Oh-oh, yes I’m the great pretender
Pretending that I’m doing well
My need is such I pretend too much
I’m lonely but no one can tell
– The Platters
The aforementioned lyrics by the now legendary Platters pretty much sum up my feelings on the 16 remaining teams in the 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament.
You see…if you’re a NCAAB betting buff that is looking to cap of your March Madness betting campaign in style then you should know that there are legitimate contenders – and great pretenders – that could either break your heart – or boost your betting bankroll once the Sweet 16 gets underway in earnest on Thursday night.
Thankfully, I have done all of the requisite basketball betting ‘homework’ so now all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is and watch ‘your plan come together’ like good ‘ol Hannibal Smith.
— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) March 24, 2015
Let’s take a look at the handful of ballclubs that I believe are legitimate March Madness title contenders before moving on to the ones I think are nothing more than great pretenders.
The Fighting Irish have a legitimate superstar in Jerian Grant, a complement of perimeter shooters and competent inside play from their big men…plus, they play solid defense.
The Badgers have one of the best big men in the nation in Frank ‘The Tank’ Kaminsky and a slew of other heady players that can consistently put the ball in the basket. Oh, did I forget to mention that Wisconsin plays defense like they’re literally glued to their opponents?
The Shockers have experience, talent, shooters and one of the best backcourts in the nation. Plus, this team just kind of makes you play their kind of game.
Let’s see…Not only do the Wildcats have a bevy of future NBA performers, but probably about a half-dozen first round picks on their roster. Kentucky isn’t the best perimeter shooting team, but all other players attack the basket with ferocity, not to mention the Cats have the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft in freshman center Karl Anthony-Towns.
The Wildcats are loaded with talent, starting with freshman forward Stanley Johnson. The Wildcats play excellent defense and often look like they could beat any tam in the field if you ask me.
Forwards Kyle Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos are outstanding basketball players that will likely play at the next level. The Bulldogs also have one of the game’s best head coaches in Mark few and play ‘team’ basketball kind of like the San Antonio Spurs.
The Bruins have a deadly sniper in Bryce Alford and a bevy of high-flying athletic players to compliment him. Clearly, the Bruins are playing their best basketball of the season at just the right time too.
Tom Izzo…’lock-down’ defense…intelligent offense…one or two sure-fire NBA performers…more Tom Izzo. I wonder why some other programs don’t try to copy the Spartans’ blueprint for March Madness success.
Freshman center Jahlil Okafor is arguably the best big man in the country and the Blue Devils are getting outstanding performances all over the place for college basketball’s best head coach!
I would have never dreamed of putting NC State in my legitimate contender category, until I looked at the athletic Wolfpack in a different light…like right after their stunner over No. 1 Villanova.
The Great Pretenders!
The Tar Heels are loaded with high-flying athletic talent, but I sense another flame-out coming for Carolina pretty soon as they display one of their ‘mindless’ stretches where they simply don’t play smart basketball for major stretches.
I would say West Virginia is fairly legitimate, but unfortunately, the Mountaineers are going to get bounced out of the Sweet 16 by Kentucky.
Speaking of teams that are getting bounced out of the Sweet 16….sorry Xavier, Arizona is too much to handle.
The Cardinals have a great head coach, but outside of swingman Terry Rozier, they’re not very talented offensively, though Montrezl Harrell is a monster in the low post.
The Utes are a heady team, but I don’t think they’ve got nearly enough athleticism to take down Duke in their Sweet 16 showdown.
The Sooners are in the exact same boat as the Utah Utes. Oklahoma doesn’t have enough athleticism it will take to beat a focused Michigan State ballclub.