March is closing in, meaning we have a better idea each day of which teams will make the big dance.
With NCAA hoops hitting the home stretch, many teams are undoubtedly wondering where they will stand at the end. ESPN has updated its power rankings following some big games this week. We dive into those rankings to see how things are shaping up near the top with March Madness on the horizon.
Below are ESPN’s ranks for the top 16
North Caroline (22-5)
Michigan State (22-5)
Texas Tech (21-5)
Despite the upset of North Carolina over Duke in their highly-touted matchup, the needle did not move too far on either team. The impact of Zion Williamson getting injured in the opening minutes had a deeply felt impact on the game instantly.
As Williamson’s shoe exploded and he went down with a knee sprain (not expected to be serious), thoughts naturally turned to other players that were “unable to play due to injury” that were able to go to the NBA unscathed. Duke has seen this before in the form of Kyrie Irving. With Zion set to make millions in the NBA next year, it would be tough to blame him for playing things safe.
In a case of perfect timing, the NBA is currently considering lowering their age of eligibility from 19 to 18.
Anyway, Duke is still set to hold its number one spot on the backs of its touted freshman. Many pundits expected Kansas to be higher on this list so late in the season. They could still make for an unfortunate opponent for some teams should they garner a lower seed come tournament time. Purdue is sitting a bit lower than expected as well.
Nevada and to a greater extent, Houston, are the pleasant surprises on this list. Their strong play has demanded attention and thrust them directly into the mix of the nation’s top teams.
Women’s bracket looking familiar
If March Madness started today, we would be seeing a lot of familiar faces near the top. The 1-seeds would be: UConn, Baylor, Louisville, and Oregon. The 2-seeds would be Mississippi State (who can no longer play underdog after consecutive great seasons), NC State, Stanford, and Notre Dame.
Perhaps March Madness’ biggest individual hero last year, Arike Ogunbowale just recently set an all-time scoring record for Notre Dame.
As the regular season winds down, our thoughts are full steam ahead to March Madness. One-and-done tournaments don’t always produce the truest results in terms of the most talented teams. However, the luck factor, heat checks, and meteoric rise of teams and players make it an incredible event to witness.
Who will be this year’s Arike Ogunbowale or Donte Divincenzo? Follow along with us on social media as we dive into one of the most exciting months in basketball. We’ll see you there!