Mens March Madness Preview


Matt Lesnik, Editor-In-Chief

Gonzaga: One of the greatest teams over the last 20 years, the Bulldogs are yet to take home the title. However, like so many others, this could be their year. Coming off a 26-0 regular season, along with a WCC title, Gonzaga is riding high. Headlined by star forward Corey Kispert and projected top 5 pick Jalen Suggs, they have had many key wins this season, such as Virginia, West Virginia, Iowa, and Kansas. The Bulldogs are first in the nation in points per game with 92.1 with Kispert’s 19.2 leading the way. The Bulldogs are the one seed in the West region, and will play the winner of Norfolk State and Appalachian State.

Michigan: Coached by former member of the “Fab Five” Juwan Howard, the Wolverines stood atop the Big Ten for most of the season. In a season where they went 14-3 in conference play and 20-4 overall, Michigan lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament. With guys such as Hunter Dickinson, the team’s leader in scoring, rebounding, and blocks, Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner, Eli Brooks, and Mike Smith, the team’s assist leader, the Wolverines were running the Big Ten. Despite losing in the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan will still be a one seed in the East region, and will play the winner of Mount St. Mary’s vs Texas Southern

Illinois: The third Big Ten team on this list, the Fighting Illini are the ones who came away with the conference title. Star guard Ayo Dusunmo led the Fighting Illini to a 16-4 conference record and a 23-6 record overall. Despite missing a few games with injury, Dusunmo averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game on 49% shooting from the field. He leads Illinois to their first March Madness appearance since 2013, where they would lose in the round of 32. Things look to be different this year, as they have the number one seed in the Midwest region, matched up vs Drexel in the first round

Alabama: Typically a football school, Alabama was getting it done in basketball this year. Easily the best team in the SEC this year, the Crimson Tide had a 16-2 conference record and a 24-6 record overall, which were both top of the conference. The team;s leading scorer is Jaden Shakelford with 14.2, but the leader in rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks is Herbert Jones, Though they did have some key losses to teams such as Clemson, Oklahoma, and Missouri, they were still able to come out of the SEC Tournament on top. Alabama is a two seed in the East region, facing Iona in the first round.

Loyola Chicago: It feels like just yesterday when the Ramblers won their way into America’s heart during their 2018 Final Four run. This year, they have the chance to do it again. They once again won the Missouri Valley Conference with a 22-4 overall record, and a 16-2 conference record. Big man Cameron Krutwig led the team in almost every statistical category with 15 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. In the first round in the Midwest, the 9 seeded Ramblers will be matched up against Georgia Tech, who will be without ACC Player of the Year, Moses Wright.