It’s been two years since we have had a March Madness bracket. The time has finally come for millions of people to fill out their 2021 NCAA tournament bracket with the hopes of beating their friends, family, and peers. Let’s talk about some facts the could change your bracket predictions before March Madness begins on Thursday.
Will Gonzaga go undefeated?
For the first time since 1976, Duke and Kentucky will both not be participating in the NCAA tournament. That was also the last time a team completed a perfect season when the Indiana Hoosiers finished 32-0.
Gonzaga has the opportunity to do what the Hoosiers did in 1976. Gonzaga is 26-0 and enters the tournament as the No.1 overall seed. This is only the fifth time a team has entered March Madness undefeated, and three of the five teams have made it to the final four.
The overall No.1 seed is cursed
It has been six years since the No.1 overall seed made it to the final four and eight years since it brought home a championship.
Two years ago, No.1 Duke made it past the Sweet 16 into the elite eight only to lose to Michigan State. Two years before Duke losing in the Elite 8, Virginia became the first No.1 ranked team to lose to a 16-seed.
Why Alabama won’t make the final four
There is history that points to why Alabama won’t make the final four. The Crimson Tide is the only team in the tournament to be a top-two seed and be in the top 10 AP poll after coming into the season unranked.
Out of all, the 32 teams to fit this same exact profile in the modern NCAA tournament era have reached the final four. 56% of the teams didn’t make it past the first two rounds of the tournament. The most recent example is when Virginia lost to UMBC in the first round in 2018.
Defending Champions do not last long
Since the 2006-07 Florida Gators, there hasn’t been a repeat champion in the tournament. Since the Gators repeat, no defending champion has made it past the Sweet 16, and in the last three tournaments, they have been eliminated in the second round. Virginia is defending a title they won two years ago, so it could work out differently for them.
At-Large teams that have a losing conference record
Michigan State and Maryland were both 9-11 in the Big Ten and received at-large bids this season. They are the only two teams with a losing record to receive at-large bids.
Since 1985 45 teams have been given the bid with losing conference records, 23 of them won the first-round matchup, but only 6 of them won again to move on to the Sweet 16. These are some historical facts to think about when creating your bracket because history tends to repeat itself.
Who will be the National Champion?
Guard Ayo Dosunmu and the Fighting Illini will be the national champions this year. They are the most complete team in the country, and they have shown that throughout the season.
Illinois had teams capable of winning in 1989 and 2005, and this is their time to finally earn what they have worked so hard for. Illinois will beat Gonzaga in the National Championship in an exciting high scoring matchup.