Western Courier

Who will be this year’s Cinderella?

Christopher Bean, Assistant Sports Editor

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It’s that time a year again where everyone thinks they have the perfect bracket. As you fill out your bracket, you can’t forget about the underdogs. In this article I’ll tell you who has a chance to be this year’s Loyola-Chicago.

Starting in the East, the biggest potential upset is the 14-seed Yale Bulldogs over the 3-seed LSU Tigers. Yale has a record of 22-7 and won the Ivy League. The Tigers have had somewhat of a surprising season coming in with a 26-6 record winning the SEC regular season after beating Kentucky and Tennessee. However, their season took a turn two weeks ago when head coach Will Wade was allegedly accused of bribing a recruit to come to LSU. He has been suspended indefinitely, and LSU lost their first game without Wade in the SEC tournament to a 15-loss Florida team. Last year, the Arizona Wildcats were in a similar situation and lost to 13-seed Buffalo in the first round. But even more intriguing is that LSU gives up 73.0 PPG and Yale allows 73.2, both teams average over 81 PPG. Yale is led by Ivy League Player of the Year Miye Oni, who averages 17.6 PPG, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. They are a solid rebounding team, which will need to come into play against LSU’s length.

The team to take out in the South Region is the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks won the PAC 12 tournament and have won eight in a row. Head coach Dana Altman, who led the Ducks to the Final Four in 2017, is still their coach. They have a favorable matchup against Wisconsin in the first round, who has struggled to score all year. If junior sharp shooter Payton Prichard can knock down the deep ball at a consistent rate, he’s the type of player that can carry his team to the second weekend.

The team that catches my eye in the Midwest Region is the 13-seed Northeastern Huskies. They play the 4-seed Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks aren’t as strong as last year’s Final Four team because they lost center Udoka Azubuike due to a season ending injury, and Lagerald Vick for personal reasons. Because of this, they aren’t as depth and talented. Senior Vasa Pusica, who averages 17.8 PPG on 49.7 percent shooting, leads the Huskies. They are also one of the hottest teams in America, winning 16 of their last 18 games.

My last team to look out for is the 12-seed in the West Region, the Murray State Racers. In my bracket, they are the highest seed advancing to the Elite 8. I think they can be this year’s Loyola because of their point guard Ja Morant. Morant is expected to be a top-three pick this year, who averages 24.6 PPG and 10 assists. I think their first round game against Marquette will be the most entertaining game of the First Round because of their point guard Markus Howard. Howard averages 25 PPG and scored 45 against Buffalo earlier in the season. However, I think Murray State will pull out a close one and claw their way to the Elite 8.

However you fill out your bracket, there is an easy way to pick a perfect bracket. I wish you the best of luck, and happy March Madness.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Who will be this year’s Cinderella?