 8)

Virginia

I’m going to assume the Cavaliers can play in the tournament, and also assume they struggle in their first game. That could be enough to knock them out. If they advance, this 4 or 5 seed could make the Sweet 16, but doesn’t have the firepower to beat any 1 seeds.

Likely Outlook: They aren’t a guarantee to get out of the first round, but are good enough to make the Sweet 16. Probably not further, though.

Virginia Tech

The Hokies will probably be a 7 or 8 seed, and probably have the muscles to win one (but not two) games. Remember, their coach won a tournament game with Wofford two years ago.

Likely Outlook: Probably second round

Clemson

They’re horrible. I can’t wait to pick the other team.

Likely Outlook: First round loss.

Louisville

Also horrible, and none of us could pick them anyway.

Likely Outlook: First round loss.

Louisville was shockingly left out of the field, but they’re the first replacement team, so they could still play in the Big Dance.

North Carolina

The Tar Heels are hot, and they almost made the ACC title game. They are an 8 seed with Baylor as the 1.

Likely Outlook: Second round loss.

Syracuse

Ugh, not a bubbly Syracuse team again. Some teams can beat their zone and some can’t. Just don’t let that make you think Syracuse is good.

Likely Outlook: Likely first round loss.

22: Conference USA

North Texas

The Mean Green took out Western Kentucky to punch a ticket last night, and will likely be a 13 seed. They are 17-9 and have played well this season, but are not a super dangerous upset threat and are only pickable against very shaky 4 seeds (like Villanova) but not the others.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss

23: Southland

Abilene Christian

Abilene Christian is back in the tournament, and has a prestigous 23-4 record. They are a 14 seed you do not want to overlook, but remember that 3 seeds don’t go down easily.

Likely Outlook: They’ll probably get outmuscled in the first round, but if they get a favorable draw they might be able to pull off an upset.

24: WAC

Grand Canyon won the WAC after defeating New Mexico State in the championship game last night. They’re a projected 15 seed, but if any 15 seeds are going to win the Antelopes might be the one. They played solid basketball in the nonconference and with a favorable draw might pull off a shocker. Don’t underestimate them.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss, but they have talent and might, just might, be able to stun a 2 seed.

25: Pac-12

Oregon State

The Beavers stole a bid! Projected to finish last in the preseason, the Beavers have won three games in three days to take their first ever Pac-12 crown and punch a ticket to the NCAAs. Congrats, guys! Can they win a first round game as a 12 seed? Who knows? They’ve been playing very well as of late and 12 seeds are always tough outs for 5s. I don’t think they’re as good as Georgetown, but I still think they can win a game.

Likely Outlook: This team might be able to make the second round.

Oregon

The Ducks were great last year and are pretty good once again this time around. They are 20-6 and have second round potential for sure. Don’t pick them to get further, though; I don’t think they have that much momentum. If they are a 7 or 8 seed, be careful against foes like Michigan State and Texas Tech, but Oregon vs Louisville? Sign me up for the Ducks!

Likely Outlook: This team can make the second round, but probably not further.

Colorado

I don’t think you can trust the Buffaloes in March, especially not as a projected 6 seed. You’ll probably want to say goodbye to them in the first round.

Likely Outlook: They’ll probably be knocked out early in the first round.

USC

The Trojans have been good, but not spectacular. I think they’re also in danger off falling to an 11 seed early.

Likely Outlook: Probably first or second round loss.

UCLA

This is a team that can win a First Four and a first round game, but they’re also on a four game losing streak. If they play a bad team I think Mick Cronin can coach them to a win, but otherwise it’ll be difficult for the Bruins to get far.

Likely Outlook: They might win a First Four or even first round game, but I’m not very confident in them with their losing streak.

26: Big West

UCSB

You might be wondering, “Who on earth is UCSB?” No, it’s not a charity organization—it’s an abbreviation for University of California Santa Barbara, and that’s not really important but what is important is that they won the Big West, are 22-4, and are going to the NCAA Tournament likely as a 12 seed. Now, they sound like nobodies, but they are 22-4 and have been very hot lately. They also haven’t beaten anybody good, so only take them if you don’t trust the 5 seed. Otherwise, the Gauchos might not be able to do it.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss, but they have been clicking and can’t be underestimated.

27: Patriot League

Colgate

The Fightin’ Toothpaste Tubes (okay, that’s not actually what they’re called) are in the tournament after winning the Patriot League. If the 3 seed is vulnerable they have what it takes to pull off an upset—don’t underestimate them.

Likely Outlook: This team can pull off an upset.

28: Atlantic 10

VCU & St. Bonaventure

These are likely the A-10’s only tourney teams, and the Bonnies look like the better of the two. They both can win First Four or first round games, but they probably won’t be able to beat really good first or second round foes.

Likely Outlook: Maybe First Four or first round wins.

29: SEC

Alabama

Nate Oats has the Tide flying high, taking the program to new heights in 2020-2021 with lethal 3-point swishing machines. They probably have what it takes to reach the second weekend, but the Final Four will be a stretch against this year’s 1 seeds.

Likely Outlook: Second weekend but not third.

LSU

Pretty nifty work by the Tigers to knock off Arkansas and make the SEC championship game. They won’t make it easy for the 12 seeds, but they aren’t invulnerable either.

Likely Outlook: They can avoid an upset, but they might not. The Sweet 16 might even be possible.

Arkansas

Wow, these Hawgs are hot. Eric Musselman can coach, and I think they reach the Sweet 16 at minimum. I’m high on the Hawgs.

Likely Outlook: Sweet 16 at least.

Tennessee

Red alert: don’t pick Tennessee. You know the drill.

Likely Outlook: First round loss. Someone’s going to upset them—they just have too, right?

Missouri

I do not trust Mizzou: stay away.

Likely Outlook: First round loss. They’ve almost completely cratered since their hot start.

Florida

Florida you might have to pick in the first round if they face a bad team, but don’t worry—they aren’t that dangerous. They’ll probably lose.

Likely Outlook: Probably first round loss.

30: AAC

Houston

The Cougars have a great coach but haven’t been playing very well as of late. They might not make the second weekend.

Likely Outlook: I don’t think they make the second weekend.

Wichita State

Likely Outlook: It’ll be a shocker if they win more than one game. First Four loss.

31: Big Ten

Iowa

The Hawkeyes are one of the best teams in the country, riding player of the year candidate Luke Garza to a top-10 finish and 2-seed. How far can they go? They’ll be a tough machine for anyone to take out before the Sweet 16, and I think you’ll see them in the Elite 8 but not the Final Four if they face a 1 seed like Illinois or Gonzaga.

Likely Outlook: Sweet 16 minimum

Michigan

The Wolverines are still one the 1-seed line, but have stumbled a bit down the stretch. If Isaiah Livers’s injury keeps him out for the tournament, I think they can be sniped in the second round by a hungry 8 or 9 seed, and even if they make the Sweet 16 it’s very hard to see the Wolverines making the Final Four. Remember, this is also their coach’s first NCAA Tournament.

Likely Outlook: It’ll be hard for them to make the Elite 8.

Purdue

The Boilermakers never fail to disappoint in March, but probably won’t lose in the first round unless they play a very good 12 or 13 seed. I don’t think they will make the Elite 8, but the Sweet 16 is possible.

Likely Outlook: Somewhere between first round exit (unlikely) and Sweet 16 loss.

Wisconsin

This team is very experienced and dangerous, but has lost a lot of games against stiff competition lately. They’ll probably be a 7, 8, or 9 seed. I don’t think they’ll lose in the first round due to their experience, but they don’t seem to have the guns to beat a 1 or 2.

Likely Outlook: Second round

Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights are in the tournament for the first time since 1991! Being a Big Ten team, you’ll probably want them on your side in the first round, but they don’t look strong enough to get further. They’re pretty similar to Wisconsin though not quite as good.

Likely Outlook: Second round unless they play someone really good in the first round.

Maryland

No one will want to play the Terps, who will probably by an 11 seed and looking to do some damage in the first round. With a favorable draw, they can make the Sweet 16.

Likely Outlook: Probably second round and maybe Sweet 16.

Michigan State

The Spartans got hot at the right time and kept their consecutive tourney appearances streak alive. They will be a tough out in the first round, as they will probably be a 10 seed, and can maybe knock off a 2 after that.

Likely Outlook: Probably second round and maybe Sweet 16.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes have been awesome all year but lost their last 4 regular season games. Reaching the B1G title game is impressive, but they seem to have trouble closing out games. They can make the Elite 8, but honestly they also might get tripped up in the Round of 32.

Likely Outlook: If they are healthy and quit blowing leads they’ll make the second weekend and possibly further. Otherwise be careful if they play a really good second round foe.

Illinois

The Illini are the second best team in the country in my opinion. I think they play Gonzaga in the title game, and I don’t think anyone will stop them. Not Iowa, not Alabama—nobody but Gonzaga.

Likely Outlook: Final Four minimum, probably title game, maybe champions.

Whew! I think that’s everybody. I hope that helps you fill out your bracket, though take my hot takes with a grain of salt (or maybe a big ‘ol golf ball-sized lump of salt).

Happy Bracketing!

Poll

Who will win the National Championship?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Gonzaga
    (42 votes)
  • 25%
    Illinois
    (30 votes)
  • 18%
    Baylor
    (21 votes)
  • 1%
    Michigan
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Alabama
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Iowa
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Kansas
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Ohio State
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    West Virginia
    (3 votes)
  • 5%
    Drexel
    (6 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now