Selection Sunday is almost here folks, it is almost time for the greatest three weeks in basketball. On Sunday, the Selection Committee will announce the field of 68 that will make up this year’s tournament. 24 conference champions will be crowned in the coming days, who will receive automatic bids and the other 44 teams will receive at large bids. According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, these are some of the bubble teams. All of them have the opportunity to build their resumes, with some impressive wins in the conference tournament.
Here are my predictions…
Team 1: Louisville Cardinals
The Louisville Cardinals are usually an NCAA tournament staple, but are on the bubble this season. The Cardinals need at least one win in the ACC Tournament over a ranked team to have any shot of making the tournament. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they will have that opportunity after defeating Florida State in the first round.
With the win they will face the number one seeded Virginia Cavaliers in the quarterfinals. Louisville nearly beat them a week ago, but Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter banked in a game winning three at the buzzer. They had a four point lead in the final five seconds, but the Cavaliers pulled off a historic comeback.
While the Cardinals should be able to compete with the Cavaliers, their smothering defense will prove too much resulting in the Cardinals quarter final exit. Making it a competitive game with Virginia should be just enough for Louisville to sneak into the tournament.
Verdict: NCAA Tournament Bound
Team 2: Marquette Golden Eagles
The Marquette Golden Eagles are fortunate enough to play in what is usually one of the most entertaining conference tournaments every year, the Big East Tournament. They are on the outside looking in and need at least one upset win to increase their tournament chances. Defeating the Depaul Demon Deacons in round one, they will have that opportunity.
Defeating Villanova would significantly strengthen their tournament resume, but the Wildcats are too talented and have too much depth. Marquette will make it a competitive game lead by their point guard Andrew Rousey, but Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges will prove too much.
Verdict: NIT Bound
Team 3: Oklahoma State
The Cowboys are one of the more intriguing teams in the Big 12 conference coming off what was their best game of the season defeating #6 Kansas 82-64. They had a tough first round matchup in the Big 12 tournament against one of the best players in college basketball Trae Young and the Oklahoma Sooners.
In order for the Cowboys to have any shot of making the tournament they need to first defeat Oklahoma. They were able to do this successfully and will get another opportunity to take down the Jayhawks. Defeating Oklahoma is an important win, but Devonte Graham and Kansas will prove too tough for the Cowboys who will narrowly miss out on the NCAA tournament.
Verdict: NIT Bound
Team 4: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame is the most talented and experienced of these four teams. Notre Dame also has the best player, Bonzie Colson who missed most of this season with a foot injury. He returned just in time for the conference tournament and beyond. In addition to Colson the Irish have veteran point guard Matt Farrell picked up much of the burden while Colson was out.
Similar to the other three teams, they need at least one marquee win in the conference tournament to increase their tournament chances. They already defeated Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech after coming back from down 21 points. With a win over the Hokies, next up is Grayson Allen, Marvin Bagley, and The Duke Blue Devils.
Coach Mike Brey will certainly have his team prepared to play on back to back days and the Irish will defeat the Hokies. After defeating the Hokies, the duo of Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell will outduel Grayson Allen and Marvin Bagley, resulting in an upset win for the Irish.
Defeating VT and Duke will be enough for the Irish to make the NCAA Tournament and potentially do some damage.
Verdict: NCAA Tournament BoundDownload the Free GoingFor2 App by Clicking Here...