It’s March Madness, the greatest time of the year. Looking for some help with your bracket? Don’t know which teams to believe in, in this crazy college hoops season? We’ve got your back. We’re breaking down every first-round game in the field of 68, plus looking ahead at which teams will make the run to the Final Four.
6. Cincinnati ( 29-5, 16-2/AAC)–Maybe more than any team in the country, Cincinnati directly mirrors the personality of its head coach, Mick Cronin. That little dude is a fiery, feisty guy, and his Bearcats play that way on the court, too.
Nothing comes easy against Cincinnati, which holds opponents to just 60.5 points per game, which ranks fourth nationally. The Bearcats also score 75 points per, meaning they blew out most of their competition in the below-average AAC.
Senior guard Troy Caupain makes everyting go on offense for the Bearcats, as he averages 10 points and 4.6 assists per game. Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington, and Gary Clark are each capable of leading the team in scoring on any given night as well.
11. Kansas State ( 20-13, 8-10/Big 12)–Kansas State snuck into the Big Dance despite a losing record in conference thanks to some big wins–at Baylor and at home against West Virginia. The Wildcats also took Kansas to overtime in Lawrence, losing after a missed travel call on Svi Mykhailiuk. This team is stingy on defense, allowing just 66.9 points per game.
11. Wake Forest (19-13, 9-9/ACC)–It’s nice to see Wake Forest back in the dance. The Deacons hadn’t been to the NCAA’s since 2010, which is a long stretch of futility for a program that has produced Tim Duncan and Chris Paul. This group was deserving, too, after winning 9 games in the nation’s toughest conference.
Danny Manning has done a tremendous job so far in Winston-Salem, engineering a turnaround from a 2-16 season last year. This team is young, too, as its top three scorers (John Collins, Bryant Crawford and Keyshawn Woods) are all sophomores.
PREDICTION: K-State edges Wake in the First Four, but Cincinnati out-grinds them in a first-to-60 game in the Round of 64. The Bearcats fall to UCLA in the second round, though.