Marching into the Madness

Marching into the Madness

By Anthony Garcia

March 19, 2014

Favorites: University of Florida- According to Sportsbook.com, the Florida Gators have the highest odds of winning the 2014 NCAA tournament and are a heavy favorite in many people’s brackets. One reason why may be attributed to the fact that the Gators have played and beaten some of the toughest teams college basketball has to offer. They have beaten both the Wisconsin Badgers and the Connecticut Huskies on the road. They are led by senior center Patric Young, making the Gators defense in the paint one of the best in the country. The Gators are also coached by the future hall of famer Billy Donovan, leading them to be a force to be reckoned with in the tournament.

Underdogs: Brigham Young University- The BYU Cougars do not play in the strongest conference in the country nor are they a sexy pick to win the tournament, but they should be able to sneak into the dance. The problem is, what will they do once they make it there? BYU is coming into the tournament off of a loss to Gonzaga and they lost their star Kyle Collinsworth to a torn ACL. That’s not exactly the way you want to enter the NCAA tournament! Their resume is not the strongest either, with losses to weaker conference teams.

Sleeper: Xavier University- Playing in the Big East has both weakened Xavier but also made them battle-tested for March Madness. The Musketeers lost their star Matt Stainbrook during a stretch run of their season, which affected their overall record. But, his return could give hope to Xavier. The Musketeers are powered by their strong field goal percentage and their awareness to look for the best shot. Currently shooting at 47.3 percent, Xavier has proven they are a smart, offensive basketball team. If they can avoid the costly turnovers (12.8 a game), Xavier can be a team that breaks the brackets of many.

Title: Predicting the 64 NCAA teams

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A breakdown of where the 68 projected teams for the 2014 NCAA tournament come from according to teamrankings.com. Thirty-eight of the 68 teams are 100 percent guaranteed to enter the tournament, including the University of Florida, Duke University and UCLA among others. The University of Arizona has an 89.9 percent chance of landing a number one overall seed, the highest by far. Oklahoma State, despite having guard Marcus Smart, a potential top-five NBA draft pick, only has a 38 percent chance of making the tournament. As of this time, Georgia State University, Dayton University and the University of Minnesota have the lowest chances of entering the field, with percentages of 42, 53 and 55 respectively.