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NCAAM: Top Ten National Championship Contenders

The True Contenders for the 2018 NCAAM National Championship

San Antonio 2018

San Antonio 2018

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The chaos of March Madness seems to have hit the 2018 basketball season early this year. Upsets have abounded and the rank of the number one team in the country has been a carousel, with so many upsets shaking up the rankings each week. This season has definitely been an exciting one and this tournament does not have a clear favorite to bring the trophy back to their respective universities. In this article we have ranked who we believe are the ten most likely teams to win the championship in what has been a crazy basketball season.

This season has definitely been an exciting one and this tournament does not have a clear favorite to bring the trophy back to their respective universities.”

Virginia Cavaliers- After the last few years producing hopeful but ultimately lackluster seasons, Virginia has finally found its step. With workhorses Kyle Guy and Devon Hall, Virginia has been the dominant force in the ACC and is currently the no. 1 seed in the AP poll heading into selection Sunday. With only two losses, overall, and a powerful 4-0 end to the regular season, the Virginia Cavaliers are positioned to make a strong showing for a title in this year’s tournament. After years of trying and failing, Tony Bennett has finally put together a championship-caliber basketball team capable of winning the school’s first titleWT

Villanova Wildcats- Villanova has had an insane run these last few years and this March should be no different. Ryan Arcidiacono and Kris Jenkins, the heroes that brought home the title in 2016 have gone on to the NBA and given Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges the chance to shine. They have shown that just like their predecessors, they are capable of greatness. The Wildcats have been untouchable this year when they play their best basketball. If the Wildcats play up to their potential, look for them to challenge for the title this coming March- NS

Kansas Jayhawks- While Bill Self’s team has not been as domineering this year as it has in the past, they are still on top of the Big-12 Conference and poised to make another strong showing in the tournament with a no. 9 seed heading into Sunday. Devonte Graham, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, and Udoka Azubuike all have over 13 points per game, with Azubuike having a .774 field goal percentage. However, Kansas as shown with 10-point losses to Arizona State, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Oklahoma State, that it may not have the defensive abilities that it has had in past years. Still, Bill Self’s experience in the tournament and the team’s strong 7-0 season opening with wins over Kentucky and Syracuse puts the Jayhawks in a solid position to make a run for the title– WT

Arizona Wildcats- Arizona came into the season filled with hope. Deandre Ayton, Allonzo Trier, and Dusan Ristic looked like a core prepared to send the Wildcats to a deep tournament run, but the regular season has been a bit of a disappointment for Wildcats fans. While there are still questions that they have to figure out, the Wildcats still have the assets to make a deep run and even challenge for the title. Deandre Ayton is an incredible ballplayer and he gives the Wildcats hope. In what has been such a hectic basketball season, the Wildcats could very well get hot at the right time- NS

Purdue Boilermakers- The Boilermakers have another strong record this year with Isaac Haas and Carsen Edwards at the helm, and will make a real push for the title this year. All 6 losses have been by less than 10 points, and the November 24th monster win (89-64) against Arizona with Deandre Ayton has positioned Purdue for a strong entrance into the tournament. Purdue has serious strength in Edwards’ dynamic and fast moving play, as well as Haas’ size and dominant force on the court. When they are playing at their best, they have real potential on the NCAA court this March– WT

Duke Blue Devils- Whatever opinion that you may have of Grayson Allen does not change the simple fact that this kid knows how to play ball. Allen has played with some great talent in his four years at Duke, but true freshman star Marvin Bagley III could be the top on that list. This team is arguably the most talented in the country, featuring the skills of Gary Trent Jr., Wendell Carter Jr. and Tevon Duval alongside Allen and Bagley. If Bagley comes back healthy for the tournament, the Blue Devils are a real threat to come away with the championship and give legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski his sixth national championship- NS

Xavier Musketeers- The Musketeers have been on the rise in the Chris Mack era, and this year may be its most dominating. With 3 of their 4 losses being to Villanova (twice) and Arizona State, and wins over Cincinnati and Butler, Xavier is no. 3 overall going into Selection Sunday and is no. 1 in the Big East tournament bracket thanks to monstrous play by senior Trevon Bluiett. While Villanova, the second best team in the NCAA only to Virginia, has bested Xavier the two times they played in the regular season, the Musketeers should have a chance to overcome the Wildcats and win the Big East. Regardless, Xavier is poised to make a strong run in the tournament, and this year’s team could finally claim the school’s first titleWT

Michigan State Spartans- Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr. are the scariest dynamic duo in this year’s college basketball season. The Spartans have some talent behind them, but will have to rely heavily on their two superstars to make a deep tournament run. This team does have a tendency to get lazy at times, but if they can get their act together they will be a scary force to deal with. This team should be one of the favorites to win the championship this year, but they will have to stay focused and not get overconfident. That being said, they have the talent to do so. Bridges, a Wooden Award finalist and arguably the best player in college basketball this season, will be the most talented player on the court most nights. If he plays like it, Michigan State can beat anyone –NS

Gonzaga Bulldogs- While the West Coast Conference is one of the easier in the NCAA, no one can discount the monstrous 14 game win streak and the level of play at which the Bulldogs have been this season. While Gonzaga does not have a single standout player, all five of their starters average over 11 points per game, and their only loss in the regular season by over 10 points was to Villanova. Gonzaga has never been historically a dominant force in the NCAA tournament, only making it to their first final four last year and defeating South Carolina to then lose in the final to UNC. This year could be very different for the Mark Few’s Bulldogs in that they have the experience of their loss last year and could finally seal the deal for the school’s first titleWT

North Carolina Tar Heels- As far as North Carolina teams go, this is not a stellar one. Nevertheless, Roy Williams has a proven track record and the pieces to make a deep run are starting to come into place. Luke Maye has been a beast while Cam Johnson has emerged as solid scoring threat to compliment him. Joel Berry II has the experience to lead these youngsters during the tournament and is starting to play like the star he was in last year’s tourney. The Tar Heels still have a long way to go, but in a year without a major front runner, they could pull of the miraculous feat of going to three straight national championships- NS

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