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Bracket Busting 101: 9 Paths to a National Championship, 4 Possible Winners

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Your bracket must be in by Thursday’s 12:15 ET tipoff between Notre Dame and Northeastern. The table below outlines nine different paths to the title by evaluating the 64 remaining teams using nine separate measures.

Three approaches result in a UK over Nova final (overall picks, coaching history, hottest teams). You could also give close games to the healthiest teams (Wisconsin over SMU), most NBA talent (UK over Duke), most experienced guards (Arizona over Gonzaga), best top three players (UK over Utah), or top two conferences (Nova over UK).

If you want to guess on one of these nine approaches, just follow that column down to see how many wins you should give each team to complete your bracket. Kentucky is your champion based on five of the nine approaches.

If you look at injuries, Wisconsin eliminates them in a semifinal due to Sam Dekker being back at 100% and UK’s Alex Poythress being out. In that scenario, SMU could make a big run with Markus Kennedy, who could not play until the second semester.

If you want to go with the best, experienced guards then you have a championship matching two of only a dozen players to ever make the Value Add Top 3% of all players in their freshman, sophomore, junior, and this, their senior seasons, with Arizona’s TJ McConnell (28th this year) beating Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos (19th place this year).

If you believe the tournament comes down to the best few players on the court, than Delon Wright could take Utah all the way to the title game before Kentucky takes the title.

If you want to go to the two highest-ranked conferences top to bottom (Big 12 and Big East), then give Villanova the title win over UK.

Seed Midwest Bracket Overall Healthy Hot NBA Guards Coach 3Stars BE/B12 dogs
1 Kentucky 6 4 6 6 4 6 6 5 4
16 Manhattan/Hampton
8 Cincinnati 1
9 Purdue 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
5 West Virginia 2 1 1 2 2
12 Buffalo 1 1 1 2
4 Maryland 1 2 2 2 2 1 2 1 1
13 Valparaiso
6 Butler 1 1 1 1 1 2
11 Texas 1 1 0 3
3 Notre Dame 2 3 3 2 3 2 3 1 1
14 Northeastern
7 Wichita St. 1 2 2 2 3 2 1
10 Indiana 1 1
2 Kansas 3 1 3 1 1 1 3 2
15 New Mexico St. 1
Seed West Bracket Overall Healthy Hot NBA Guards Coach 3Stars BE/B12 dogs
1 Wisconsin 4 6 4 2 2 4 4 4 3
16 Coastal Carolina
8 Oregon 1 1 1 1 1
9 Oklahoma St. 1 1 1 1
5 Arkansas 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
12 Wofford
4 North Carolina 2 2 3 3 2 2 2 1
13 Harvard 1
6 Xavier 1 1 2 1 1
11 Miss/BYU 2 1 1 2
3 Baylor 2 2 1 2 2 3 2
14 Georgia St. 1 2
7 VCU 1 3
10 Ohio St. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 Arizona 3 3 3 4 6 1 2 3 6
15 Texas Southern
Seed East Bracket Overall Healthy Hot NBA Guards Coach 3Stars BE/B12 dogs
1 Villanova 5 4 5 2 2 5 4 6 3
16 Lafayette
8 North Carolina St. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
9 LSU 1 1
5 Northern Iowa 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2
12 Wyoming
4 Louisville 1 1 1 4 4 2 2 1 1
13 UC Irvine
6 Providence 1 1 3 1 1 1 1
11 Dayton/Boise St 3 1
3 Oklahoma 2 3 1 2 1 2 3 3 5
14 Albany
7 Michigan St. 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
10 Georgia 1
2 Virginia 3 1 1 3 2 3 2 2 2
15 Belmont
Seed South Bracket Overall Healthy Hot NBA Guards Coach 3Stars BE/B12 dogs
1 Duke 3 3 3 5 2 4 2 2 3
16 N. Florida/Robert Morris
16 Robert Morris
8 San Diego St. 1 1 1
9 St. John’s 1 1 1 1 1 1
5 Utah 2 2 2 3 2 5 1
12 Stephen F. Austin 2 2
4 Georgetown 1 1 1 1 1 1 3
13 Eastern Washington 1 1
6 SMU 1 5 4 2 3 1
11 UCLA 2 1 2
3 Iowa St. 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 4 1
14 UAB
7 Iowa 1 1
10 Davidson 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 Gonzaga 4 2 2 3 5 2 3 2 4
15 North Dakota St.

 


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