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NCAA Tournament Championship Predictions (2021 March Madness)

Mar 19, 2021

We’ll conclude our collaborative series with our favorite 2021 Champion selections.

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Gonzaga Bulldogs
This is the best team Gonzaga has ever had, and it really is not even close which team is second. It is not that they just went undefeated in the regular season. Kenpom.com gave them an adjusted offensive rating of 126.8, which is not only the best in the country but significantly better than the 118.4 rating they had in 2017 when they lost to North Carolina in the title game.

They also have a great defense this year, ranked 10th in the nation at 88.8. Their 38.05 adjusted efficiency margin is off the charts. It is the highest since Kenpom’s rankings began in 2002. The previous high belonged to the 2015 Kentucky team (36.91) that went undefeated until losing to Wisconsin in the Final Four. Upsets can happen, all it takes is a bad shooting night or a great game by an opponent, and the season can end in disappointment. That should not happen to them this year.

Gonzaga has NBA Lottery talent on their roster, they have the best offense in the country, a Top-10 defense, and they dominated a tough schedule against several ranked teams early in the season. I think this is their tournament to lose, and if they show up every game in the tournament, they will become the first undefeated team since 1976 Indiana.
– Derek Lofland

Gonzaga has a legit top-5 NBA pick in Jalen Suggs, and this is the best team in school history. Mark Few and company got tested in the WCC Championship game and responded how the country’s top team should. Their part of the bracket won’t be a cakewalk by any stretch – Virginia, Iowa, and Kansas all pose threats – but the Zags seem to be on a mission. They will be defying history in finishing the season undefeated, but in a season that has been as crazy as anything we have ever seen, that would be the perfect ending. Give me the Zags over Ohio State in a tight championship game.
– Jason Kamlowsky

Gonzaga has something it hasn’t had in past years, a 5-star prospect and NBA talent. Jalen Suggs is the difference-maker for the Bulldogs. Gonzaga is loaded with scorers, so it isn’t a one-man show. But Suggs has the talent to take over a game instantly, as we saw in the West Coast tournament final. Gonzaga also has a great path to the Final Four. They took care of Iowa, Kansas, and Virginia earlier in the season, and the latter two teams could be shorthanded by COVID protocols.
– Matt Barbato

Houston Cougars
Houston are winners of seven consecutive games heading into the tournament, capping their streak with a 91-54 drubbing of the Cincinnati Bearcats to win the American Athletic Conference. The Cougars have an immensely talented back-court, as Quentin Grimes, Marcus Sasser, and DeJon Jarreau are all averaging double-digit scoring this season. Houston finds themselves in the Midwest region, with the top-seeded Illinois Illini posing the least threat out of the four top seeds in this year’s tournament. The Cougars have held opponents to a meager average of 57.9 points per game this season and will lean on their sound defense and rebounding abilities, along with the elite play of former five-star prospect G Quentin Grimes to navigate their way to winning the Big Dance against the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs.
– Matt MacKay

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