March Madness is comings and it’s time for a couple of fearless predictions (click here for online betting, by the way).
1) With three teams in the top five, it’s safe to say that anything short of sending a team to the NCAA championship game would be a letdown for Big Ten basketball. But consider this: The conference hasn’t had a national champion since 2000 (Michigan State) and has only sent four teams to the Final Four since 2006.
Here’s one reason why: The league’s teams play the slowest brand of basketball of any major conference in the country. Over the last five years, only two teams have finished inside the top 50 in the country in scoring.
They beat up on each other all year, but when it’s time to play a run-and-gun offense in the post season, these teams often struggle to keep the pace. Indiana could certainly change that this year; but don’t be surprised if the Big Ten ends up the Big Flop.
2) UNLV can get to the Final Four. They were one of the most talented teams in the country a year ago, but they kind of ran out of gas at the end of the season and then got a bad matchup in the tournament.
With one of the best recruiting classes in the country and Mike Moser back, the Rebels could officially return to prominence this year.
3) An all-Kentucky national championship game is worth betting on. Louisville might be the best team in the country and Kentucky again brings in the best recruiting class. If they played today, Louisville would be the favorite. If they play in March, it’s hard to best against John Calipari.
4) Sleeper alert: Baylor has a real chance to unseat Kansas as the kings of the Big 12. With a star-studded recruiting class and one of the nation’s best backcourts, this is a team that can make a serious run. They won’t win 30 games again because it will take a few months to put it all together, but I wouldn’t want to play the Bears in March.
5) Final Four Prediction: Louisville, Kentucky, UNLV, Florida.
Louisville over Kentucky in the finals.