The Daily Aztec

NCAA Predictions South

by Hunter Hewitt

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From when I learned how to write, filling out a bracket in March has been a tradition for me. I have tried several techniques, from the pick-the-opposite-of-who-you-think-will-win technique to the which-mascot-would-win-in-a-fight technique.
After years of trial and error, I have developed incredible expertise in bracketology. In other words, I am now a professional bracketologist. My expertise paired with my school pride is sure to give me a perfect Final Four prediction. The average person probably wouldn’t pick SDSU to advance very far, but as an Aztec myself, I know that we are far superior to all other human beings. So good luck everybody, and if you win the ESPN Tournament Challenge or your office pool by using some of my expertise, you owe me at least half of your winnings.

Final Four predictions
Final Four: Kentucky, Missouri, SDSU, Ohio State
Champion: Missouri
Quotable : “Black. Red. I believe that we, ‘nuff said.Indiana, Syracuse, Michigan State, Kansas

Player to watch
Arguably the best freshman in the country, Anthony Davis is a near-lock to be the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA Draft. The 6-foot-10-inch forward has taken the college basketball scene by storm this season, averaging 14.3 points and 10 rebounds per game. With his 7-foot-4-inch wingspan, Davis leads the NCAA with 4.7 blocks per game, and set a Kentucky single-season record for blocked shots.
He leads No. 1 seed Kentucky and will try to take his team back to the Final Four, where they were eliminated last year.

Matchup to watch
After a magical run to the Final Four last year, Virginia Commonwealth University is back for more. The No. 12 seed Rams take on No. 5 seed Wichita State in a battle of two mid-majors.
Both teams have a history of upsetting big schools, but this year they must play each other in the first round. Wichita State returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, when it reached the Sweet 16 as a No. 7 seed.
They will rely on dominant post play from senior center Garrett Stutz, who is leading the team with 13.5 points and eight rebounds per game.
VCU will need a big game from senior forward Bradford Burgess, whose 13.3 points per game are a team high.

Early upset
No. 7 seed Notre Dame has battled inconsistencies all year long, and don’t be surprised if they fall early to No. 10 seed Xavier. The Musketeers have a ton of NCAA Tournament experience, as they are making their seventh straight trip to the big dance. They have advanced past the first round in all but two of those visits.  Senior guard Tu Holloway, who leads the team with 17 points per game, will try to lead Xavier to another tournament win. In Holloway’s career as a Musketeer, he has reached the Sweet 16 twice. The Fighting Irish are a young team with only two seniors on their roster. They have a history of early exits in the tournament, as they have made it past the second round only once since 1988.

Bracket Buster
No. 13 seed New Mexico State has a serious opportunity to cause some madness in the South Region. Led by fifth-year senior forward Wendell McKines, NMSU takes on No. 4 seed Indiana in the first-round.
A rebounding machine, McKines is back hungrier than ever after missing the last season because of injury. He has bounced back with his best season yet as an Aggie, averaging a team-high 18.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. IU has played well this season, but none of its current players have ever appeared in an NCAA Tournament game. The Hoosiers suffered a tough loss last week when senior guard Verdell Jones III tore his anterior cruciate ligament, which will cause him to miss the rest of the season.
NMSU reached the NCAA Tournament in 2010 as a No. 12 seed.

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