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Oklahoma v Rhode Island

Source: Rob Carr / Getty

It’s about that time…2018 NCAA March Madness is here!

While there aren’t any dominant teams in the field, there are plenty of good teams and veteran coaches who know what the vibe is like come March. In a bracket where a team’s future is based on just one game, we broke down each region by which team might make it to the big dance, the biggest NBA prospects, and even the most fire uniforms. Hopefully your brackets don’t get too mangled.

East Region

Big East Basketball Tournament - Championship

Source: Steven Ryan / Getty

Top teams favored: Villanova, Purdue, West Virginia, Florida

Teams the big boys don’t want to see: Butler, Marshall, St. Bonaventure

Best pro prospect in the region: Mikal Bridges (Villanova)

Upset pick: Marshall over Wichita State

Hottest uniforms in the region: St. Bonaventure

The East Region is basically Villanova’s to lose. They have consistently been one of the top three teams in the NCAA all season. They have a steady point guard (Jalen Brunson) running the show and the multi-talented super sophomore Mikal Bridges alongside him in the backcourt. Oh, and they can go ten deep… and they usually do. Purdue is another favorite in this region, but they’ve cooled off as of late, leaving many to question if they should even be the second seed in the region. After playing well during their conference tournament, St. Bonaventure showed they’re a team that could sneak up on you and give any of the favorites a hard fight.

The Pick: Villanova

 

South Region

ACC Basketball Tournament - Championship

Source: Abbie Parr / Getty

Top teams favored: Virginia, Cincinnati, Arizona, Kentucky

Teams the big boys don’t want to see: Loyola – Chicago, Davidson

Best pro prospect in the region: DeAndre Ayton (Arizona)

Upset pick: Loyola – Chicago over Miami (Florida)

Hottest uniforms in the region: Arizona

Coming into tournament season, there was no team hotter than the Virginia Cavaliers. They backed up their number one ranking in the country by winning the ACC tournament and defeating another hot team—the UNC Tarheels. However, we have learned that one of their best players (De’Andre Hunter) will miss the tournament, which is a huge blow for UVA. That leaves the door open for other hot teams coming into the tournament, like Arizona, with their star big man DeAndre Ayton in the middle controlling the paint. He was already labeled a “Hall of Fame” talent as a freshman, so think about that for a second. Kentucky is another squad coming into the tournament playing well. Coach John Calipari always has extra tricks up his sleeve during this time of year, so it’ll be interesting.

The Pick: Arizona

 

Midwest Region

KU penn preview 0314

Source: Kansas City Star / Getty

Top teams favored: Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, Clemson

Teams the big boys don’t want to see: Rhode Island, Penn, New Mexico State

Best pro prospect in the region: Marvin Bagley III (Duke)

Upset pick: New Mexico State over Clemson

Hottest uniforms in the region: Rhode Island

The Midwest Region from top to bottom is the most stacked region in the tournament this year. You basically have three number one seeds all in the same region in Kansas, Duke and Michigan State. While Kansas is the “official” number one seed, Michigan State comes into the tournament as the team nobody wants to see right now. They have NBA-ready players in the backcourt AND the frontcourt. They also have legendary coach Tom Izzo. However, you can never overlook Duke and everything that the Blue Devils usually bring to the tournament. While guards have usually been Duke’s calling card, this team has two star big men in freshmen Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. The Midwest should be the region with the most interesting matchups in all rounds.

The Pick: Michigan State

 

West Region

Providence v Xavier

Source: Joe Robbins / Getty

Top teams favored: Xavier, North Carolina, Michigan, Gonzaga

Teams the big boys don’t want to see: San Diego State, South Dakota State, Providence

Best Pro Prospect in the Region: Keita Bates Diop (Ohio State)

Upset pick: San Diego State over Houston

Hottest uniforms in the region: North Carolina

Xavier comes in as the “shakiest” number one seed in the tournament. They played well all year but don’t have that same “pedigree” that the other number one seeds have. In reality, by sticking UNC in the same region, Xavier is more of a 1A seed, with UNC being 1B. With that said, there are some heavyweights in this region that are serious contenders. Michigan comes in as probably the hottest team in the nation and has a big man in the middle (Moritz Wagner) that can play on the perimeter. Even the “underdogs” of this region (San Diego State, Providence) could make some noise. Most of the big upsets will come out of this region.

The Pick: North Carolina

Final Four Predictions

Teams: Arizona, North Carolina, Villanova, Michigan State

Arizona vs. North Carolina

UNC has been to the last two Final Fours and won the championship last year. Their experience in the Final Four will be the key versus a young Arizona team that’s new to the spotlight. While UNC has no answer for DeAndre Ayton in the middle, their overall steady play of seniors Joel Berry III and Theo Pinson prove valuable in this matchup.

The Pick: North Carolina

 

Villanova vs. Michigan State

This is a must-see matchup between two teams that are very similar. You have outstanding NBA prospects all over the court for this one. However, the biggest difference between these two teams is that Villanova’s offense is better, and they should be able to make shots in a tightly contested game.

The Pick: Villanova

Championship game

Villanova vs. North Carolina

In a rematch of the 2016 NCAA Title game, Villanova has too many fresh bodies to throw at the Tarheels and comes away with their second title in three years for Coach Jay Wright.

The Pick: Villanova

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