Here are Chimes’ picks for March Madness 2021. Vote for yours now!

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Image by Jamison Van Andel

Sports editor Ellington Smith and staff reporter Jamison Van Andel made their predictions for the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Despite a wild season filled with restrictions and twists, the NCAA has chosen to keep March Madness alive. This season’s craziest moments in college basketball are bound to happen this weekend. Here are some predictions I have for the first weekend of play.

12 UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) defeating 5 Creighton will be one of the first upsets. According to NCAA.com, 12-seeds, since the expansion in 1985, have prevailed 50 out of 140 tries, the most frequent of all the lower seeds vs upper seeds matchup. This specific matchup seems likely because Creighton was just knocked off in the Big East tournament final by 12 Georgetown 73-48 in an incredible upset. This contrasts with the UCSB who have won 18 of their last 19 games, coming into the tournament with full confidence.

Who will win the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament?

  • Gonzaga (39%, 15 Votes)
  • University of Michigan (32%, 12 Votes)
  • Illinois (16%, 6 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 2 Votes)
  • Iowa (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Ohio State (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Alabama (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Baylor (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Houston (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 38

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I also predict another 5 to 12 seed upset in the 5 Villanova against 12 Winthrop contest. Villanova are vulnerable as their leading scorer and co-Big East Player of the Year, Collin Gillespie, is out with a torn MCL. They were also upset by Georgetown in the Big East tournament quarterfinal. They are facing off against Winthrop, a team that has only managed to lose one game, albeit against much lesser competition.

Another surprising upset that I predict is 14 Eastern Washington against 3 Kansas. This may seem like quite the longshot, but Kansas has had a tumultuous few weeks as several players testing positive forced them to drop out of the Big 12 Tournament, including standout forward David McCormack. It is unclear whether or not these players will be able to return in time for the game against Eastern Washington on Saturday, Mar. 20. In what has already been a year of inconsistency, compared to regular season success that Kansas has had in years past, they are certainly a vulnerable top seed.

Two teams who I think people should keep a watch on are the 1 Michigan Wolverines and the 4 Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Wolverines are the most vulnerable 1 seed with leading scorer Isaiah Livers sidelined with a foot injury. However, this is still a strong and very deep team with many weapons, and experienced players such as Franz Wagner and Mike Smith could make up jump offensively to put Michigan over the hump. For the Cowboys, they will go as far as the likely number 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Cade Cunningham, takes them. An All-American in his freshman season, and the leading scorer in the Big 12, he is slated to have a great tournament and possibly make some noise towards the Final Four.