Fusfoo Five: Sports (March Madness)

VILLANOVA WILDCATS

Make no mistake, Villanova is an explosive squad that caught fire toward the end of the regular season, but they haven’t passed the big game tests that our other four featured teams have. In fact, they haven’t beat any teams this year seeded higher than #4 in the brackets. Also to be considered is the notable loss of depth and size that defined last year’s team. Yes, the Wildcats are a unique team, a historic program, and of course, the defending NCAA champions, and we fully expect them to make the Elite Eight…but then what?


 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Josh Hart, Darryl Reynolds, Jalen Brunson


 

GONZAGA BULLDOGS

Gonzaga is relatively new to top seed spots in March—that can go two ways. On one hand, there’s no pressure to live up to past accomplishments, on the other, the madness surrounding big seed matchups can scare an inexperienced squad right out of the arena. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, as they’ve held their own in tourneys past. And with coach Mark Few at the helm, a man on the verge of becoming the third-fastest Division I coach to ever reach 500 wins, Gonzaga certainly has a steady hand on the wheel.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nigel Williams-Goss, Johnathan Williams, Zach Collins


 

NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS

On paper, the Tar Heels are the most complete squad in the tourney, but after dropping a solid lead (and then the game) to Duke in last week’s ACC tourney, you have to question their mental game. Last year’s raw talent carried them through the Sweet 16, but in the high-pressure, nationally-televised situations that March Madness provides plenty of, can NC stay composed? Taking a big game lead is one thing, maintaining it is another, which Roy Williams’ gamers are discovering quickly.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, Justin Jackson


 

ARIZONA WILDCATS

Though many rank Gonzaga over the Cats, Arizona arguably has more pro size and toughness than the Bulldogs (who also have a tough West bracket layout to fight through). Beyond that, Arizona’s ball handlers make all the difference—with three wings who can equally lead down-court, penetrate and create shot opportunities, who do you guard? Fresh off earning the Pac-12 title, this team is on a 24-2 run heading into March Madness, and that streak may not end until the tournament does.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Lauri Markkanen, Chance Comanche, Parker Jackson-Cartwright



DUKE BLUE DEVILS

While Duke may not technically be the “best” team in the tourney, they do have arguably the best coach, a ton of raw talent, and perhaps the most fortunate draw in the entire bracket. No teams in their section of the East Region have half a chance of taking out the Blue Devils on a bad day. And after topping North Carolina in the ACC Tournament semis, they’ve got a ton of momentum. Add it all up and we expect to see Krzyzewski holding his sixth NCAA trophy.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Amile Jefferson, Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard

 

 

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