March Madness 2020 (What Could Have Been) Midwest Region: First Round (Part 1)

While COVID-19 has taken away not only sports, but my sanity as well, I can still make predictions on what would have happened in the NCAA March Madness. The past five years, I’ve correctly picked three out of four of the Final Four, each year, so I know what I’m doing here. Ok, here we go!

#1 Kansas vs. #16 Siena

Kansas would absolutely crush Siena and will be able to coast throughout this game. Kansas fully convinced me that they’re a real and that they really could have won the title this season. Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike would carry the Jayhawks to an easy victory in the first round. Kansas wins big.

#8 Houston vs. #9 Marquette

One team is red hot and the other is ice cold. Houston, one of my favorite teams is absolutely on fire after putting away Memphis in their regular season finale and were looking prepared to destroy the rest of the AAC in the tournament. Guards Caleb Mills and Quentin Grimes form one of the better and more explosive backcourts in all of basketball and they will have their hands full against Markus Howard and Marquette.

Marquette SUCKED down the stretch going 1-6 to end their regular season. They will be at the will of Markus Howard’s scoring but seeing that he scored over thirty points in their last five games and went 1-4, I think that the Golden Eagles will lose in the first round yet again. Houston is a legit threat in this tournament but their draw as an #8 seed and having to face Kansas is unfortunate. Houston wins comfortably but by single digits.

#5 Auburn vs. #12 Liberty

In the famous #5-#12 matchups where upsets are statistically high, I will not be taking this bait. This game is a sucker game where the sexy pick is to go with the Flames upsetting the Tigers. While this could have easily been similar to #5 Marquette vs. #12 Murray State game of last year where the world was on Murray State and Ja Morant and they won, but as I said, I’m not a sucker. 

Liberty is one of the highest seeded mid-major teams this season after winning the Atlantic Sun regular season and winning their conference tournament (as I predicted) they were awarded a #12 seed, but they really didn’t deserve it in my opinion. I’m not nearly as high on Liberty as many are and that’s why I think that Auburn will win this game in close fashion, something they seemingly did every game this year. Auburn, like a lot of teams, got hot at the right time and finished the season with a statement win at Tennessee where Vegas had them as a 2-point underdog. Samir Doughty would have gone off for Auburn and they would have won in a close, high scoring affair.

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 North Texas

Somehow, seemingly out of nowhere Wisconsin won (a share of) the Big Ten. I’m not a believer in the North Texas Mean Green at all, so I have to back the Badgers here. One of the essentials in life, Life, Death, Taxes, and Wisconsin having many tall shooters, stays true this season. Wisconsin won their last eight games in an absolute gauntlet of a Big 10 schedule. I’ve found myself watching some Wisconsin highlights and games after their elite performance against the Wolverines. After that game I was asking myself, “is Wisconsin for real?” Yes, they are. Wisconsin wins by double digits. 

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