We’re about a month out from March Madness and the Seahawks are no longer playing, so now is as good of a time as any to start preparing for all the madness.
Let’s start local.
The youth has arrived early for the Washington Huskies basketball team.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has included the 13-6 Huskies in his NCAA Tournament bracket predictor for the first time this season. Lunardi has the Huskies as a 12-seed, and one of the last four to be included in his field. The Huskies are 5-2 and second in the Pac-12, despite just one senior on the roster. The success of the Huskies can land squarely on lone senior Andrew Andrews. The guard is averaging over 20 points and 6 rebounds, along with nearly 5 assists, a game. Helping to aid some of the brunt off the shoulders of Andrews is the youth effect that has gone from a question mark at the beginning of the season into an exclamation point. Dejounte Murray is the crown jewel of the freshman bunch, averaging 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Murray is joined by three other freshmen starters, Marquese Chriss, Matisse Thybulle and Noah Dickerson.
As for the rest of the nation, there are 3 power conferences that are leading the way. The Big-12 has 5 teams ranked in the AP-Top 25, including the top-ranked team Oklahoma. At this point, the conference seems to be poised to have two top-ranked seeds for the tournament in Oklahoma and Kansas. With that said, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be cutting down the nets in early April. The ACC is no slouch with #2 North Carolina and #11 Virginia, as well as #24 Duke who always seems to be playing late into March. The Big-10 is the other conference with a lot of talent with a surprise in #3 Iowa, as well as #8 Maryland and #12 Michigan State.
If I had to pick a Final Four: Michigan State, Maryland, North Carolina and Kansas.
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Ben Simmons, LSU
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Gary Payton II, Oregon State