by Horace Holloman III, Jersey Girl Sports Contributor
It’s that time of year again, the time when preparation meets anticipation, it’s the big dance more commonly known as March Madness.
Friends, family, co-workers and peers come together to see who’s National Collegiate Athletic Conference (NCAA) basketball bracket is the best and who made the correct predictions. The key to success for any good bracket is deciding which teams could make a run deep in the tournament and which teams you wouldn’t expect. I’ve put together the top 5 teams to watch during this year’s tournament, some just might surprise you.
1. Kentucky Wildcats – Kentucky is the No. 1 overall seed in this tournament, and though the road to the Final Four isn’t going to be easy, it is still clear they are one of the best teams in the nation. Although the Wildcats didn’t win the SEC conference title, they still seem like the team to beat. The 6-10 power forward Anthony Davis is a force to be reckoned with. His impressive 7-4 foot wingspan makes it hard for any team to drive the ball on Kentucky. Look for this team to hoist the NCAA championship when it’s all said and done.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels – The Tar Heels have a solid roster with a lot of depth, though their star player John Henson did not play in the ACC quarterfinal game or the ACC championship game due to a left wrist injury head Coach Roy Williams expects him to be healthy by Friday. Even without the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year North Carolina may not need him. In North Carolina’s Midwest region, nine of the 18 teams are from smaller conferences, and the Tar Heels could have favorable matchups until the Elite Eight. This is another number one team that could easily win it all.
3. Baylor Bears – Baylor’s playing style reminds me a lot of the previous NCAA champion, UCONN Huskers. They have an explosive point guard in Pierre Jackson that can take over a game in clutch situations and during this stretch they will need him. I don’t expect the Bears to go all the way but I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it to the final four. The big test will come in the third round when the Bears could play either UNLV or Colorado.
4. Davidson Wildcats – Remember when Davidson had NBA star Stephen Curry and they made it all the way to the elite eight? Well this isn’t the same team but they still have a decent squad. The top five scorers on this team are all averaging double digits in scoring, and they already upset top seeded Kansas at home. Be careful not to overlook this team because they could have a repeat performance.
5. Vanderbilt Commodores – The Commodores are coming off an SEC championship victory over the Kentucky Wildcats the number one ranked team in the Nation. They have momentum on their side and although their school’s record in the NCAA tournament is 9-13, junior guard John Jenkins is one of the top scoring guards in the nation averaging 19.3 points per game.