A 7-seed and even higher has always made it to the final four since 2013 and we are likely to see a repeat of this in 2018. With the printable 2018 March Madness Bracketnow available, lets take a look at the top sleepers from different regions.
West Region – Number 4 Gonzaga
The Zags are not as impressive as last season even though they’re fully reloaded. Last year they were runners-up, but lost three talented starters plus their top-10 draft player Zach Collins. Killian Tillie was a fourth big last season but has balled with an average of 24 points on 78% from the floor in the WCC competition. Tillie lacks the wow athleticism, even though he is fairly okay. However, he’s a heady defender and an important player for the team. Tillie is a tactical player who can allow the bulldogs to play 5-out on the offensive while maintaining a strong defense.
Gonzaga does not have a major weakness like many other teams. They’re ranked 12th in the offense and position 17 in defense. So far it is ranked fifth in the country with 59 percent from its 2s and 43 percent against its foes to occupy sixth position. William ensures that he checks every box and creates his own offense, protect the rim and hit open 3s. With their dynamic duo Silas Melson and Josh Perkins, their backcourt has been solid. And not forgetting their most talented player Rui Hachimura, currently averaging 11.3 points in just 20 minutes on each game. He provides versatility to his team, which is a much-needed character in any NCAA tournament.
The 2018 march madness bracket has given the bulldogs a rare opportunity to bring out their best. Xavier is definitely a weak seed compared to others, although Ohio State are tough, but Zags are likely to outshine them. Michigan is hot too and that will wind up the elite eight matchup. Gonzaga are likely to produce a good shot to end up to San Antonio.
Midwest Region – Seton Hall
Most people view them as the underdogs but remember, no one thought South Carolina could make it to the Final Four in 2017 season. That means, Seton Hall might be better a seed that what many suggests and their road is also manageable. They have their four seniors including two of their talented studs; Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado. If they manage to edge out N.C State in their upcoming 8-9 game, their biggest strength is the Kansas biggest weakness.
Delgado performance stands at an average of 11.6 rebounds and 4 offensive boards while Seton Hall makes 34 percent misses. Udoka Azubuike is expected back in the team for the upcoming NCAA tournament, although he will not be ultimate factor for the Halls favor. The Seton Hall needs multiple wins to make it to the Final four.
The Pirates are currently ranked 58th in the defense which is a low number going by their experience and the players they have. That means, to make it against an Elite Eight Matchup game against Michigan State or Duke will be a tough one, even though its winnable. Rodriguez will be the player to watch since he’s fearless and late-game shot maker. Seton Hall are likely to lose in their first round, but if they can make it to last 16, they’ll gain confidence.
East Region – Florida
Are you confident that the Florida will advance to the Final Four? The answer is likely to be No. We all agree that the Gators experienced brutal losses in this season and oftenly lost games that were easy to win. However, Florida’s apex is currently at the same level with best and if we can see it that way, then Gators are likely to make their way to the Final Four.
The Florida’s defensive is currently placed at 25th and that has clearly shown that Mike White defensive schemes are quite clever. Their offensive is also tantalizing since they can play their best players together; Chris Chiozza, Jalen Hudson and Egor Koulechov. And sometimes up to four, depending on whether they want to include KeVaughn Allen.
When it comes to Allen, he’s definitely a crucial player for the team. He proved to be a serious challenger for the 2017-18 SEC Player of the Year. However, he hasn’t been in his top form at the moment. After previously shooting 44% from the field and 37% from 3, those numbers have easily gone down to 37% and 34% respectively.
The path looks quite reasonable for the Florida. And shouldn’t be shocked when Gators make it deep into the tournament.
South Region – Kentucky
Kentucky should not be seen as a dark horse if we can take a minute and look back on the Valentine’s day where the Wildcats were 17-9 and 6-7 after a serious loss at the Auburn. They are expected to do better when they meet Virginia and Arizona to proceed to Final Four, but more on that is coming soon.
So far Kentucky has done very well, winning seven games out of eight they’ve played since Feb 14. John Calipri seemed to struggle with his lineup but of late he has successfully settled on a squad that works. One of the major changes is passing the ball to the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to do his stuff. It has taken a while for Gilgeous-Alexander to embrace the new alpha role.
Calipri is currently using the two-point guard lineups that features Quade Green and Gilgeous-Alexander which is creating more shots. Another smart move was transferring more time from Nick Richards to Sacha Killeya-Jones. Calipri is definitely thriving in March and his talented side has finally discovered the most-needed identity. A month ago, it was like a pipe dream for Kentucky to make it to Final Four. Its all possible now.