In case the banner didn’t give it away, welcome, readers, to the holiest of months!
We have two of the best days of the sports year ahead, and some women’s basketball.
The good news is, for a select few schools out there, you have a shot at competing in both the Men’s and Women’s tournaments this season! How exciting is that? For others, such as South Dakota State, Iowa, and Maryland, you have to suffrage through the remainder of the month.
But we’re not here to focus on those schools. Let’s get down to business: which school has the best shot of winning (please, no more Charlie Sheen) both tournaments? Give up? Man, this wasn’t even a tough one. Well, to help you along in the process, I’ve identified my top 5 schools that have a shot at going all the way in both tournaments, along with my predictions on where they’ll actually finish.
Just missed the cut: Purdue (Men #3, Women #9), Kansas State (Men #5, Women #8), UCLA (Men #7, Women #3), Georgetown (Men #6, Women #5)
5. Notre Dame (Men #2, Women #2)
Not a bad combo here! Notre Dame’s men finally got their act together this year, molding together another great offense with a much-improved defense. The women’s team has consistently been in the Top 15 for most of the last decade. Both teams have tough but winnable games on tap, and should cruise into the second weekend. But this is before they meet up with the big dogs (Kansas and Tennessee, respectively). Prediction: Men – Elite 8, Women – Elite 8
4. UNC (Men #2, Women #5)
I think this one has some legs. Men have been playing extremely well since making the most necessary switch at PG to Marshall, and women have a good leader in Italee Lucas. Still, the guys will have to get through top-seed Ohio State, while the girls have to battle it out with UConn-slayers Stanford. Prediction: Men – Elite 8, Women – Sweet 16
3. UConn (Men #3, Women #1)
Tough to label the Huskies as anything but the favorites given the dominance of the women’s team. But just eyeballing a team that played 5 games in 5 days, in a bracket with Duke, San Diego State, and Texas, and you’d have to believe they’re living on borrowed time. Can’t say I’d pick against the women, but the men have a huge uphill battle to make it out of the region. Prediction: Men – Round of 32, Women – NCAA Champions
2. Duke (Men #1, Women #2)
The men won it all last year with a worse team. Picking them to go out early this year seems…well, stupid. Put aside the hatred and just pick them to do well again. The women have a great team (only 3 losses), but will need to go through one of the two teams that beat them this year (likely UConn). We’re looking for winners here, not almost winners. Prediction: Men – NCAA Runner-Up, Women – Elite 8
1. Ohio State (Men #1, Women #4)
I think we know plenty about the men already. The women had a few skids during the season, but have really hit their stride (9 in a row, including the Big 10 Championship). There’s no better time to be a Buckeye! (We’re still talking about the basketball season, right?) Pressed to bet on any school, I’d take THE men and women from Columbus. Prediction: Men – NCAA Champions, Women – Final Four
Well there you have it, the picks are in, and we’ve got a lot of great basketball on, but not from, the Horizon. For those who took time off on Thursday and Friday, great move, and I hate you.