Big 10 Conference Tournament Preview
There weren’t too many surprises this year in the Big 10. Outside of Indiana who was highly touted at the start of the year and ended up finishing 9th, the pre-season predictions were very close to how things ended up shaking out.
In the first round this Wednesday, I’ve got a couple of small upsets in my bracket with 13-seed Nebraska beating 12-seed Rutgers, and #14 seed Northwestern over #11 Illinois. On day two, Indiana and Ohio State could be the tightest game of the day. Indiana has been hot lately with big wins over Michigan State and Wisconsin down the stretch. Penn State and Minnesota could be a solid game on the second day as well.
On the third day of the tourney the big hitters join in. Michigan State should be poised to take care of Indiana and avenge their loss to them last weekend. As for the rest of the third round, I see #4-seed Wisconsin taking care of #5-seed Maryland, along with Purdue and Michigan easily advancing as well.
The semi-finals are a top-4 seed showcase in my bracket. I have Wisconsin upsetting Michigan State, and Michigan taking down Purdue. These aren’t huge upsets, as all four of
these top teams seem poised to finish strong. In the Michigan/Wisconsin final, the teams have split the season series. Michigan is fresh off a tough loss to MSU, but this shouldn’t diminish the terrific season they’ve had. 6’7” forward, Ignas Bradzekis, should be a tough matchup for Wisconsin on the perimeter (41.7% 3-point). The matchup to watch though, could be Michigan’s Jon Breske (2.2 bpg), and Wisconsin’s top scorer, Ethan Happ. Whichever player takes charge of that matchup could tilt the game in either team’s favor, but I’ve got Michigan capping off a great season with a Big 10 Conference Title.
Pac-12 Tournament Preview
On March 13th the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament takes place in Las Vegas. Some of the teams are obviously better then others, but the brackets are pretty evenly spread. I had a strong feeling about Washington being in the final, but Oregon St. has been playing pretty well lately, so they are going to take that game. They have the skill level to win this tournament, they just have to keep their mind set in the right place. On the other side of the bracket is also some more talented teams. Arizona St. is going to take it over Oregon. Arizona St. has been playing very well recently. So Ii think the championship game will be Arizona St. and Oregon St. with Oregon St. winning it all. This should end up getting the Pac-12 three teams in the NCAA tournament, which would be a nice finish to an otherwise disappointing season for the conference.
ACC Tournament Preview
I do believe that North Carolina is gonna take the ACC because they’ve played Duke twice and beat them both times. Even though Duke’s star player, Zion Williamson, is going to return I still believe that NC will pull out the win. Duke is currently ranked 3rd in the nation and NC is currently ranked 7th in the nation. This should be a highly anticipated semi-final. The top 3 players to watch out for on North Carolina are Cameron Johnson, Coby White, and Luke Maye. Top 3 players to watch out for on Duke Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and R.J. Barrett. On the other side of the bracket, the number 1 seed Virginia looks like they’re gonna be matching up against number 5 seed Virginia Tech. Both teams are ranked nationally and it should be a great match up. Number one seed Virginia’s only two losses are against number 2 seed Duke. UNC should take care of the Cavaliers in the final fresh off their big win against Duke in the semi-final.
Big 12 Tournament Preview
The Big 12 has been a three team race throughout the season, and as the season wraps up, it still appears to be the case. Kansas State had a very strong finish to the season to take the top seed in the tournament. The other two heavy-hitters in the conference are #2-seed Texas Tech and #3-seed Kansas. Kansas has struggled as of late, but they should be able to dispose of Texas in the first round. Baylor could pose a threat to Kansas State in the semi-final, with Baylor’s Makai Mason’s shooting ability leading the way. Kansas State should take care of them though.
On the other side of the bracket, Texas Tech has been on a roll. They had a statement win two weeks ago against Kansas, with a 91-62 win. Kansas should come ready to play, but Texas Tech seems to have their number. In the final, it seems like this should carry over. Jarrett Culver has been on a roll and Kansas State doesn’t seem to have the athleticism to guard him effectively. Italian native, Davide Moretti, who is shooting 48.1% from 3-point range, could be an X-factor as well for TTU.
SEC Tournament Preview
On March 13th the SEC 2019 basketball tournament kicks off in Nashville, Tennessee. Kicking off the tournament we have a game of Missouri vs Georgia. We chose Missouri to win this first game simply. Because they blew Georgia out last time they played them. On the other side of the bracket we have TAMU matched up with the bottom seed Vanderbilt.
As the tournament continues, we’ve got Auburn taking on LSU in one semi-final. LSU, despite not having head coach Will Wade, should be able to cruise past Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers. On the other side, Tennessee taking on Kentucky is a match-up many will be looking forward to if both squads take care of business in the preliminary rounds. We have Tennessee, despite some recent struggles, moving on to the title game vs. LSU. In the title game, look for Tennessee’s Grant Williams to be the difference maker. LSU’s lack of a coach could also prove too tough to overcome in the final.
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Written by Eddyville's own Sports Media Class.