March 13, 2017
Filed under Sports
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March Madness is back in full affect as 68 teams enter the men’s NCAA Tournament with the hopes of being the last team standing, to cement their legacy as champions of the 2017 season. The 19 teams in this year’s tournament are separated in these four regions of the bracket.
The defending champion, Villanova Wildcats, enter the tournament as the number one seed in the east looking to secure a second straight national title following their Big East Tournament, championship over the weekend.
Some of the Wildcats toughest competition in the region will come from Atlantic Coast Conference schools, as ninth seeded, Virginia Tech, fifth seeded Virginia, and two seeded Duke could all stand in Villanova’s way.
Other notable teams in the region are collegiate basketball powerhouse Florida as the fourth seed along with eighth seeded Wisconsin and third seed Baylor.
Gonzaga enters this year tournament as the number one seed for the second time in school history. The Bulldogs will go up against 16th seeded San Diego State holding on to the best record in college basketball, 32-1.
Gonzaga’s biggest competition from the Western Athletic Conference, Saint Mary’s, will also be in the west region as the seventh seed.
Eighth seeded, Northwestern, who is in the NCAA tournament for the first time, 14th seed Florida Gulf Coast, who made it to the Sweet Sixteen as a 15th seed in 2013, along with Arizona, Notre Dame and West Virginia are all teams to look out for in the west region.
Senior guard Frank Mason III leads Kansas into the Midwest region as the first seed in this year’s tournament.
If Kansas wants to come out of the Midwest and make it to the Final Four they will have to go through the likes of number two seed Louisville and possibly fifth seeded Iowa State, who Kansas has lost to once, previously in the season.
Other competitors in the region are ninth seeded Michigan State, three seeded Oregon and seventh seeded Michigan, who were involved in a plane incident early last week but rallied from the scare to win the Big Ten championship.
The University of North Carolina rounds out the final, and arguably toughest region, in the NCAA tournament as the Tar Heels are the number one seed. In order to get to a final four and possibly back to the NCAA championship where they were a few seconds away from a championship before Villanova broke their hearts on a last second buzzer beater, UNC will have to get through tough competition.
Freshman sensation, Lonzo Ball, will lead third seeded UCLA against 14th seeded Kent State. If star studded Kentucky beats, Horizon League champion Northern Kentucky, the Wildcats will face either the Wichita State Shockers, or the University of Dayton Flyers.
Butler will begin their tournament run in the south region as the fourth seed and the University of Cincinnati will start off as the sixth seed. Middle Tennessee who upset Michigan State as a 15th seed last year will start off at a higher position as the 12th seed this year.
This year you can have the opportunity to pick and choose how the madness will unfold this year through The Guardians Bracket Challenge on ESPN. To compete log into ESPN through an ESPN profile or Facebook and fill out a bracket in the Tournament Challenge. Once the bracket is complete enter it into The Guardian Bracket, to compete for a $20 gift card