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8 thereof. March Madness team that can win the national championship, ranked

The biggest event on the US sports calendar begins seriously Thursday, when 64 teams begin their quiz to win the college basketball national championship. Mars Madness is often defined by underdogs and upsets, but it requires a special team to win six straight games in the NCAA tournament.

It feels like only eight teams in this field can actually do it. Let's rank them.

Three reasons Sparty can go all the way:

  • Cassius Winston is one of the best point guards in the country
  • They are full of clever, experienced and reliable role players
  • ] This is a classic Tom Izzo Team

March is supposed to be Tom Izzo's month, but Michigan State has fought in the NCAA tournament as late as the first weekend of three straight years. Why can this season be different? Because, instead of relying on young players who are full of NBA potential, Izzo has a group of veterans who share the ball, hit shot and defender.

Players in our top-50 countdown: 1

How difficult is Michigan State's path to the last four?

It feels manageable … until the elite eight. The Spartans face a No. 15 seed in Bradley to open things up. Then they get the winner of Minnesota vs. Louisville for the right to go to Sweet 16.

3 LSU and No. 6 Maryland are potential opponents to open the second weekend, but neither should Michigan State fans be scared. LSU is without head coach Will Wade suspended by the school for his part in the FBI's corruption investigation. MSU beat Maryland off 14 earlier this season and the terps have not exactly a sterling reputation in March.

Duke probably expected in Elite Eight. It's another story.

Three reasons why wild cats can go all the way:

  • P.J. Washington is a stud
  • Kentucky owns paint
  • The freshman is in the process of

Kentucky has another team loaded with five-star recruits up and down the roster. Although there is no future top-five NBA draft selection on this list that fans in Lexington are used to, this team still has so many of the features shared by John Calipari's best team. Namely, Kentucky has a large size, gets it defensively and can dominate the glass.

Players in our top-50 countdown: 1

  • Nr. 7: P.J. Washington, F

Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson were also considered.

How hard is the Kentucky road to the Final Four?

Pretty hard. As the No. 2 seed in the Midwest, Kentucky faces Abilene Christian to open games in the round one before meeting the winner of Wofford and Seton Hall. Seton Hall has already beaten Kentucky against once a year in a neutral court, while Wofford has hovered around the top 20 of KenPom over the past month thanks to a three-point heavy attack led by star cutters Fletcher Magee.

Iowa State or Houston could wait in Sweet 16 and both are formidable. Cougars are 31-3 and completed the top 25 in efficiency at both ends of the court. Iowa State is packed with long, athletic players and has just won the Big 12 tournament title.

In Elite Eight, everyone would like to see a Kentucky UNC rematch from the game Luke Maye won at the sum two years ago

Three Reasons Wolverines Can Go All the Way:

  • Michigan Has an Elite Defense [19659027] Wolverines have shovels on the wings
  • Michigan has a good coach with a balanced roster

John Beilein's team is typically known for their insult, but Michigan has become a defensive power plant in recent years. This Wolverine squad ranks No. 2 in the country in defensive efficiency with point guard Zavier Simpson giving excellent perimeter ball and center Jon Teske walling off the rim. Ignas Brazdeikis, Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole are all capable of scoring on the wing, so Michigan can ride the hot hand instead of playing through a guy in misdemeanor. One year after reaching the national title game, Beilein is back with another squad that is good enough to win everything.

Players in our top-50 countdown: 2

Brazdeikis and Matthews were also considered.

How difficult is the Michigan road to the Final Four?

Really hard. After playing Montana in the opening round, Michigan might have to face a Nevada team that is far more talented than its No. 7 seed would indicate. Jarrett Culver and Texas Tech # 1 overall defense can wait in Sweet 16, or maybe it will be a date with Nate Oats, C.J. Massinburg and Buffalo. There are many potential landmines.

Gonzaga will be the favorite to reach Elite Aight at the top of the region, but also does not discount Florida State that ran for the round last year. Michigan has its work cut out for those who have been dragged.

Three reasons why volunteers can go all the way:

The Vols had last fourth aspirations last season before being shocked by the buzz at Loyola-Chicago. The whole team returned this year and immediately solidified as one of the best in the country. Grant Williams – This year's Player of the Year sophomore – improved across the board as a junior and joins this tournament as one of the best players in the field. Can Tennessee's guards frame three years when the defense collapses on Williams?

Players in our top-50 countdown: 2

Jordan Bone was also considered.

How hard is Tennessee's way to the Final Four?

As No. 2 seed in the south, the Volts must have a clear path to Elite Eight, at least. A matchup with a hard Cincinnati team could wait in round two, but Tennessee should have enough weapons to move on. In Sweet 16, Purdue and Villanova are both beatable.

If Virginia also survives, set up a No.1 against No.2 showdown for the right to go to the Final Four. "Hoos is legitimately good (more on them in a second), but Tennessee has the horses to win that game.

Three reasons Cavaliers can win everything:

  • The offense has finally come to defense [19659044] De & # 39; Other Hunter is a certified lottery pick
  • The defense is still the elite

A year after becoming the first No. 1 seed that never loses to No. 16 in the opening round, Virginia is back in line with a team that feels better equipped for a tournament run. The other Hunter is healthy helper, just like an improved offense of the strength of Kyle Guy's shot and Ty Jerome's heady two-way game. The tournament as the team's only team in the country currently No. 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Players in our top-50 countdown: 3

  • No. 24: Kyle Guy, G
  • No. 17: Ty Jerome, G
  • No. 11: The Other Hunter, F

How Hard is Virginia's Way to the Final Four?

For exposed Hoos & # 39; one can actually get past No. 16 Gardner-Webb in the first round, a matchup with the winner of Ole Frøken vs. Oklahoma tissue. Wisconsin and Kansas State are two probably cute 16 opponents, but don't be surprised if an underdog crashes the party.

The Elite Eight game against Tennessee would be one of the best in the tournament if that happens.

Three reasons Taking Heels can win it all:

  • Coby White emerges in a star
  • UNC player FAST
  • The heels have three senior leaders

Tar Heels play faster than any team in the tournament field. UNC wants to transform each possession into a transitional option, even after making baskets. Coby White has shined as a freshman point guard – Carolina's tournament runs could depend on how hot he gets. Cameron Johnson and Luke Maye are seniors with size and shooting ability. Roy Williams is trying to make the national title game for the third time in the last four years. This team has the talent to do it.

Players in our top-50 countdown: 2

Luke Maye was also considered.

How hard is North Carolina's way to the Final Four?

As the top seed in the south, UNC faces Iona in round one and then the winner of Washington and Utah State in round two. Auburn or Kansas could be tough sweet 16 opponents, but Carolina has a much higher ceiling than either.

All eyes will be on the potential Elite Aight meeting with Kentucky. Lexington can burn if Luke Maye hits another game winner.

Three reasons for Bulldogs can win everything:

  • Brandon Clarke is unconventional superstar
  • There are so many players who can get warm on offensive
  • Josh Perkins is an experienced leader screen

Gonzaga beat Duke, lost in overtime to Tennessee and lost in a true road trip to North Carolina this season, so no one can say that Bulldogs have not been tested. & # 39; Zags made the title game two years ago, and this team can be even better: they are loaded with offensive weapons, and Clarke is undoubtedly the best defender of the college game. This team is deep and full of high-level talent. No one should be surprised if they win it all.

Players in our top-50 countdown: 2

Josh Perkins was also considered.

How difficult is Gonzaga's way to the Final Four?

The West feels like the hardest region. A potential second round game against Syracuse and its wonky zone would be scary. Then a potential Sweet 16 game against Florida State, which made Elite Eight last year. Markus Howard and Marquette or Ja Morant and Murray State could also break down the party.

Michigan could wait for Elite Eight. And if Gonzaga wins that game, a rematch awaits with these guys next …

Three reasons for the blue devils can win it all:

  • Zion Williamson is a historically great player
  • Duke plays defense this season [19659077] They have the highest ceiling in the country

Duke has owned this season right from the start and opened the year with a 34-point win over Kentucky that served as a warning shot for the rest of the country. Zion Williamson has been beyond any wildest imagination and put together a case that he is one of the most dominant players the college level has ever seen. With an impressive defense and skilled co-stars in R.J. Barrett, Tre Jones and Cam Reddish, duke into the tournament as favorite to cut down the net in Minneapolis.

Players in our top-50 countdown: 3

  • Nr. 39: Tre Jones, G
  • No. 12: R.J. Barrett, G
  • Nr. 1: Zion Williamson, F

Cameron Reddish was also considered.

How hard is Duke's way to the Final Four?

The path is clear. UCF or VCU should not have a second round chance. A potentially Sweet 16 game with Virginia Tech would be difficult, but Duke would be a great favorite. Even in an Elite Eight game against Michigan State, Duke would have a huge talent advantage.

This season is national title or bust to Duke. Have always been. If anyone can handle that kind of pressure, it's Zion Williamson.

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