The 2019 March Madness Tournament is upon us. After the first four are decided – two games on Tuesday and another two on Wednesday – the first round of the tournament gets underway Thursday, March 21 at 12:15pm ET.
Before you fill out your 2019 Printable March Madness Bracket, have a look at Damon Amendolara’s picks for the whole 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament.
March is about Cinderella, the teams no one expects to break brackets dazzling our imaginations.
However, most college basketball observers will tell you this is a top-heavy year. There appears to be a pretty big chasm between the top programs and everyone else. So expecting a new Loyola-Chicago or Butler to end up in the Final Four may be waiting for a train that never comes.
Damon Amendolara’s Bracket
Instead, the upsets could very well happen in the first weekend with chalk then floating to the top by the Elite 8.
Final Four Teams
Looking at the Final Four, I’m not expecting any double-digit seeds to be heading to Minneapolis. But that doesn’t mean it’ll just be #1 seeds either. Here’s the teams I see dancing into the final weekend of the college basketball season:
Duke Blue Devils
Duke is my only top seed heading to Minneapolis, coming out of the East, although it’s no surprise considering the demolition we just witnessed in the ACC Tournament.
It’s easy to project the Blue Devils winning six games because of a devastating combination of the most talented team in America, the best coach in America, and the greatest player in America.
How to top that? The Blue Devils suit up three NBA lottery picks, and perhaps three of the top four picks in the draft. But the player that puts them over the top is of course, Zion Williamson. Without him, Duke was a .500 team, and looked extremely vulnerable.
— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) March 17, 2019
With him, they tore through the ACC tourney, which included a win over fellow 1-seed UNC. Zion came back and immediately looked like a wrecking ball, which is what he’ll try to carry over into the NCAA Tournament.
I think he’ll rise to the occasion, and Duke will be cutting down the nets when all is said and done. I like the Blue Devils to win it all.
Michigan will make it out of the West to face Duke in the Final Four.
The Wolverines have Gonzaga as the top seed in the region, but I think the Bulldogs will be picked off along the way.
The Wolverines were one of the best teams in perhaps the deepest conference in America, and John Beilein is easily one of the top five coaches in the country. They can shoot from the outside and play great defense. It’s a formula that works in March.
This sequence just looks like March. pic.twitter.com/jetMP4kCOz
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 17, 2019
I think they’ll avoid the Zags (1) and Texas Tech (3) in the region, and knock off FSU in the Elite 8. The toughest matchup for them will be a frisky Nevada squad in the Round of 32.
Kentucky is headed to the Twin Cities out of the Midwest by surviving an instant classic against UNC in the Elite 8.
John Calipari is known for recruiting tons of elite high school talent, but should get more credit for bringing them together as a team. The Wildcats have gotten better throughout the entire season, and have winnable games through the first three rounds.
“We’ve used the year to prepare our guys for this time of the year.” – Cal
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 17, 2019
Wofford had an amazing season, but Kentucky will overwhelm them in the Round of 32. Houston has been terrific this season, but the Wildcats should be able to get by the Cougars. That leaves Roy Williams and the Tar Heels, and I think the Cats are up to the challenge.
I see UK falling to Duke in the title game.
Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State is my sleeper team in the Twin Cities. A 4-seed that was in the Elite 8 last year isn’t a true Cinderella, but I think the Cats will break open the South.
K-State gets past Wisconsin in the Round of 32, then finds itself in a battle with Virginia in the Sweet 16. But the Cavs, despite being the 1-seed, have annually under-performed in the tourney; K-State takes down UVA.
I see Tennessee losing early, meaning the Wildcats deal with Purdue in the Elite 8. Give me Bruce Weber’s crew heading to the Final Four, and plenty of purple in Minneapolis to fit in with Vikings and Prince fans.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.