FAVORITE SCHOOLS TO WIN MARCH MADNESS 2018

March, oh March! What a month to be a college basketball fan. As March Madness approaches, we can already feel the excitement and the atmosphere of those elimination games. The tournament bracket is printed and waiting for you to start writing the team names, round by round. And while everybody likes to try to predict the results and choose the national champion, there’s always a surprise team that makes this mission almost impossible. But taking a closer look, which teams really are the early favorites to make it to the NCAA tournament final and be crowned as the champions? Here’s our list!

Villanova

Last season, Villanova was the #1 seed in East Regional but things didn’t go the way the school planned. After an easy win against Mount St. Mary’s in the first round, the Wildcats were upset by #8 seed Wisconsin in the next game. But this year, the team continues to be one of the favorites for lifting the NCAA trophy.
With a team 3-point field goal percentage of almost 40%, Villanova’s roster is ready to shot from longer distances. And, as we learned in recent years, three-pointers can make a huge difference not only in a game but in a tournament too.
Player to watch: Jalen Brunson leads the team in both assists and points per game.

Virginia

2017 Virginia’s narrative was different from Villanova’s one, but the outcome was the same: a second-round elimination. Sure, Florida was a strong opponent. But nobody expected a 26-point difference. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers still have a nice group of players and hope for better luck this year.
Virginia’s biggest strength is its defense, allowing opponents to score less than 53 points per game. Led by Isaiah Wilkins and his 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, this is a well-disciplined group. The logic is simple: the less your opponent scores, the greater your chance to win.
Player to watch: Ty Jerome is doing a bit of everything to contribute, leading the team in assists, steals and being third in points per game.

North Carolina

After beating Gonzaga in last season’s Championship Game, North Carolina will try to become the first back-to-back NCAA champion since Florida accomplished the feat in 2006-2007. Losing All-American Justin Jackson to NBA sure hurts the team’s chances of winning. But there’s still talent in this group.
With five players averaging double-digit points per game, Tar Heels’ offense is the team’s strength. If the defense is capable of displaying some decent performances during March Madness, North Carolina has a chance of fighting for the NCAA title again.
Player to watch: Luke Maye leads the team in points per game and rebounds, and is the key to the Tar Heels success.

Michigan State

After falling in the second round of March Madness in 2017, Michigan State comes with a strong roster for its 2018 campaign.
Highlighted by young and promising star Miles Bridges, the Spartans head to the tournament with a complete team, mixing talent and experience. If the offense keeps producing at the same pace and the defense continues doing its job, Michigan State will be a huge challenge for the opponents.
Player to watch: Bridges is drawing tons of – deserved – attention. But let’s keep an eye on freshman Jaren Jackson Jr., who averaged more than 11 points, almost 6 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.