Think twice before relying on teams like Michigan and Kansas in your March Madness bracket pool.
The return of March Madness means it’s time to get back into the bracket pool business. Filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket can often be a frustrating exercise if that team you just knew was going to the Final Four gets bounced in the Round of 32.
Bad choices by the selection committee can also influence the way the matchups play out but the smart thing to do is be aware of squads that are trending in the wrong direction. Let’s take a look at five teams that could totally bust your bracket, beginning with the Michigan Wolverines.
Teams that will bust your March Madness bracket
5. Michigan Wolverines
The top seed in the East Region, the Wolverines have a major problem on their hands in the form of a key injury to Isaiah Livers, who missed Michigan’s loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament. Livers is one of the Wolverines’ best defenders and a real glue guy for Juwan Howard’s team, making his potential absence a major problem.
The draw isn’t kind for the Wolverines either, who have a tricky second-round matchup against the 8-9 winner of LSU and St. Bonaventure with Florida State looming in the Sweet 16. Michigan isn’t the same team without Livers and could get picked off early if he’s not around for the NCAA Tournament.
4. Kansas Jayhawks
One of the few traditional blue bloods to make the field, Kansas finished the season strong and ended up with a No. 3 seed in the West Region. Besides the obvious COVID concerns for the Jayhawks, Bill Self’s team is a very small one, relying on David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot to be their interior presence at the five.
Kansas could have a major problem based on its draw, which could see USC and Pac-12 Player of the Year Evan Mobley come along to dominate down low. Surviving the Trojans means a shot at Iowa’s Luka Garza, the nation’s most dominant center, so don’t bet on the Jayhawks to go too far in your bracket.
3. Virginia Cavaliers
Another team that was forced to withdraw from its conference tournament due to COVID issues, Virginia hasn’t been that impressive for most of the season. The Cavaliers won the ACC without being either of the league’s top contenders, Virginia Tech or Florida State, and their methodical style of play leaves Virginia vulnerable to an early upset.
The defending national champs could have trouble as early as the first round with 13-seed Ohio, a talented team with a legitimate NBA prospect in guard Jason Preston. Surviving that matchup would likely mean a date with Creighton, which can nail a ton of outside jump shots to beat the Pack Line defense and send Virginia packing before the first weekend concludes.
2. Villanova Wildcats
Losing a key player to an injury can devastate a team and that has been the case with Villanova. Star guard Collin Gillespie suffered a season-ending knee injury in the final week of the regular season and the Wildcats lost both games they played without him, falling to Butler and Georgetown.
The selection committee dropped the Wildcats down to the five-line and gave them a brutal matchup with Winthrop, which went 23-1 out of the Big South and averages almost 80 points per game. Don’t be shocked if Villanova is the victim of this year’s 5-12 upset.
1. West Virginia Mountaineers
Bob Huggins deserves a ton of credit for reinventing how the Mountaineers played this season. Traditionally a pressing defensive team, West Virginia became an offensive force in the Big 12, picking up enough key wins to earn a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region.
There are some tricky matchups ahead for the Mountaineers, beginning in the second round with either a very good San Diego State team or Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, which is difficult to prepare for on a short turnaround. Surviving to the Sweet 16 would earn West Virginia a date with Houston, which could knock off the Mountaineers before they can reach the Elite Eight.
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