Who will be the next NCAA champions?

The 2019 NCAA Men’s basketball tournament is shaping up to be an exciting one. Although the bracket hasn’t been released yet, sports analysts and commentators are discussing who will make this year’s tournament.

Jake Rill from Bleacher Report said Gonzaga will still hold the number one seed. ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi guessed the No.1 seeds will be Virginia, Gonzaga, North Carolina and Kentucky. He also predicted who will exit in the first round.

There is no set number on how many teams make it from each conference. Sometimes eight teams will go, sometimes two, but it all depends on the record, and league record of each team.

The teams I think can make it through the tournament are Gonzaga, Duke, and North Carolina. Some teams that might have a “Cinderella story” are Wofford, Murray State, Hofstra and Buffalo. Anybody with senior guards always has a chance to go far because they have grown stronger physically throughout the last three years and their basketball IQ has increased.

Alex Kay, a contributor for SportsMoney, said “Only 32 of the 68 teams in the field are given automatic bids for winning their respective postseason conference tournament, which means the remaining 36 are decided by the selection committee and are wide open to interpretation.”

Kay also talked about Duke’s struggles without star Zion Williamson, who was injured before the Conference tournament.

With Williamson back in the fold and clearly not feeling any ill-effects from his knee sprain, there is no team in the nation more talented than this Duke group,” says Kay.

I’m excited to watch underdog teams like Hofstra, as they create create upsets throughout the tournament.  Depending how well they execute their plays, they could even upset North Carolina. According to ESPN, Hofstra’s leading scorer is Justin Wright-Foreman, a senior guard who’s racking up  27.0 PPG. He’s nearly impossible to guard. Wright-Foreman will definitely help the team go far in the tournament.

North Carolina has several talented players as well. However, their leading scorer is senior Cameron Johnson, who averages 16.8 PPG. That’s a big difference between him and Wright-Foreman. It will be an exciting match up if the two teams meet in the tourney.

Another team with a chance to be a “Cinderella story” is Wofford, because their roster is filled with young players that have solid fundamentals.

Buffalo has also been outstanding throughout the season. They’re ranked first in their conference, and they have played well in their conference tourney. Senior CJ Massinburg leads the team in the tourney with 18.3 PPG. I think they have a good opportunity to continue their winning streak in the NCAA tournament.

Overall, I think this year’s March Madness tournament will be very entertaining. Even though most of the same teams play in the tournament every year, that doesn’t mean they will make it far. The rosters have different players every year, and that’s what makes the tournament exciting.