February 17, 2016

LEWIS | March Madness from Sportstradamus

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As predicted, the Denver Broncos upset the Carolina Panthers to take home Super Bowl 50. Of course, you would have known that before the game if you would have read my column about The Fate Theory. With football over, it is now time for us to turn our attention to college basketball. With conference tournaments and March Madness quickly approaching, I think I’ll offer up some more of my famous predictions. And as you know now, never doubt Sportstradamus.

First of all, let’s talk about some teams on the bubble that could make a run come playoff time. There’s almost no team hotter in the country than the Wisconsin Badgers, who have won seven in a row after a forgettable start to their season. This includes wins over Michigan State and Maryland. Another team getting overlooked is Texas Tech, who has done a great job so far surviving the gauntlet that is the Big 12. They’ve got no real bad losses on their resume, and have two straight wins over Top 25 squads. They still have work to do in order to make the tournament, but they’ve shown that they can play with the best teams in the country.

But maybe the most interesting team on the bubble is LSU. They have a number of bad losses, including one at home to Wake Forest. Their only real impressive wins are over Kentucky and Texas A&M, and even that A&M win is looking less impressive as the weeks roll on. Why could they make a run? Well, because they have the most dynamic player in the country in Ben Simmons. The dude is the best passing forward I have seen at the college level, and he can score at will around the basket. The only knock on Simmons is he seems to lack a killer instinct come crunch time. He plays too passive, when he should be exerting his dominance down the stretch. There’s no reason that LSU should have lost to Oklahoma, but Simmons was a non-factor towards the later stages of the game. If he can become more assertive, I can see him leading the Tigers to a tourney run.

Speaking of Oklahoma, Buddy Hield is the clear and only candidate for the Wooden Award. The dude is absolutely sick. He’s shooting 50/50/90 on the season and averaging 25 points and four 3-pointers a game. Those are video game numbers. His late game heroics against Kansas and LSU are stuff of legend. I think there’s a good chance that Buddy Buckets is the Kemba Walker of 2016, a guard that puts the team on his back and carries them to the title. Of course, this Oklahoma squad is much better than that UConn team. At this point, I’d call them the favorites to win the championship.

But I’m not predicting the Sooners to win it all. Nope, my gut tells me that this year, the March Madness champions reside in Austin, Texas. That’s right, I’m going with the Texas Longhorns as your 2016 NCAA Champions. Nobody expected the Longhorns to compete in the Big 12 this year. But here we are this late in the season and the Longhorns sit at fourth in the conference. They’ve beaten Baylor, West Virginia twice and had a huge win over North Carolina, a team many consider to be the best in the country. Sure, they’ve had their hiccups. A loss to TCU is embarrassing, and a home loss to Washington doesn’t look good. But Shaka Smart is one the few elite coaches in college basketball, and I think he’ll have his boys focused come tournament time. Purely from an objective point of view, Sportstradamus is going with the Longhorns.

s one the few elite coaches in college basketball, and I think he’ll have his boys focused come tournament time. Purely from an objective point of view, Sportstradamus is going with the Longhorns.

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