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March Madness Predictions

By Jon Painter, CJ Cecil
On March 22, 2019

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It has been a long winter, but March is finally here. And along with it comes the Madness. The NCAA Tournament committee unveiled the brackets Sunday and The Campus’s top college basketball experts Braves baseball players CJ Cecil and Jon Painter take their shot at predicting who will come out on top.

Jon’s picks:

This year’s bracket is loaded with dynamite matchups. Zion Williamson’s Duke team along with Michigan State headline the top two seeds in the East region of the bracket. A powerful Gonzaga team which knocked off Duke in Maui earlier this season sits as the number one seed in the West region.

East: Duke and healthy superstar Williamson come out of the East region. LSU is the closest team in terms of talent to Duke. But with the Tigers playing without head coach Will Wade suspended amid a scandal, look for them to have a short March and for Duke to roll.

West: Florida State as a 4 seed emerges from the West region. Number 1 seed Gonzaga faces a tricky zone matchup with either Syracuse or Baylor and gets knocked off before reaching the Sweet Sixteen. Florida State can easily go 10 players deep with a good mix of length and size along with veteran shot-makers.

South: UVA avenges last year’s inaugural exit to 16 seed UMBC and goes to the Final Four. UVA enters this year’s tournament healthy and on a mission. This region of the bracket features teams such as Wisconsin and K-State, who play more to Virginia’s slow pace, so advantage UVA.

Midwest: Roy Williams’s North Carolina Tar Heels come out as the Midwest region champs. Despite a recent loss to Duke, the Heels have been playing at a breakneck pace and overwhelm the completion in the Midwest Region.

Final Four: Duke, Florida State, UVA and UNC

Championship: UNC 83, Duke 80

Last year was the first time a 16 seed defeated a 1 seed, and this year for the first time Duke and North Carolina meet in the NCAA tournament.


CJ’s picks:

The first four play-in games have been completed, so it is time to start the madness. This year has been a great one for college basketball. Teams are loaded. We have seen Zion Williamson -- who is already being possibly dubbed the next Lebron -- dominate for a young Duke team. North Carolina has had a great year that includes beating Duke twice in the regular season. The most powerful offense in Gonzaga will look to prove doubters wrong and take home a championship.

East: Zion is back and dangerous making Duke the obvious choice here. They are led by Williamson, a superstar with talent that doesn't come around often, and a crafty RJ Barrett. Look for Duke to dominate their bracket and make their way with ease. They are the favorite not only to win the East, but the whole tournament.

West: Although Gonzaga is an extremely talented team, it is always difficult to tell exactly how they will fair due to the conference and teams they face in the regular season. Look for Texas Tech to represent in the West region. This Red Raiders team is ranked first in adjusted efficiency and only had six losses heading into the Big 12 tournament. Expect them to use defense and size to excel in the tournament.

South: After getting ripped apart last year for being the first 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed, Virginia is going to come through this tournament with a chip on their collective shoulder. This team is top 5 in both offense and defense and have some talented guys that will help them go deep in the tournament.

Midwest: Kentucky has had a strong season and will most likely get deep into the tourney, but it is the always familiar presence of North Carolina that will come out on top. North Carolina has proven this season they can compete with the best. They took it to Duke in two out of the three games and have beaten Gonzaga, Virginia Tech and Florida State.

Final Four: Duke, Texas Tech, UVA and UNC

Championship: Duke 82, UNC 79

The longtime rivals will face each other in the National Championship. The last two times the Tar Heels won, Williamson was hurt and not able to play. He will play this time, and for the first year ever, Duke and UNC face off in the national championship, with the Blue Devils taking home the trophy.


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