Ladies and gentlemen, March Madness is finally back. Beginning March 19 with the first four games, the tournament spans coast to coast for almost a month.
Here is an in depth look at each of the four regions.
Midwest: Top seeded Louisville won the Big East in dominating fashion, running through the tournament which is played in one of the world’s biggest sports venues, Madison Square Garden in New York. The Cardinals, who are led by veteran talent such as Peyton Siva and Russ Smith, are also the tournament’s top overall team. A sleeper to look out for is No. 7 Creighton, which is led by National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott, who has been one of the nation’s best forwards for almost his entire collegiate career. Regional Winner: No.1 Louisville.
West: It’s tough to call any No. 1 seed weak, but Gonzaga is probably worst of the four despite a 31-2 overall record, which is the nation’s best. Unfortunately, it was against a lot of competition from the West Coast Conference, which isn’t exactly a powerhouse conference. However, the West’s No. 2 seed, Ohio State, is definitely the best team without a No. 1 seed, particularly after winning the Big Ten Tournament, which has been arguably the nation’s best conference this season. Led by stars Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, this team definitely has tournament experience. Regional Winner: No.2 Ohio State.
South: No.1 Kansas is a perennial powerhouse, and this year is no exception. Led by star freshman Ben McLemore, this Jayhawk squad could go deep in the tournament, avoiding an early exit and a trip to the thrift shop. No. 2 Georgetown is looking to bounce back from a tough Big East tourney, but they will likely run into the third seeded Florida Gators in the third round. The Gators are another deep and proven team who made through a strong regular season slate and almost won the SEC tournament over a better than advertised Ole Miss squad. Regional Winner: No.3 Florida.
East: Indiana is the top seed in the fourth and final bracket after having a strong season in which it no doubt earned its top seed. Led by stud center Cody Zeller and arguably the nation’s best player in Victor Oladipo, the Hoosiers made a strong comeback this season before a surprising early exit from the Big Ten Tournament. Look for them to rebound in the big dance. No. 2 Miami proved the preseason predictions of being a middle of the pack ACC squad wrong, destroying Duke on its home court as well as handily dispatching North Carolina in both matchups this season en route to the ACC title. Sixth ranked Butler is looking to play the role of sleeper team once again. Look for Brad Stevens’ veteran squad to possibly make another deep run this year. Regional Winner: No.1 Indiana.
When it’s all said and done, look for Louisville coach Rick Pitino to raise the NCAA National Championship trophy.