2021 March Madness Overview/Predictions

March Madness is back!


Photo Courtesy of NCAA

Kaleb Steele, Staff Writer

A typical college basketball season consists of: 26 regular season games, conference tournaments, first four tournaments, selection Sunday, and then March Madness. The first four tournament allows lower ranking teams to do a play-in tournament to make it into the bracket on selection night. Selection Sunday is always the second Sunday in March.  This year it will be on ESPN on March 14th at 7:00 PM EST.  The NCAA college commissioner is the main person that announces the bracket teams.  The ranking of the teams is determined by a few factors.  The top twenty-five teams automatically are in the tournament.  Next, any team that won their conference is added to the tournament.  Finally, the teams are ranked by statistics to gain the final spots in the bracket. The March Madness tournament consists of sixty-four teams within four regions: East, South, Midwest, and West. All the games are single elimination games to advance through the bracket.  The first four rounds of the bracket, round of 64, round of 32, the sweet sixteen, and the elite eight, are played at courts located inside their region. Once they win their region, they move onto the “Final Four”. This game is usually played at a NBA court close to both regions.  Finally, the two winners of each region will face each other at the “National Championship” located at a random NBA arena. However, due to COVID-19,  March Madness will be played in a bubble.  The tournament will still be divided into the four regions and will take place from March 18th through April 5th.  All the games and players will remain in a restricted area in Indianapolis, IN. The NCAA will also be allowing twenty-five percent capacity at arenas for March Madness. The beginning rounds are played throughout the day because these rounds have a lot more games then the later rounds. The final four rounds start later in the day to get more of a primetime feel and increase viewership because most people will be home and available.


This year the College basketball season has been different compared to others; from players getting tested daily and games being postponed for positive Covid tests, to teams that were not playing to their historic expectations. As an example, Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky are usually successful in college basketball, but this year they are not looking like contenders. This year Kentucky is even under a five hundred record. Last time Kentucky didn’t make the March Madness tournament was the 2013-2014 season. My predictions for teams to look out for this year are: Tennessee Volunteers, Michigan Wolverines, Illinois Fighting Illini, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Kansas Jayhawks, and Houston Cougars. These teams have been dominant throughout despite these teams either having a low ranking or being unranked at the beginning of the season. My predictions for teams that are on upset watch are: Gonzaga Bulldogs, Ohio State Buckeyes, Florida State Seminoles, and BYU Cougars. Gonzaga and BYU both play in a weak conference and have a really easy schedule. FSU and Ohio State are both good teams but they have a very weird balance to how they play. They either dominate their competition and play great or they play horrible and disappoint. My predictions for the Cinderella teams (teams that are low seed but have a good team) are: Loyola Chicago Ramblers, Grand Canyon Antelopes, and the Liberty Flames. These teams always come out the gate and fight. It’s always a challenge to beat these teams even though they’re from small conferences.


Andy Katz is one of the most accurate analysts when it comes to March Madness predictions. His predictions on 3-4-2021 are shown in the bracket. My predictions for the Final Four are: Michigan Wolverines vs Baylor Bears, Iowa Hawkeyes vs Illinois Fighting Illini. My predictions for the National Championship are: Michigan Wolverines vs Illinois Fighting Illini. I believe the Michigan Wolverines will win in a close game.