March Madness 2020

March Madness 2020

The Super Bowl has just been played and, shockingly, we are less than 50 days from Selection Sunday, the annual event that will set the field for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. You know what that means? March Madness bracket predictions and the least productive work days of the year.

Selection Sunday is set for March 15 with the First Four scheduled to begin on Tuesday, March 17, at the University of Dayton Arena. The 2020 NCAA tournament is the 82nd edition of what has become known as March Madness.

The tournament committee will select 36 at-large teams to include with the 32 automatic qualifiers to round out the 68-team field. The national championship game is set for April 6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The Favorites

Is there ever a year when basketball blueblood programs like Kansas and Duke are not favorites to win another national title? No, but this year’s March Madness predictions include some unfamiliar names.

The current No. 1 team in the nation is Baylor, which is 20-1 after 21 games. The Bears only loss of the season came in their second game, a 67-64 loss to Washington, a team that is now last in the Pac-12 standings. Still, the Bears have won 19 straight and knocked No. 3 Kansas and No. 22 Texas Tech along the way.

Barring disaster, Baylor is a likely No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Joining the Bears as No. 1 seeds are Gonzaga (23-1), the aforementioned Jayhawks (19-3), and any one of a number of teams.




Should San Diego State (23-0) remain unbeaten, it’s possible the Aztecs could earn a No. 1 seed. At worst, the predicted Mountain West Conference champions will be a No. 2 seed.

Don’t forget other blueblood programs like Duke and Louisville. There is also Florida State, which is enjoying one of its best seasons in recent history. All three schools play in the ACC and if any of the three could pull off winning the regular season and conference tournament titles that could be enough to earn a top seed.

For the first time in several years, there is no clear cut March Madness 2020 favorite heading into the final month of the college basketball regular season.

Surprise, Surprise

If unbeaten San Diego State, now ranked No. 4 in the nation, wasn’t enough of a surprise, how about the No. 6 Dayton Flyers? Dayton is currently riding an eleven-game winning streak, is unbeaten in Atlantic-10 play, and is 20-2 overall. One of their losses was by six points…to Kansas.

The bigger surprise could be the number of teams selected to the tourney from the A-10. Rhode Island (16-5, 8-1), VCU (16-6, 6-3), Duquesne (16-5, 6-3), Richmond (16-6, 6-3), and Saint Louis (17-5, 6-3) are all possibilities.

The same holds true for the Big East and Big Ten. The Big East has three teams – Villanova, Seton Hall, and Butler – ranked in the top-20. No. 12 Seton Hall is 16-5 overall and is 8-1 in conference play. Villanova is ranked No. 10 and is 17-4 overall, 7-2 in the conference.

No. 19 Butler may be the biggest surprise this season. The Bulldogs were picked to finish near the bottom of the conference. They are 17-5 overall. Add in Creighton (17-5, 6-3) coming off a huge win versus Villanova on Saturday and Marquette (16-6, 6-4) and maybe even a Xavier and the Big East could have six teams in the tournament.

The Big Ten has six ranked teams and one of them is No. 22 Penn State. It’s been a while since the Nittany Lions played in the tournament, but that’s where they are headed at 16-5 overall. No. 16 Michigan State (16-6, 8-3) was picked to win the conference, but they are battling two more surprises for the top spot.


No. 20 Illinois (16-6, 8-3) is having their best season in years and Rutgers (16-6, 7-4) came out of nowhere to fit in among the conference leaders. No. 9 Maryland and No. 17 Iowa are 7-3 and 7-4 respectively in conference play. The Terrapins are 17-4 overall and the Hawkeyes are 16-6. All six teams should make the Big Dance along with a few others like Indiana (15-7), Wisconsin (13-9), and Ohio State (14-7).


The big reason fans love to watch March Madness are all the underdogs.

Schools from conferences that fans didn’t even know existed become media darlings when they pull off upsets of major programs. Loyola-Chicago provided us with a shocking run to the Final Four a few years ago.

Who will it be in 2020?

Wichita State is no stranger to deep runs in the NCAA tournament. The Shockers are 17-4 and could find themselves advancing much further the tourney than in recent years. 

Utah State (17-7, 6-5) has a lineup that is scary. It is one of the biggest in the nation and guard Sam Merrill (17.9 ppg) is one of the best players no one has heard of, but the Aggies might need some help just getting into the tournament. If they do, they will not be an easy draw for anyone.

If Stephen F. Austin sounds familiar, it’s because the Lumberjacks have pulled tournament upsets in the past. They could be doing it again in 2020. SFA is currently 19-3 and 10-1 in the Southland Conference.

Ivy League regular season play just recently started, but by the time it is done Harvard (13-6, 2-2) may rise to the top. The Crimson returned five starters this season and head coach Tommy Amaker has taken Harvard teams into the tournament in the past. With their disciplined style of play, Harvard makes for a tough first-round matchup.