It’s the time of the year we’ve all been waiting for… March Madness. Especially after missing a year, the tournament is back. One week away from Selection Sunday, here are some teams to look out for in the tournament for both early upsets and deep runs.
The UConn Huskies have returned to the Big East Conference this season after spending some years in the American Athletic Conference. They have played very well in conference play, with an 11-6 record. James Bouknight, a lottery projected NBA prospect, is the Huskies’ best player. Bouknight adds 20 points every game. He had elbow surgery earlier this season, so he missed a few weeks. The Huskies are 10-2 with him in the lineup and 4-4 without him. Since returning from injury, UConn has climbed the rankings and has shown a late push. When filling out your bracket, consider this team’s potential.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have emerged as a sleeper team leading up to the tournament. They are currently fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with conference wins against Clemson, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. They also beat a ranked Kentucky team earlier in the season. The Yellow Jackets are riding a five-game win streak leading into the ACC conference tournament.
Senior Moses Wright is averaging eighteen points but has been playing significantly better the past five games. With their strong play as of late, Georgia Tech will most likely be an eleven seed. Note that the eleven seed vs. six seed games usually end in an upset. Better eleven seeds also stand a chance to win the next round against a three seed, barring the opportunity to play the fourteen seed. If given a favorable matchup, don’t sleep on Georgia Tech’s chances to win.
Wichita State Shockers
The Wichita State Shockers are atop the American Athletic Conference. They are 11-2 in conference play and are currently ahead of a ranked Houston team and Memphis. The Shockers are on a seven-game win streak. Guard Tyson Etienne carries the Shockers contributing seventeen plus points every game with a few rebounds and assists. With a win against twelfth-ranked Houston, the Shockers can certainly upset a higher-ranked team in the tournament’s first two rounds.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Led by Cade Cunningham, a top-three prospect in the NBA Draft 2021, Oklahoma State is a team to watch. They play in the highly competitive Big 12 Conference. They are 11-7 in conference play with critical wins against Kansas, West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma twice, and Texas Tech twice. However, the Cowboys might not be postseason eligible after a ban last summer for recruiting violations. But if the NCAA doesn’t decide by Selection Sunday, Oklahoma State has a very impressive resume and should be on your radar.
Florida State Seminoles
The Florida State Seminoles are second in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles have a deep roster, and all players contribute significantly to the team’s success. Scottie Barnes is the team’s most talented player, a projected NBA lottery pick. ESPN expert Seth Greenberg thinks very highly of this team, even as a potential national champion. The Seminoles shoot 40% from three and have a strong-powered offense. With a coach known for strong defensive play and this team’s strong offensive play, big tournament hopes look great.
After a 71-58 victory against the second-ranked Baylor team, the Kansas Jayhawks are a team to watch. They have vital wins against a ranked Kentucky team, Creighton, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech, twice. A key for the Jayhawks will be carrying over the momentum from beating Baylor. They have a very balanced roster, so they don’t rely on one player to carry the team. Kansas has experience in the tournament that is going to help in their favor.
West Virginia Mountaineers
The West Virginia Mountaineers were one of the unfortunate teams to have to face Gonzaga before conference play. Luckily for them, they only lost by five. Now, West Virginia has come a long way since then and will be projected well for the tournament. In the highly competitive Big 12 conference, the Mountaineers rank third amongst seven top twenty-five teams. Their quality wins include a ranked Richmond team, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech twice, Kansas, and Texas. They also went into overtime against Baylor and eventually lost.
They will ultimately be put to the test when they face the top seeds in their region. With close games against two of the top teams in the country, West Virginia has shown that they are a severe threat to the opposing team.