It’s pretty safe to say that as soon as Kris Jenkins’ 3-pointer made Villanova a national champion, somebody predicted what the 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket would look like.
Waiting until the start of the season doesn’t seem to be too smart of an idea either, but what the heck? Here’s one man’s early predictions for March Madness, which is four months and approximately 10,500 games away.
This won’t be a line-by-line breakdown, but rather a cut-and-run look at what might happen.
EARLY ROUNDS: The first question always is, will a 16 seed beat a No. 1 for the first time? Not this season. There just doesn’t seem to be any champions from the low Division I conferences that can pull the monumental upset. Watch Texas Southern of the Southwestern Athletic Conference be the one that scares a tournament favorite.
There has to be a No. 12 beating a 5 (it’s not in the rule book, but close) and this year’s dandy dozen will be Princeton. The Tigers are a veteran team that should emerge from the Ivy League and then ruin the tournament for a possible 5 seed like Rhode Island. The other could be No. 12 Belmont of the Ohio Valley Conference against a Big 12 team like Texas.
For those fans of close seedings, the 8-9 games are always entertaining and usually close. Four 8-9 winners could be Notre Dame, Iowa State, San Diego State and Colorado.
Of those four winners, watch for Notre Dame and Iowa State to knock off No. 1 seeds Kansas and Villanova, meaning no repeat champion.
REGIONAL ROUNDS: Having sent two No. 1s home early, it will be Duke and North Carolina carrying on the mantle for the favorites.
The No. 2 seeds in Kansas and Villanova’s brackets are Oregon and Kentucky and they move on to the regional finals where they both lose, the Ducks to West Virginia and the Wildcats to Louisville in the most-hyped game of the tournament and one that is the epitome of an intrastate rivalry.
Duke and North Carolina knock off No. 4 seeds UCLA and Michigan State to reach the Final Four as No. 1 seeds.
It’s Wisconsin and Virginia moving on to the Final Four with the wins over Oregon and Kentucky.
FINAL FOUR: Despite the pleas of many, the Final Four will be held in Glendale, Arizona, rather than moving it to Tobacco Road for the Blue Devils against the Tar Heels. Virginia, which gives the Atlantic Coast Conference three teams in the national semifinals, beats Wisconsin in a defensive battle. Duke finds a way to beat the Tar Heels, with the freshmen playing a huge role for Mike Krzyzewski.
An all-ACC matchup between Duke and Virginia goes to the Blue Devils, title No. 7 for Coach K.
DISCLAIMER: Everything listed above is just a guess unless it really happens; then it was a well-thought out selection based on extensive knowledge.