Viva la Sport!

Viva+la+Sport%21

It’s time for that wonderful, wonderful time of the year called March Madness. Five weeks of win or go home basketball happen in this time of the year, with the two weeks of conference tourneys that ultimately matter more for mid-majors than the big schools, and then the Big Dance happens. I know I love soccer, but March Madness is by far the GREATEST time of the year. I’m here today to tell you about the five biggest chances for Cinderella teams in the tournament
like George Mason, VCU and Butler. Then, I will give you my Final Four.

Top Five Chances for Cinderellas (no particular order):
1. Belmont Bruins – Yes, Belmont has a realistic chance to make the Elite Eight. They have the players, experience, shooting percentage, size and favorable draw to make it this far. Georgetown is a beatable team for the Bruins, as they match up well against them. San Diego State and NC State will not be ready for Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark. I think they get by whoever upsets Kansas or they beat Kansas, and UNC will probably put an end to their plans in the Elite Eight though.

2. Harvard Crimson – Jeremy Lin’s alma mater (you know someone had to bring him up) has a pretty good draw with Vanderbilt and Wisconsin in consecutive rounds. Kyle Casey and Keith Wright both average in double figures, and a good win against Florida State shows that they can hang with the big boys. I don’t have them beating Syracuse, but it will be one tough game for the Orange one way or the other.

3. Colorado State Rams – Yes, this Mountain West team has played quite a few big boys, and it has had to roll with the punches often this year. The Rams beat Montana, Colorado, San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV, all of whom are tournament teams this year. Wes Eikmeier and Dorian Green average 15.6 and 13.5 points per game respectively, but as a team, they shoot the ball efficiently. However, they must get past Murray State and Marquette, both of whom are relatively under the radar at their seeding.

4. New Mexico State Aggies – While people know who the Aggies are, much like the Rams, they still are a lower seed and come in shooting lights out at the WAC tourney. They do have an interesting draw with an injured Indiana squad and a Wichita State in the second round, who stunned everyone a few years ago. Wendell McKines averages just under 19 points per game (18.8) and 10.8 rebounds, with that double-double average being a huge part of the success of the Aggies.

5. Xavier Musketeers – A mid-major squad that has become another Gonzaga in the past decade, the Musketeers are going to be a great draw in the East region. I have them upsetting both overrated Notre Dame and overrated Duke before bowing out versus Baylor. Xavier has experience, and they have won big games this year. They won at Vanderbilt, at home versus Purdue, and they won versus Cincinnati. Despite having lost five of their last 11 games, Xavier’s quartet of players averaging 10 points per game is going to be hungry for a few scalps in the tourney, especially the leading two at 17.0 and 15.5, Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons.

My Final Four: (East) No. 3 Baylor, (West) No. 2 Missouri, (Midwest) No. 1 UNC, (South) No. 3 Florida State
My Champions: Missouri over Florida State, 74-70

To view the entire bracket, visit mercercluster.com and check out every pick. I don’t justify every single one, but if you want to know, comment on the website, email me, post on my twitter page @gmcdowell90.