It seems every expert is giving Creighton no respect. The best team field-goal percentage in the country coupled with Dougie “Fresh” McDermott could make a mini-run in the tourney. With a
second round matchup against Cincy, most analysts are picking the Bearcats over the Bluejays. This matchup will be Sean Kilpatrick versus Doug McDermott because each player will be taking the bulk of the shots. Cincy finished the season 4-7, and needed overtime to beat a terrible USF club in the opening round of the Big East Tournament. Cincinnati is a very good rebounding team, but that will be a non-issue if Creighton continues to shoot the way they have all season. Cincy is 305th in the country in field goal percentage, they struggle on offense, and I think Creighton runs away with this one. Creighton’s third round matchup will put them up against the vaunted Duke Blue Devils. Creighton will look most certainly at Maryland’s two victories over Duke this year as a method to prepare. I think this will be one of the most surprising upsets in the first week. McDermott will dominate this game and I see them gashing the Dukies from three. A stunner in the third round puts Creighton in the second week of this tourney.
Minnesota started the season 15-1 and then really started to play the best of the best. From then on they went 5-11, but that was not without some impressive victories in a very difficult Big Ten Conference. Those included wins over 3-seed Michigan State, 1-seed Indiana, and 5-seed Wisconsin. The Golden Gophers second round matchup is against 6-seed UCLA. In their last game, the Pac-12 Championship, UCLA fell to Oregon, but also lost their second-leading scorer and best free throw shooter Jordan Adams. Adams broke his foot and will miss the rest of the season — a major blow to the Bruins. Minnesota will dominate the glass because they are 17th in rebounding compared to UCLA being 97th in the country. Without Adams and faced against a top rebounding squad, expect an 11-6 upset here. Their third round matchup will most likely pit them against 3rd seeded Florida in what some will say is a walk-over for the Gators. Well, they’re wrong! If you thought UCLA couldn’t rebound, check out Florida. The Gators are 158th in the country compared to Minnesota at 17th which will result in another glass cleaning for Minnesota. Ole Miss just beat Florida and I don’t see too much in them. Minnesota is a squad that has wins versus Indiana, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. Another huge upset here has the 11th seeded Gophers in the Sweet 16.
The years of Steph Curry are long gone, but Davidson is still a dangerous sleeper in this year’s tournament. The Wildcats shoot the three-ball more than most teams as five players have made at least 25 of them this year. They also are the best free throw shooting team in the country at just over 80%. Jake Cohen and De’Mon Brooks lead the way for Davidson, and if they stay out of foul trouble, unlike last years’ tournament, the ‘Cats are deadly. They face a Marquette team that relies on Vander Blue to lead the way. If the Wildcats can contain Blue, then Marquette will struggle to search for other options. Davidson is experienced and I can see a huge upset here. The third round will have them most likely up against Butler, who will give them a tougher test than Marquette. Butler has numerous weapons they use to beat teams, one being Rotnei Clarke. Clarke is a deadly three-point shooter, and is not afraid to take the big shot. A huge weapon Butler has is head coach Brad Stevens, who is a basketball wizard. It will take a lot to beat the Bulldogs, but an upset win over Marquette could give Davidson the confidence and fuel to overcome Butler.
Other Possibilities But We Wouldn’t Count On it:
#10 Colorado over #7 Illinois and then #2 Miami
#8 UNC over #9 Villanova and then #1 Kansas
#8 Pittsburgh over #9 Wichita St and then #1 Gonzaga