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March Madness 2015 Preview

Carly Fasciglione |
March 16, 2015 | 2:46 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Can Kentucky's young squad complete the first perfect season in 40 years? (@BleacherReport/Twitter)
Can Kentucky's young squad complete the first perfect season in 40 years? (@BleacherReport/Twitter)
Tournament champions have been decided, the committee has made its selections and your fantasy bracket is about to be destroyed. Ladies and gentleman, it’s time for some madness. 

Like any year, there were the givens, the unexpected and those few teams that have you questioning the committee’s antics (here’s looking at you, UCLA). Regardless, the bubble has officially bursted, and it’s time to break down each region and predict if any team will be able to stop Kentucky from reaching the Final Four (hint: there isn’t one).


The East Region is host to the number one seed least likely to win it all. Villanova hasn’t lost a game since January 19 and their offense has been their greatest strength, but the Wildcats are part of a Big East conference that’s a shadow of its former self. Villanova has offensive prowess, but their lack of experience against the nation’s most elite teams will lead them to a short journey in the tournament. Don’t be surprised if Villanova doesn’t make it further than the round of 32, yet again.

Look out for North Carolina State at the eight seed. The Wolfpack are a talented squad and being apart of the ACC, they have played multiple games against Virginia, Notre Dame and even beat Duke by 12 points back in January. If standout backcourt trio Trevor Lacey, Ralston Turner and Cat Barber bring their game, NC State could make it to the Elite Eight. But, for those who like take the safe route when making their brackets, don’t fret too much. NC State has talent, but talent alone won’t be able to send them to Indianapolis.

Region Winner: Virginia. This one was difficult because the Cavaliers can tend to be just so, well, boring, and the tournament is anything but. However, their ability to control the pace and play intelligent, low-turnover offense gives them the advantage. The Cavs play with unmatched composure with the game on the line, a quality that could send them to the Final Four.

Tyler Harvey and the Eagles could make an unexpected run in the tournament. (@mid_madness/Twitter)
Tyler Harvey and the Eagles could make an unexpected run in the tournament. (@mid_madness/Twitter)

Number one seed Duke will most likely have the smoothest road to the Elite Eight in the South. With big man Jahlil Okafor and a handful of three-point shooters, the Blue Devils will be able to take advantage of their first seed and make it to the Elite Eight. Utah’s Delon Wright may give Duke a scare, but Duke has the advantage when it comes to performing in big-time games. 

Eastern Washington could very well provide us with a huge upset win over Georgetown in the second round. The Eagles are quietly ranked third in scoring and eighth in three-point percentage in the nation. Meanwhile, the Hoyas are one of the worst in the league when defending at the perimeter. If leading scorer Tyler Harvey can put up some big points in the Round of 32, they may be able to bypass Utah, but they’re luck will run out when they reach Duke.

Region Winner: Iowa State. Third seed Iowa State against Duke in the Elite Eight could end up being one of the most exciting matches of the entire tournament. As they always say, the Cyclones are heating up at just the right time, winning eight of its last ten games, including a massive win over Kansas for the Big 12 title. Iowa State has the strength and size in the post and they could capitalize on the Blue Devils' questionable perimeter defense. The Cyclones have the coaching and the talent to make it to the finals, but if they can spoil Kentucky’s perfect season is a question better suited to be answered in a couple of weeks.


Between Wisconsin and Arizona, the West is going to be an extremely difficult region for any underdog to escape out of. Despite a near upset to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship, Wisconsin looks like the top contender to challenge Kentucky for the title. With Frank Kaminsky in the post, Sam Dekker at the wing and Bronson Koenig at the perimeter, the Badgers are an offensive force to be reckoned with.

Ole Miss, for myself and probably many others, was a just barely on the bubble surprise bid that wouldn't even get to see the Round of 64. After their huge comeback win against BYU, the Rebels are turning some heads. Despite a 17-point deficit at the end of the first half, Ole Miss came back firing with tenacious defense, smart shot selection, and some heroic three-point shooting from Stefan Moody to complete the comeback win. The Rebels proved that not only do they have the size and strength, but they can also compete against one of the most profieienct, fast-paced offenses in the country. The Rebels are very capable of beating Xavier and could be a real threat to Baylor's zone defense to reach the Sweet Sixteen if they can continue to play the way they did against BYU.

Region Winner: Wisconsin. Even though the West has some great competition, the number one and two seeds will be the lone teams fighting for a spot in the Final Four. Wisconsin and Arizona will play a rematch of last year’s overtime Elite Eight matchup, and the cards will once again fall in Wisconsin’s favor. While both teams have impressive starting lineups, Wisconsin has more depth in their roster and a better defense. 


Yeah, yeah, we’re all tired of hearing about Kentucky, but they’re just that good. Personally, I’m not much of a fan of the “one-and-done” approach Kentucky has, but the sheer talent on this squad is almost unfathomable. The Wildcats are dominant in every aspect on the court and are the best overall number one seed in years. There’s a reason 50% of people have already picked Kentucky to win it all.

Considering the Midwest is host to Kentucky, Kansas, Notre Dame, Wichita State, and Maryland, an underdog run would be absolutely shocking. But, that’s what the tournament is all about. Twelfth-seed Buffalo has been playing its best basketball of the season recently and has won eight games in a row. Justin Moss, the 6’7” forward, will provide some real issues for any team in the paint. Behind former Duke star-turned coach Bobby Hurley, the Bulls could shock the world with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen if they can outplay Maryland’s staunch defense.

Region Winner: Kentucky. Further comment unnecessary. 

Reach Staff Writer Carly Fasciglione here or follow her on Twitter.



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