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Every 2021 Tournament Team and What You Need to Know About Them

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March Madness arrives!

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

Getting ready to fill out your bracket but don’t know anything about Winthrop, Belmont, 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 as they wrap up their tourneys, starting with Saturday’s Ohio Valley championship.

1. Ohio Valley Conference:

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 Conference:

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 Conference:

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 Conference:

Loyola Chicago

Loyola Chicago on the other hand is on fire, 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 (bubble)

Drake’s on the bubble, but I think they have done enough to squeak in the field so we’ll write an entry for them and see what happens. 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: If they get in, pick them at your own risk. Not all 11 seeds are created equal.

Loyola Chicago on the other hand is on fire, 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.

That’s all for today! We’ll do more conferences as they wrap up their tourneys. Go ‘Cats on Thursday!