The chances of someone getting a perfect bracket are one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. Last year, after the 3rd game of the first round 99% of all brackets were eliminated according to CBS.
But this is why everyone loves March Madness. Statistical wizards who try to figure everything out numerically still have the same chance as a person who picks based on their favorite jersey color.
This year's tournament is not as one-sided as past years. This being said I believe that the selection committee was harsh to mid-majors. Monmouth did not make the draw. Monmouth beat the 6th seed in Notre Dame and the 8th seed in USC, with other impressive road wins against large programs like UCLA and Georgetown. Monmouth won their regular-season MAAC conference yet they lost the conference title against Iona. They finished with an impressive 27-7 record yet still they were not selected for the tournament. The NCAA should not be so harsh and base their decisions off of conference title games, but rather look at the whole picture and reward a mid-major for beating some blue chip programs.
That is my take on the selection process. Now lets move on to the tournament itself and to some of the sleeper teams.
Providence is definitely a sleeper. They have Kris Dunn, a potential lottery pick and Ben Bentil, a sophomore who burst onto the scene after only averaging 6.4 points last year. Recently, Bentil has put up outstanding numbers. In a nine game stretch from late January to early March, Bentil averaged around 27 points and 7 rebounds. Look for Providence to make it passed the first round and give UNC a run for their money.
Wichita State is another team that will put a scare into 6th seeded Arizona. Of their past 23 games the Shockers only lost three. They had a rough start to their season but that was primarily because they were playing without their star point guard Fred VanVleet. Along with senior sharp shooter Ron Baker both guards have helped Wichita play at such a high level throughout their four years. After dismantling Vanderbilt in the first four, Wichita will look to capitalize off of their momentum. Look for Wichita to make a deep run in this year's tournament.
Gonzaga has always been a big fish in a small pond. They always receive a lot of crap for playing in a small conference with schools like the University of Portland and the University of San Diego, and also for producing Adam Morrison, who was one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history. This being said, they have easily one of the best backcourts in college hoops. Kyle Wiltjer is an extremely skilled big man who can stretch the floor. He shot 42.4% this year from three point land and averaged over 20 points a game. Domontas Saboins is a more athletic, back-to-the-basket type of player who is moving up on NBA draft boards. Saboins averaged around 11.5 rebound this year and is showing signs of being a very promising player in the future. Look for Gonzaga to make a push for the sweet sixteen this year.
This will be a very exciting March Madness. When filling out your bracket don’t forget to look at the sleepers.
By Ian Riaf