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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Baylor, Tennessee among teams to watch

“March Madness” has been madness in more ways than most of us thought.

It started on day one with Ohio State losing to Dayton, and continued to the second day with Duke losing to Mercer.

Although those are the two biggest name upsets, looking back you have seen some of them coming. Dayton was a popular upset pick in many brackets because of the type of year Ohio State was having, but not many people expected them to be in the Sweet Sixteen right now.

I can honestly say that I know of three people who picked Mercer over Duke in their brackets, and they were completely legitimate picks. I can honestly say that I know a lot more people who had Duke in the Final Four or the Elite Eight.

Being a Duke fan I cringed at each and every travel that was called on the Blue Devils, which had to be somewhere in the double digits. But the part of me that knew I had money on the line was laughing at my friends who had Duke going so far. The first day brought the most madness as there were four overtime games as well as four additional games decided by four points or more. The rest of the weekend brought us some of the same magic as there are three double digit seeds in the Sweet Sixteen. We lost a one seed in Wichita State and a two seed in Villanova.

We saw the streets of Dayton go crazy this weekend after they upset Syracuse in the third round and clinched their bid to the Sweet Sixteen. It shouldn’t come as a surprise; Dayton is a very good team and most people don’t remember they were a ranked team at one point in the year.

Now that the Sweet Sixteen is set we can talk about the teams that are there and which ones still have a legitimate chance to make a Final Four. In all reality the wins of Dayton and Stanford just about sealed the Florida Gators chances to make the Final Four. We have seen crazier things, but I don’t see any team in that bracket beating the Gators.

The matchup between Virginia and Michigan State could very much produce the best game of the tournament for us. Both play great defense but Michigan State has too many and too much versatility for the Cavaliers. In that same region we could be in for the most exciting game of the year between Iowa State and UConn. We will have two of the most exciting players in the country dueling in Iowa State’s Deandre Kane and UConn’s Shabazz Napier.

There are two team’s bandwagons that people need to be jumping on right now. One team I stated previously, and that is Baylor. This team destroyed one of the most efficient offenses in Creighton. If they are able to score again I have no doubt they will beat Wisconsin and even Arizona.

The second team is Tennessee. I have them in my Elite Eight losing to Louisville because I have no doubt this defensive and physical team will make it tough for Michigan. They could even beat Louisville if their defense comes to play like it has throughout the tournament.

Hopefully your bracket is still intact after the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. If so, congratulations, you are the minority. But if you are like some of my friends and your bracket is already in the trash, root for the upsets, the underdogs and even more madness.

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