The Baylor Bears Men’s Basketball team hoists the 2020-2021 March Madness trophy. Credit: Baylor University

The road to March Madness has officially begun, and all college basketball teams are getting ready for their season. Many fans across the world are hoping that this will be the year for their team to make it all the way. This season is sure to be one to remember with big-name teams such as UCLA, Gonzaga, Michigan and more, all fighting for a chance to win it all.

Before the season begins, many different sports writers and analysts take their picks on who they think will win it all. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish and Jerry Palm expect Gonzaga to win, while Matt Norlander and Kyle Boone expect a championship from Purdue. The last writer, David Cobb, has his hopes on Texas to cut down the net and win it all. Gonzaga is looking very impressive coming off a trip to the championship and the addition of a 5-star center, Chet Holmgren. Holmgren is 7 feet and 190 pounds and is expected to make an instant impact in the league. They also have a few returning players, such as Drew Timme, a top performer in all of college basketball. “This is a championship-level program, undeniably.” said CBS sports expert Gary Parrish, “And, I believe, this is the season Gonzaga will finally get its first national championship.” With a loaded roster and great coaching by Mark Few, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are a favorite for the title. 

Another favorite among CBS sports experts is the Purdue Boilermakers. Forward Trevion Williams is ready to take his team all the way to the championship. With more talented players like Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey, Purdue is a threat to the national title. CBS sports expert Kyle Boone says, “This roster has the goods to go the distance.” This statement may be true, but only in March will the winner be crowned. The Texas Longhorns are another favorite for the title. They have returning veterans such as Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramsey and have a great recruiting class. Under the coaching of Chris Beard, Texas is sure to have a strong season and play impressive basketball.

A conference that is sure to have many close games and volatile standings is the Big Ten. The Big Ten consists of 14 teams including Michigan, Michigan St., Ohio St., Rutgers, Penn St., Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana and Northwestern.

At the start of the season, the Big Ten has 5 teams in the Top 25. Many teams in the Big Ten have great rosters combined with excellent coaching and this conference is going to be a hard one to top. ESPN writers Myron Medcalf, John Gasaway and Joe Lunardi all predict Michigan to top the conference, and the ESPN consensus does as well. However, Jeff Borzello had Illinois winning the conference. 

The Oklahoma State basketball team has been banned from the 2022 March madness tournament. Due to bribery with an assistant coach in 2017, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) has banned them from the tournament. Unfortunately, college basketball fans will not be able to see the Cowboys in this year’s tournament. College basketball is about to begin and this year is sure to be full of buzzer beaters and upsets.

 

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