March Madness is fast approaching and this year’s tournament promises to deliver its usual amount of thrilling match-ups.
The 81st edition of the NCAA Men’s division basketball championship is scheduled to begin on March 19 and will conclude with the final game on April 8 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The tournament is always eagerly anticipated, with 68 teams battling to claim the prestigious trophy. The Duke Blue Devils have been a popular pick with pundits making March Madness predictions this season and remain favourites to win the tournament.
However, two defeats in three games towards the end of February have shown that they are not infallible. Star freshman Zion Williamson missed their recent 77-72 defeat against Virginia Tech and Duke will be eager to see him return in time for March Madness.
That result left the Blue Devils with a 24-4 record during the regular season, but this talented group of players have the ability to go a long way in the tournament. Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish will be much sought-after commodities in the next NBA Draft and Duke are still the team to beat despite their recent troubles.
Virginia Tech’s victory over Duke showed that they could be a force to reckoned with at March Madness. The Hokies led for nearly 33 minutes, before holding their nerve late on to secure a memorable victory. Kerry Blackshear Jr finished the game with 23 points from 11 shots and grabbed 10 rebounds – he will be one to watch during the post-season tournament.
Gonzaga Bulldogs are prominent in the betting having enjoyed an impressive campaign. The Bulldogs have also defeated Duke this season and it would be dangerous to underestimate their chances. Other potential contenders include Virginia Cavaliers, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Kentucky Wildcats and Tennessee Volunteers.
Reigning champions Villanova Wildcats are another team who could come into contention, although they have gone off the boil a little in recent weeks. Despite this, if the Wildcats can rediscover their early season form, they could be a serious threat as they bid to clinch their third March Madness title in the last four years.