NCAA bracket predictions: Illinois will win it all in men’s tournament


Hi, it’s James — the guy who went to the wrong college by accident, and eater of gross foods on the internet because other people do it first. That preamble is a way of letting you know that I am an intensely serious person with strong takes and a peerless record for accuracy.

I’ve created a men’s March Madness bracket for you, and you know this one is legit because I didn’t have my alma mater UNC Greensboro going all the way. Sorry Spartans, but y’all ain’t it. I still love you though, and hope I can one day be added to the “notable alumni” section of your Wikipedia, like Samwell.

My upsets

I’ve got UCSB over Creighton in the opening round, partly because I like the Gauchos chance to surprise in the tournament — and partly because my coworker Hector Diaz went there, and I like Hector to be happy.

Then I have them going on to beat Virginia, which I know will annoy my other coworker Caroline Darney, but I have been burned by UVA so many times in the tournament. I also get in my head a little too much when I fill out brackets, and try to force upsets sometimes knowing they can win a pool. So use that information however you’d like.

I have no official affinity for Winthrop, but the numbers speak to me. Great shooters who can get streaky on a dime, and just one loss this season on a back-to-back. I think they are best poised to break out in the first round abd bust a million brackets in the process.

I don’t know if you could call Georgetown an “upset,” but the seeding says they are. I love how the Hoyas play, and they’re red hot right now. I can’t believe Patrick Ewing didn’t get an NBA coaching job after years as an assistant. I think they’re confident, playing well, and that’s why I have them going deep.

Explaining the Final Four

This was a bit of a shocker for me too, but it’s largely how the bracket broke. It’s a little too chalky for my liking, but I just don’t see how anyone gets past Baylor and Illinois in the South and Midwest respectively.

I like this bracket for Texas a lot. It’s a pretty favorable path to the Final Four, and and I think it lines up the strength to reach the national championship. The Longhorns are one of those teams that played a brutal schedule this season, and faired pretty well. This means I see the potential for them to go deep.

Ultimately I have Illinois winning it all. The team is so good, and I think the bracket breaks really favorably for them this year. There’s plenty of surprise potential in the lower seeds for upsets, but they’re further away from Illinois that they won’t see a Cinderella until later in the tournament.



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