It’s March Madness, the greatest time of the year. Looking for some help with your bracket? Don’t know which teams to believe in, in this crazy college hoops season? We’ve got your back. We’re breaking down every first-round game in the field of 68, plus looking ahead at which teams will make the run to the Final Four.
3. Texas A&M (26-8, 13-5/SEC)– The Aggies closed the season on fire, capturing the outright SEC regular season title after responding from a midseason swoon (five losses in six games) by winning eight straight and advancing to the conference championship game. There’s a lot of talent on this roster–from leading scorer Jalen Jones (15.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) to crafty guard Alex Caruso (5.1 apg), to Danuel House (15 ppg, 4.8 rpg), who is the team’s go-to-guy and best player.
A&M wins games with defense, ranking 31st nationally in points allowed. That plays well in the tournament, though inexperience doesn’t. None of these Aggies were around when the team last crashed the Big Dance, in 2011.
65.0 points allowed (31st)
17.1 assists per game (11th)
38.8 rebounds per game (56th)
14. Green Bay (23-12, 11-7/Horizon)–The high-flying Phoenix are among the nation’s most explosive teams, averaging 84.2 points per game, which ranks 6th nationally. Green Bay also ranks 5th in the country in possessions per game, averaging nearly 80 per. They’ll enter the NCAA’s having won eight of nine, including four straight in Detroit to capture the Horizon League title.
The Phoenix are led by 6-1 senior guard Carrington Love, who’s averaging 17.7 points and 3.5 assists per game. 6-4 junior guard Charles Cooper dunks really hard and can also fill it up, averaging 13.9 points (and 5.6 boards) per game.
Oh, and keep an eye on radio announcer Matt Menzl. That guy is just disruptive.
PREDICTION: Green Bay is a dangerous 14-seed, so I’d be a little afraid if I were a Texas A&M fan. The Aggies don’t exactly have a lot of NCAA Tournament experience, as they’re making their first appearance since 2011. That sometimes spells disaster. We think A&M will get by in this game, but if you’re feeling brave, at least think about taking the Phoenix. Like Iowa State last year, the Aggies will be a trendy Final Four pick. And just think about how great you’ll feel if you had Green Bay taking them out in round 1.