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March Madness hasn’t disappointed: close games, major upsets, and stars in the making. For some of these players, the tournament is an opportunity to leave their mark forever on the game of basketball. For others, it’s a chance to show why they should be in the NBA. The field of sixteen is now set. Let’s take a look at the teams that remain. 


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Connecticut Huskies

Dominant players are getting taller with longer wingspans nowadays. If you have one on your team, you’ve already gotten a leg up. UConn has one such player in 7’2” Donovan Clingan. He’s dominant on both sides of the court with his nightmarish 7’6” wingspan. He has the ability to get himself open and the team readily gets him the ball. With the Huskies chucking threes from all over the court, a 7’2” big man weighing in at 280 lbs is just what you need grabbing boards. Watch for Stephon Castle to continue to grow his NBA stock. UConn hasn’t had the big scare yet, but they’re just so strong so far in the tournament. That being said, winning back to back championships are rare and the Huskies have a much larger target on their back than last year.

Purdue Boilermakers

Speaking of dominant big men, let’s talk about Zach Edey. After losing the chance to really showcase what he can do, after getting bounced early from the tournament last year, the big man is on a tear. He’s even gotten the attention of the President of the modern big men’s club, Shaquille O’neal, who has bestowed the nickname Zachille O’Neal on Edey. If I’m Victor Wembanyama, I’m hitting the weight room in anticipation of Edey coming to the NBA. Edey is a classic big man, complete with Shaq-esque rebounds. He’s got amazing cardio and has finesse at the rim. The Boilermakers getting to the sweet sixteen in convincing fashion may just be what the doctor ordered to get the past tournament mishaps behind them. This absolutely could be their year. 

Houston Cougars

Let’s face it, they’ve become a tournament institution and should be proud of the program they’ve built. Sleep on them at your own risk. They play disciplined defense and they buy into the team philosophy. Jamal Shead, Emanuel Sharp and L.J Cryer has the Cougars looking more like a 3 headed Cerberus. If any or all of them are hot, watch out. 

North Carolina

With a starting 5 that plays together better than any team in the tournament, North Carolina a headache to deal with. They have amazing point guard play, 3 point threats and are dominant on the boards. Try and stop the midrange and they’ll pass it out for a 3. Guard the outside and they’ll find a teammate in the paint. Miss on the other end and they’ll clean up the rebound. It’s an absolutely beautiful, egoless team ball.

Tennessee Volunteers

Defense wins championships and the Volunteers play it as well as anyone. What they don’t have however is a consistent offense. They have the ability to keep teams from scoring but they need to be able to put points on the board. 


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Marquette Golden Eagles

Here’s the thing with Marquette. They’re an attractive bet because of their monster shooting percentages. If they keep it up, they can be a problem for anyone to keep up with. If you’re a fan of dark horses with a tremendous upside, this is your team.

Arizona Wildcats

Always a dangerous team, the Wildcats have been tested in this tournament. Sometimes, a little scare is exactly what you need to get your team to believe they can claw their way back in any situation. Look for them to stay composed and find ways to win by any means necessary. 

Creighton Bluejays

It’s time for Creighton to prove themselves. They’ve got tall, long snipers from the outside, crafty veterans and are great in the paint. If they’re going to continue in the tournament they may need to rely on a little magic from Mason Miller who is absolutely shooting the lights out. Miller just may be the tournament miracle worker the Bluejays need late in the game.

Iowa Cyclones

They’ll smother you with defense, force turnovers and make you play to their tempo. They’re darn near 50% from 3 point land and have no fear of any team in the tournament. It’s a rough road though and there are some big shadows lurking around the corner if they do progress in the tournament. The Cyclones are an attractive bet and likely overlooked by many people. 

Illinois Fighting Illini

The Fighting Illini’s tournament hopes are carried on the shoulders of Terrence Shannon Jr. who is averaging 30+ points per game in their winning streak. They play several wings at once and everyone is capable of creating shots for themselves and their teammates. With sixteen left on the field, the legal troubles surrounding Shannon Jr. may be amplified under the media microscope which may be a distraction for a team that needs everything running smoothly if they want to reach the championship game. 

Duke Blue Devils

It wouldn’t be a tournament without Duke. The names and faces always change but the Blue Devils chances stay the same year in and year out. Filipowski and Proctor are tough to contain and, let’s face it. It’s just hard to bet against Duke on any given day.


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Gonzaga Bulldogs

Gonzaga was tested early on Saturday but then locked it in during the second half. They have to keep that amazing pick and roll going if they want to get past the next few games. 

NC State Wolfpack

A Cinderella team from the ACC? That doesn’t sound exactly right, but here we are. This team is riding on an improbable win streak, huge unlikely shots to keep their tournament alive and a massive upset removing a huge roadblock in their road to the sweet sixteen. If anyone is playing with house money, it’s them. The Wolfpack are basically living in their own feel good sports movie right now and it’s not a stretch to think that they might just have a little more magic left.

San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs are always underrated and overlooked yet they play consistently well in the tournament. With most of their players returning from last year, San Diego State will be looking for revenge on a UConn team that ended their tournament run. Look for the Aztecs to play stifling defense and be highly motivated to ruin the Huskies run. 

Clemson Tigers

A nightmare for oddsmakers, the Tigers seem to not only relish in their underdog status, but also making sure that the point spreads are wildly inaccurate. The underdogs with a vicious bite, they are a fun one to bet on. They find ways to win and if P.J. Hall can stay out of foul trouble, they may yet again ruin an oddsmaker’s night. 

Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide gets rid of the ball quickly. They play the game on roller skates and they don’t stop. Any team will need to slow them down and force them into a slow, set half court offense if they want to beat Alabama. The Tide are fun to watch but if they get shut down, it’s going to be a painful game for the Alabama faithful to watch. 

*Any tips, predictions, or strategies published are entirely the opinion of the author, and are not guaranteed to be correct or result in financial gain. The Author is not an employee of Bovada. 

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