The Pioneer

The Pioneer

March Madness Preview

Kenny Corcoran, Athletics Editor

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The tournament that captivates the sports world during March is the NCAA March Madness. The teams in the tournament and the brackets for the tournament were announced Sunday, March 11. The 4 #1 seeds leading the way are Villanova, Kansas, Xavier, and Virginia. Like any other March Madness, the championship is within reach for many different schools, with no top team being the definite winner.

For the third straight year, Seton Hall has made the tournament, with the pirates being ranked 8th in the midwest section of the tournament.  It will be a tough ride for the Pirates, as their first matchup is against 9th seed NC State, which could be a close competition. If Seton Hall does survive this game it would be unlikely for them to win the next, as their opponent would most likely be Kansas, the number one ranked team of the midwest.

The story of this tournament is the recent trend that top recruits for the NBA have gone to, going to a smaller school and making a name for themselves in the tournament.  The last two first picks of the 2016 and 2017 NBA draft both went to smaller colleges in terms of the basketball program. Ben Simmons, the first pick of the 2016 draft, went to LSU which is not known as a basketball college but more a big football school.  Markelle Fultz, the first pick of the 2017 draft, went to Washington State, a team with a horrific team excluding Fultz. This year that scenario remains for two potential first round NBA draft picks.

Michael Porter Jr. is a top recruit coming out of High School, ranked as a 5 star recruit by almost every recruiter.  Porter decided to go to the university of Missouri, where his dad has become an assistant coach. Missouri is not a big basketball school, as they are ranked 8th in the west section of the tournament.  It is hard to determine whether Porter will have a big impact in the tournament, since he went down very early in the season with a season ending injury. With the recovery process sped up, Porter was able to return on March 8, making him eligible to play in the tournament.  A major contributor to Porter’s choice to play was NBA recruiters pushing for him post injury.

Collin Sexton was another top recruit coming out of highschool, but he went a little under the radar as a freshman player.  Sexton too chose a small basketball school, the University of Alabama. Sexton has been the heart and soul of the crimson tide this season, and is looking to lead them deep into the March Madness tournament. Throughout both his highschool and college career Sexton has been overlooked by many, with a lot of people calling him overrated.  This is just fuel for him, since he feeds off of negativity and looks to prove that he is not overrated. The 9th ranked Alabama will look to become the underdogs of the tournament that so many will adore.

Although it is nice to see underdogs in any sports avenue, the underdogs will not always prevail.  It will be hard for teams to get past dominant schools such as Arizona, Gonzaga and Wichita State. It would not be shocking for a team like Gonzaga to win the tournament.  But do not forget to look out for the underdogs of the tournament, anything is possible when it comes to the NCAA March Madness.

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