March Madness Preview


By Emma Schieffer, Staff Writer

Yesterday, March 14, was Selection Sunday for the NCAA Men’s Basketball March Madness Tournament. This marks the beginning of the end of the college basketball season. Covid-19 prevented the tournament from happening last year, but the popular sporting event is back in 2021.

Ryan Fagan of Sporting News previously predicted that Gonzaga, Michigan, Baylor, and Illinois will be the Number 1 seeds. Three of the predicted top seeds are not normally powerhouse basketball schools.

Gonzaga has been ranked number 1 all year. They do not play in a major conference, so there is a debate if they are only good since they do not play top teams. Gonzaga has been in March Madness every year since 1999 but has never won the tournament. They are known to always have a good regular season but fall short in winning the tournament. Gonzaga will be led by Corey Kispert, Drew Timme, and Jalen Suggs in the tournament as they have during the regular season. Per game, Kispert leads the team in points with 19.5, Timme leads with 7.1 rebounds, and Suggs leads in assists with 4.5.

Michigan clinched the Big 10 this year by beating Michigan State. They made it to the National Championship in 2018 but lost to Villanova. They also lost in the championship in 2013 to Louisville. Since 2009, Michigan has seen a pattern of losing in the Regional Semifinals. This year they have Hunter Dickinson who leads the team in points, rebounds, and blocks.

Baylor does not have a long history of being in the NCAA tournament, having only made 12 total appearances. The team also has never been a number one seed. This season Jared Butler and MaCio Teague are the teams’ point leaders. Assist leader Davion Mitchell and Mark Vital are also both key players for the Bears’ success.

Illinois is peaking after they beat Ohio State and Michigan in the past week. Illinois’ best player, Ayo Dosunmo, just came back from injury against Ohio State on Saturday after missing the Wisconsin and Michigan games. Center Kofi Cockburn is averaging 9.6 rebounds per game and has become the Illini’s best player in the absence of Dosunmo.

Drake, Boise State, Georgia Tech, and Saint Louis are predicted to be the last four in the tournament.
Traditional powerhouses like Duke, Kentucky, and Michigan State all are not guaranteed to be in the tournament and will need a deep run in their conference tournament to qualify for March Madness.
Local Big 10 schools have emerged during the 2021 season. The conference has 3 of the top 5 nationally ranked teams, and 4 in the top 7. Michigan is #2, Illinois is at #4, Iowa takes #5, and Ohio State rounds out the list at #7.

All games this year will happen in Indianapolis, rather than the beginning games being played in different regions across the country. The first four games of the tournament will be on Thursday, March 18th with coverage starting at 4 pm EST.