If you are like me, you set your March Madness bracket on Monday morning. Then you checked in on it Tuesday, you know just to make sure. Wednesday was fine tuning in light of any information that somehow changed over the last 48 hours (unlikely) and then going into Thursday some last minute crunching and final changes leading up to tip off. The below three teams are ones that I feel somewhat confident in their ability to mess with my bracket. This doesn’t mean I’m guaranteeing victory but I'm cautious about the depth of the team they are playing because if they get knocked out a la Virginia three years ago in the first round, I'm done.
1. #10 Virginia Tech beats. #7 Florida
Confidence level: 9/10
Virginia Tech is a perfect 4-0 against top 25 teams. The biggest concern here is COVID has basically shut them down for a month and the last three games they played they went 1-2. I believe in ACC Coach of the Year Mike Young (even in lieu of his recent insensitive comments) to have this team prepped and ready to succeed. I think it’s a safe assumption that the Hokies feel dejected over their seeding and with that, they will be coming out firing in Round 1.
2. #12 Winthrop over #5 Villanova
Confidence level 7/10
There is a part of me that is very optimistic in a team that has just one loss (Winthrop being 23-1). There is ALSO a part of me that is liking the fact that Winthrop averages more points for AND fewer points against than Villanova. This is until you see that pesky BPI of “7” for Villanova and “85” for Winthrop. I really believe in the Winthrop team, particularly Chandler Vaudrin—who is an all around stud—Adonis Arms, Charles Falden, and D.J. Burns (all four average over 10 points per game!). They have depth and will run quick when needed.
3. #13 Liberty over #4 Oklahoma State
Confidence level 5/10
On the surface this all favors Oklahoma—tougher schedule, more wins vs. ranked programs, more points for, fewer points against etc. However, Liberty is on a hot streak, namely 12 straight wins, they pulled a big upset just two years ago in the tournament, they don’t turn the ball over, and they have the 12th most three point attempts that they hit at 30%. They will go down and hit a three pointer and then play absolutely shut down defense without creating costly turnovers in the process. In a nutshell they have perfected what they can and work to stifle anything that can combat it.