Spectrum’s Bracket Challenge Tips

Over spring break, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will kick off. That means Selection Sunday is upcoming, and the brackets will be released.

So, in search of that perfect bracket, here are some tips. Note: this article is coming out before the brackets are released, and that means the Cinderella pick won’t be here.

Limit trust in the Big Ten

Big Ten football is always and interesting prospect. This season had three teams in the East Division all within one game of the title. The West was competitive as well.

Come the Bowl Season, Wisconsin got a New Year’s Six win over the weakest team in those games. Penn State showed life in a Rose Bowl shootout loss. Then there was the team in the playoff, Ohio State. The Buckeyes got crushed 31-0 on the big stage by Clemson.

Expect a similar story for the basketball postseason.

Purdue looks like the best bet of a deep run. The Boilermakers losses are usually close away from home and against quality teams.

Behind them, are seven teams within two games of each other, including Minnesota and Northwestern.

The Gophers are the hottest team in the conference heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Rich Pitino has positioned his team well, but as many Minnesota sports fans (any sport really) know, it can go wrong quickly.

Northwestern meanwhile offer up something else. This should be the first Big Dance they go to, and maybe that inexperience can be used as an advantage.

Pac 12 Final Four curse

Remember there was a time where the conference was called the Pac 10? Well, that was the last time that a Pac team made the Final Four (UCLA 2008).

This year, the conference has three teams, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona, are in the AP top-7.

Whoever gets put in the West region of the bracket will be odds-on favorites to get to Phoenix for the Final Four.

The other teams may face a more difficult travel schedule, but should still compete for an Elite Eight run.

This looks like the year the curse gets broken.

Low seed Final Four team

No. 10 Syracuse, No. 7 Michigan State, No. 8 Kentucky, No. 9 Wichita State, No. 4 Louisville, No. 11 VCU and No. 8 Butler.

The low seeds of each of the last six tournaments to make the Final Four (both VCU and Butler made it in 2011). The last time all one seeds made the Final Four was 2008.

It is a safe bet that there will be non-top two seed make it to Phoenix. Duke and Notre Dame could be the ones to make it to the Final Four, but it is more likely that one could get tripped up on their run.

Summit League Love

For most of the year, Joe Lunardi at ESPN has had the Summit League bid at a No. 15 seed. With the top two teams (USD and NDSU) out of the tournament, the next favorite Omaha is still there.

After South Dakota State defeated the Mavericks on Tuesday, that seed should not change. The Jacks could be primed for an upset in the first round. Since 2012, there have been four No. 15 upsets in the first round, compared to two in years prior.

Mike Daum is a mismatch nightmare, able to draw fouls, outmuscle opponents in the paint and step back to hit a three. He is ranked second in the nation in scoring average with 25.0 ppg.

When he visited Fargo last month, his 26 points were considered a “quiet night” by NDSU coach David Richman.

The Jacks also showed that they can spread the ball out, like they did in the Summit League semifinals against South Dakota.

Micheal Orris, Read Tellinghuisen and Chris Howell all joined Daum in double-digit scoring.

They could be the team to watch for the big upset going forward.

Join the Spectrum’s bracket challenge

Think you can outsmart and outguess the Spectrum Staff? Bring it on.

Join the NDSU Spectrum Sports group on the ESPN Tournament Challenge once the brackets are released to see if you are smarter than the Spectrum Sports writers.

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