Way too early March Madness predictions

Trevor Jones, Senior Staff Reporter

I know that March Madness is still months away. I also understand that an infinite amount of things involving an infinite amount of teams can change in that time.
However, based on rosters, initial player evaluations and intraconference competition, I believe I can make some fairly accurate predictions about the all-important tournament.
So far, there’s little to go off based on conference play, as many teams are still playing pretty much all out-of-conference games.
While this may give us a look into how the tournament itself will turn out, it doesn’t give us much of an idea of who exactly will be in the tournament to begin with. Because there is such a lack of information, I will restrict myself to only predicting the top four teams in each quarter of the bracket.
With that said, let’s go over who I believe will be the four number one seeds in the tournament.
Number one overall, Kentucky: If any team can recover from the totally embarrassing loss to an extremely obscure and mostly unheard of team like the almighty Purple Aces of Evansville, it’s Kentucky.
The only reason I have any confidence left in them is because even though they showed us their worst against Evansville, we’ve also already seen their best against Michigan State. When they’re on, they are absolutely frightening to deal with. With size and strength in bunches at the forward spots and the emerging star Tyrese Maxey running the point, they’re another classic example of why John Calipari is so highly praised as a coach across the nation.
Number two overall: Michigan State. After the Kentucky game, it’s hard to imagine MSU getting the number one overall unless Kentucky makes a real mess of their season. The bright side of the situation is that we still haven’t seen the full power of the Spartans, and there’s still a better Michigan State to be seen.
After making it to the Final Four last year, and losing hardly any seniors from their team, hopes are extremely high in East Lansing.
Number three overall: Gonzaga. Recovering from the loss to Michigan they recently suffered will be difficult, but such a talented roster can surely do it. Also, with hardly ever facing any good competition in the American Conference, it’s hard to see Gonzaga losing much this year before the tournament. If they don’t make a mess of their out of conference games and can hold off Saint Mary’s in their conference, they’re a lock for a number one seed in the tournament.
Number four overall: Duke. Duke is an outstanding team year in and year out. This isn’t quite the same Duke we saw last year, and loss of star power across the board undoubtedly hurts, but they’re still a great team and they still have arguably the greatest coach of all time.
Coach K will get them through the ACC as he always does, and to me, North Carolina is the only team threatening Duke’s spot.
The number two seeds: Louisville, Villanova, Maryland and Texas Tech. All four teams listed play in different conferences, which is great news for all of them. The fact that they don’t have to play each other all year until very deep into the tournament means they can power through their conferences and can spare some losses, which means they can all guarantee a high seed if they use their talent to the max.
Number three seeds: Seton Hall, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio State. Every single one of these teams is exciting to me, but I don’t think any are strong enough to win their conference and get a spot at one or two seed in the tournament.
Seton Hall particularly looks like a great team to me, with an impressive three point loss to Michigan State in their third game of the season.
Rounding out the predicted teams, the number four seeds: Kansas, Oregon, Florida and Memphis. The number four seeds have always scared me. They’re almost always great teams with high talent that always end up falling out of the tournament way too early. All of these teams look solid and all of them play in different conferences, which means all of them have good shots at getting a great seed. I have my doubts about all of them, but at the end of the day they are all solid teams.
As far as predictions for the results of the tournament, I’ll give out my Final Four and national champion. For the Final Four, I have Michigan State, Duke, Ohio State and North Carolina. Of course, these may not be possible due to seeding against each other, but if they each get seeded in separate parts, I believe it will turn out this way.
My sleeper for making a deep run in the tournament is the University of Michigan. With huge wins in the month of November, they’ve looked very impressive under new coach Juwan Howard. The only reason they aren’t inside my seeding predictions is because I’m predicting close losses to many teams inside the big ten that will cripple their chances of making it into the tournament as a top four seed.
These are all teams who love to show up an even better team in March, and who all have well known firepower.
As for my national champion, I’m picking Michigan State. The preseason AP number one overall team and the team with the most talent in the nation has looked good in the non-conference part of the season so far.
In my opinion, they’re talented and poised enough to win a title.