The Bucs' Blade

2018 March Madness: Why you shouldn’t be swayed by the higher seeds

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Final Four 2018 San Antonio Logo

Tournament Brackets/CC BY 2.0

Sam Woiteshek, Sports editor

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Every March, there is a certain time that calls for days of endless basketball, filled with underdog stories, buzzer-beaters and heartbreak. Or, in other words: madness. March Madness.

This year when millions of people fill out their brackets, most be will be determined to choose one of the tournament’s elite teams.

For schools like Virginia, Villanova, Kansas and Xavier they enter with targets on their backs as the dance’s top dogs; the No. 1 seeds.

The next popular batch of colleges include Cincinnati, Duke, Purdue and North Carolina, all as No. 2 seeds.

See, these are the squads that people reach for to win it all. They’re the safe bets, the ones that are at the highest levels for a reason.

Yet, each of those teams has its flaws.

Virginia, known for their amazing defense, has faced formidable competition in the ACC. The Cavaliers have proven that they can beat anyone, which is why they are an easy pick. But based on their track record in March Madness, can you really trust them? They have come as close as the Elite Eight, but no farther. The Cavs are a great team to get in a shootout with because they won’t score as many points as they prevent.

Villanova has the tools. Led by Jalen Brunson, how are they supposed to lose? The Wildcats’ problem is unique because most often it lies within themselves. Their attitude trips them up, for they tend to overlook the competition. Look at their Round of 32 loss to Wisconsin last year, or their Round of 32 loss to North Carolina State two years before that.

Kansas and Xavier are two teams that are similar, if you ask me. Both are offensive-minded but their defense is yet to catch up. If the Jayhawks or the Musketeers want to hoist the trophy, they each have to get better on defense. They are teams that have had a lot of close wins against solid opponents, but they haven’t stood out. They are both equally prone to get upset.

Simply put, bracket-fillers don’t see is the potential for something else.

Why not Michigan? The hottest team in country – even with a week off – is gearing up for another deep tourney run led by Mo Wagner. They’ve seemingly found what they need: a steady balance of offense with defense. Watch out for the Wolverines.

Could Michigan State steal the title? The Spartans have never truly been clicking at one-hundred percent, but maybe this is the time that happens. Tom Izzo always fields a good team come March.

Arizona, all scandals aside, is a good squad built around DeAndre Ayton. The only solid team from the Pac-12, they usually are able to make the Sweet 16 and anything past that is terrific.

There others like West Virginia and Gonzaga that can make runs too.

I am not encouraging you to pick a No. 12 seed like Murray State to win it all (although they are in my Sweet 16) or not even a No. 6 seed like Florida. I’m merely suggesting that perhaps you look at more than numbers.

Because in March, numbers mean nothing.

It’s the magic behind them that creates champions.


Sam’s Picks

Final Four: Virginia, Michigan, Villanova, Duke

Champion: Michigan

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About the Writer
Sam Woiteshek, Sports editor

Junior Sam Woiteshek is back and better than ever in his second year on staff, serving as the Blade’s co-sports editor this time around. As a lifelong...

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