March Madness Bracket Predictions | Teen Ink

March Madness Bracket Predictions

May 11, 2022
By Xavier_Chanoine SILVER, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Xavier_Chanoine SILVER, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I am filling out brackets for March Madness using the ESPN tournament challenge. I have created 25 brackets but this one is my main bracket and the one I will be relying on to win the $100,000. I picked #1 seed Arizona to win the tournament over #4 seed UCLA 75-68. 

In the first round I picked 8 upsets, and while it wasn’t on purpose I picked 2 in each region. In the West, I took #13 Vermont over #4 Arkansas and #11 Notre Dame over #6 Alabama. I think both Arkansas and Alabama have had fraudulent seasons especially recently, and shouldn’t be ranked as high as they are. Neither of them won their conference tournaments, but Vermont won theirs and Notre Dame had a run in the season where they beat some really good teams. 

In the East, I took #12, Indiana, over #5 Saint Mary’s and #11 Virginia Tech over #6 Texas. Indiana made a run in the BIG 10 tournament and won their play-in game over Wyoming while Saint Mary’s didn’t win their conference tournament even as a mid-major. Virginia Tech is hot right now and even though Texas is a good team they just won the ACC beating Duke and UNC in the process. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are this year’s huge Cinderella team. 

In the South, I had #12 UAB over #5 Houston and #10 Loyola Chicago over #7 Ohio State. UAB has Jordan Walker who is one of the best players in college basketball and could take over this game to upset Houston. While I did pick UAB it is probably the upset I am least confident in. On the other hand, Loyola Chicago over Ohio State is the upset I am most confident in.  Ohio State is on a cold streak after ending the season poorly and losing to PSU in the first round of the BIG 10 tournament. Loyola is a sneaky team who could easily beat Ohio State and possibly even make a further run if they play well. They are well built, with a good coach, and tournament experience. 

For the last region in the Midwest, I have #13 South Dakota State over #4 Providence and #10 Miami over #7 USC. South Dakota State has the number 2 offense in the nation and is the best 3 pt shooting team in the nation. Providence lost early in the BIG EAST tournament and I think SDSU can pull off the upset. My other pick is that Miami will win and while they are the lower seed I don’t think the pick is much of an upset. They have one of the best players in the nation and USC comes out of a weak PAC-12 this year.


In the second round, I only had 2 big upsets. Which were #8 UNC over #1 Baylor and #6 LSU over #3 Wisconsin. UNC has 2 very good players in Caleb Love who can shoot the 3 and Armando Bacot who will beat you inside. They are a well-balanced team that can win on both sides of the court. However, this was a very tough pick because Baylor is the reigning champion. However, they lost some of their main contributors and the guys this year are not as talented or experienced as last year's team. I think if UNC isn’t able to knock off Baylor UCLA will be able to in the Sweet Sixteen. On the other side of the bracket, I don’t think LSU is an amazing team but I think they are good enough to knock off Wisconsin. LSU has big guards who can shut down Johnny Davis who is Wisconsin's entire offense. This game just boils down to if LSU can stop Davis if they can they’ll most likely come away with the win. Those two upsets leave my sweet sixteen like this:

#1 Gonzaga vs #5 UCONN

#2 Duke vs # 3 Texas Tech

#4 UCLA vs # 8 UNC

# 2 Kentucky vs #3 Purdue

#1 Arizona vs #4 Illinois

#2 Villanova vs #3 Tennessee

#1 Kansas vs #5 Iowa

#2 Auburn vs #6 LSU

My Sweet Sixteen has only one big upset which is UCONN over Gonzaga. Gonzaga has not played top competition recently and in their biggest game, they lost to Saint Mary’s who is another #5 seed. UCONN did lose to Nova in the BIG East semifinals, but they played them close and ended the season on a hot streak. If anyone can upset the Bulldogs I think it will be UCONN in the Sweet Sixteen. All of my other picks were according to plan leaving UCONN playing Duke, UCLA playing Kentucky, Arizona vs Vilanova, and Kansas vs Auburn in the Elite 8. While people may think that this is a boring bracket I think that there are a lot of good teams at the top that will be tough to upset this year. In my Elite 8, I have 2 number 1 seeds, 4 number 2 seeds, 1 number 4 seed, and 1 number 5 seed. 


Advancing to my final four I have UCLA over Kentucky, Duke over UCONN, Arizona over Villanova, and Auburn over Kansas. I think UCLA will be able to use their big 3 of Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez, and Tyger Cambell. I think they are deeper and have more experience in the tournament than Kentucky has. Kentucky has talent, but they don’t have the depth to beat this skilled UCLA team. Duke should be able to take care of UCONN rather easily, they have the talent, depth, and coaching to manhandle this Huskies squad. I don’t think the Huskies have the length or talent to guard Paulo Banchero and Mark Williams inside. Nor will they be able to score inside with Mark Williams guarding the paint. If Duke can pound the ball inside this game shouldn't be close. The third game I think is a total tossup between Arizona and Villanova. Arizona has the height and talent and Villanova has the coaching and experience. If I’m going to be honest I think either team could win this game, and I took Arizona because they showed off in a tougher conference. Lastly, I have Auburn over Kansas because of one person. I think Kansas has a better overall team and almost everything else, but they don’t have Jabari Smith. Smith is a lengthy forward who can score at three levels and will probably be the number 1 pick in the NBA draft. No matter what Kansas does on the offensive end I don’t think they will be able to outscore Smith and the dynamic Tigers offense. 


Now down to New Orleans. The Final Four this year should be amazing to watch, especially if it goes according to my predictions. The first team I have advancing to the Championship is UCLA. I think their big 3 will be able to outsmart Coach K, and I think they have the length to guard Duke inside. Duke also relies on guard scoring, especially from the outside, but I think Jules Bernard and Tyger Cambell will be active enough to slow down Duke enough to let Jaime Jaquez and Johnny Juzang produce on the offensive end. I also predicted this year to be an all PAC-12 final with Arizona beating Auburn and moving on. Arizona relies on scoring from Benedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko which creates the perfect matchup against Auburn. Walker Kessler is one of the best if not the best defender in college basketball, but I think he is too small to guard Koloko and too big to guard Mathurin. Arizona’s offense duo should be able to fully negate Kessler’s impact on the defensive end. I also think Koloko will be able to neutralize Jabari Smith inside which will make him rely on his outside shot, and while he is a great shooter his shots don’t always fall. 

Finally, it is time for the big showdown. Monday, April 4, two powerhouse teams prepare to throw down in New Orleans and I predict it to be UCLA and Arizona. While my outcome may be boring, I have Arizona beating UCLA pretty handily. These two teams faced off not so long ago in the PAC-12 tournament final and I don’t expect this result to be much different. In that game, the Wildcat’s defense kept an explosive Bruins offense from blowing up and didn’t allow any of their players to score over 20 points. If Arizona can close the flood gates and force the shots to be spread around evenly they should be able to win again. The only thing about Arizona is they strongly rely on two scorers. Last time Mathurin dropped 27 and dominated the game from beginning to end. Despite Koloko only having 13 the Wildcats still came out on top as PAC-12 champions. I predict Mathurin having a similar game as last time with Koloko showing his true dominance inside. I have Arizona beating UCLA 75-68 with the game never really seeming in doubt. If Arizona plays the way they have all year they should be able to win this tournament.

The author's comments:

Hi my name is Xavi Chanoine. I am a 15-year-old sportswriter who is interested in getting more younger kids into sports. I enjoy watching all sports, especially football and basketball. My goal in doing this is to give a community for younger people to read, write, and comment about any type of sports. I want people to enjoy reading my articles and to feel inclined to comment on them, and even write their own. I want to create a community online of young writers who are excited about sports.

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