Chattanooga, Malachi Smith, March Madness

March Madness is here and upsets are going to happen.

We all love March Madness for one reason. The madness of all the upsets. Whether or not you get furious because your Final Four “lock” getting beat at the buzzer in the first round, we all must admit it’s the best part of any sport. South Dakota State and Vermont will not be included as they have been hyped up to the point of exhaustion.

1. 10. Davidson vs 7. Michigan State

Davidson has two of the best offensive guards in the country in Fletcher Loyer and Hyunjung Lee and they’ll be guarded by two of the best defensive guards in Max Christie and AJ Hoggard. The Wildcats average 74.6 points a game on a 55.6 effective field goal percentage. Michigan State averages nearly two times more blocks a game however Davidson won’t drive as much which could cancel that out. If the shots are falling Davidson will probably face Duke in the Round of 32.

2. 11. Virginia Tech 6. Texas 

Virginia Tech is red hot coming into this tournament and the Longhorns have had extra time to prep so to speak. The Hokies have an all-conference player in Keve Aluma, who is able to score with ease but also lock down any forward he goes up against. Texas relies heavily on their defense but can struggle to put up points. The Hokies are proven as they were able to force Duke as the second-place team in the conference tournament while scoring 82 points in the win. The Longhorns will need to watch out. 

3. 12. UAB vs 5 Houston

Houston’s defense is suffocating, but having the upperclassmen leadership of Jordan Walker, Quan Jackson, Michael Ertel, and KJ Buffin favors UAB. The elders should be able to deal with an aggressive defense that Houston used to win the American Athletic Conference. Jordan Walker is the best player in the game and his athleticism and playmaking will be the biggest game-changer in this potentially dangerous round of 64 matchup.

4. 13. Chattanooga vs 4. Illinois

Chattanooga having Malachi Smith, David Jean-Baptiste, and Silvio De Sousa makes a dangerous trip for any team with their offensive style. Going up against Kofi Cockburn, the Fighting Illini will prove challenging but not impossible. Chattanooga has excellent shooting ability and if everyone is hitting their shots for the Mocs they’ll be able to keep it close. If Illinois has a poor shooting night and Kofi gets in foul trouble, the Mocs may advance. 

5. 10. Loyola Chicago vs 7. Ohio State

How could one talk about Cinderellas and upsets and not mention the Ramblers from the Windy City? Lucas Williamson is easily their number one, leading them in scoring, rebounding, and steals. He’s a true all-around talent that would need to and has carried the load against superstars. However, this would be the biggest test for the Ramblers as they’re taking on EJ Liddell and the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Loyola uses its defense to get wins and Ohio State has struggled against very good defensive teams. This game will be lower scoring but will be a classic as the Ramblers very well could take it. 

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