With First Four action taking place, we’re officially in March Madness – and the Jobs in Sports team couldn’t go without making our predictions. Our team has a mix of fans for nearly every conference, so it’s safe to say we get a little bit competitive in March. This year – we wanted to share that competitive spirit with you.
Our Pick: West Virginia Mountaineers
On April First, we think that the Mountaineers of West Virginia will clinch their first NCAA Tournament championship – and not just because The Boss, who is a WVU diehard, demanded that we pick them – but because we believe they have a legitimate chance to win the tournament. The Mountaineers did nothing but overcome adversity this year, racking up several quality wins with no bad losses over a across schedule. They even almost beat Gonzaga, this year’s tournament favorite.
Combined with a favorable path to the Final Four – we think this is a team that has the Goods and will deliver.
Ohio over Virginia
We’re not the only ones who see an opportunity for Ohio to upset Virginia. Jason Preston is an absolute stud who can carry the team to victory but doesn’t have to. The key to victory for Ohio is tempo – and while they’re not even close to the fastest team in the NCAA – they’re faster than Virginia. If Ohio State can keep possession of and speed up play, they’ll send Virginia home.
Winthrop over Villanova
This upset is the trendy one this year – and we believe in it. Villanova just seems off as of late and can’t get the big plays they need in crunch time. They have the talent to win – but their starting point guard, Collin Gillespie, is out for the year with a torn MCL. With the national media supporting a Winthrop upset – we think it’ll be too much pressure for a struggling Villanova squad to overcome.
UCSB over Creighton
Would this count as an upset? UCSB has JaQuori McLaughlin – one of the most complete stars in the NCAA today, and Creighton simply doesn’t have the talent to match. With their ability to control the game inside, the Gauchos will make it difficult for Creighton to play their brand of basketball – which they will need to do if they want to advance past the first round. If UCSB can keep the game close until the final minutes – they’ll take home a win and send Creighton packing.
St. Bonaventure over LSU
At this point – you probably think we’re crazy, and you just might be right. But Bonaventure has five players with double-digit scoring averages this season. Their ability to spread the ball around will give LSU’s defense a test similar to those they faced in the first half against Arkansas. The difference is that the late-game heroics won’t be enough, and LSU will be sent home early, killing almost every bracket right off the bat.