Here Are ONE37pm's Official 2021 March Madness Predictions

Let's go dancing.

mobile hero NCAA 1080x1168
Getty Images

Are you guys ready for the early but not so early March Madness predictions? Well, we sure are.

With Conference tournaments in full swing and the excitement of Selection Sunday just a few short days away, we are gathering up our predictions to get you pumped for an exciting couple of weeks. While we won’t know the entire bracket until Sunday evening, it is still fun to play the guessing game right? We’ll see in the near future if our predictions were on the money or completely left field, but for the time being, let’s get in on the bracketology madness.

Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, and Illinois Will Be The Number One Seeds

GettyImages 1306267566
Gonzaga celebrates championship win against the Brigham Young Cougars / Getty Images

This prediction isn’t too crazy. These are the four teams that are widely projected to take the No. 1 spots due to their dominant performances and consistency this season. 

Gonzaga is undefeated, and they have only had one game this year where they didn’t win by double digits. The margin of error for this team is slim-to-none, and the Zags have a versatile offense with scorers like Corey Kispert, Drew Timme, and Jalen Suggs. Gonzaga absolutely bombards their opponent’s defense with speed, transitions, and crafty backdoor cuts. If you want a shot at beating the Zags, you will have to slow them down offensively and as evidenced by their zero losses, that is not an easy feat.

Now on to Baylor. The Bears could actually have a case for being the best team in the tournament. Led by junior guard Jared Butler (who was recently named the AP Big 12 Player of the Year), Baylor has had very few slip ups this season, only losing to 10th ranked West Virginia on March 3rd. Offensively, the Bears are flowing, and they are lethal from 3-point range, one only needs to look at  Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague to get an idea of what we mean. Teague can rack up points quickly, and Mitchell has also been incredibly efficient this season. The Bears might be one of the most complete teams in the tournament this year, and their confidence is high heading into next week. Also of note: Baylor lost almost a month of games due to Covid-19.

Next up Michigan. The Wolverines had been on a tear prior to their loss against No. 3 Illinois, but since then it has been an up and down battle. Michigan beat Michigan State like they were supposed to on March 4th, but then three days later they turned around and lost to, well, Michigan State. The Spartans are a solid team themselves, looking to make some noise in the  Big Ten Tourney, but Michigan was widely considered to be the better team heading into that matchup (especially since they had just easily beaten them a couple of days before). Here is the thing—once March Madness starts, the regular season no longer matters. We’ve seen teams that have had near-perfect seasons go down early by way of an upset. In March, you are only as good as your last game. The Wolverines’ are still capable of everything predicted earlier this year and a solid performance in the Big Ten tourney could help them get their confidence back before March Madness.

Last but not least, Illinois. Recently climbing to No. 3 in the rankings, the Fighting Illini have a ‘Fantastic Four’ in Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn, Andre Curbelo, and Trent Frazier, all of whom recently collected Big Ten awards, and are hitting their stride as they approach the Big Ten tournament. You could make the argument that their best game of the season so far was their win against Michigan, and they remain one of the hottest teams in the nation. Illinois possesses a suffocating defense, and was able to take down Michigan without Dosunmu (their leading scorer). That is some insane depth, and a scary sight for opponents.

Ohio State Will Still Make The Sweet 16

GettyImages 1305810102
Musa Jallow of the Ohio State Buckeyes / Getty Images

You could call this ‘editor’s favoritism,’ but in this case the Buckeyes have the numbers to back it up. Despite their losses to Iowa and Illinois, OSU shouldn’t be written off completely.

Prior to their recent struggles, they had one of the best resumes in the country, with an impressive offense led by Duane Washington Jr. and E.J. Lidell. The Buckeyes have just got to get their mojo back, the season is full of ups and downs, and the Big Ten tournament could be a great place to get back into that groove they were in up until the end of February. Ohio State is good at breaking down defenses and knocking down threes, and they proved that against Illinois when they shot 40% from long range in the first half. The Buckeyes could also use the help of Justin Ahrens, who has been in the midst of a shooting slump. The only way to get out of a slump is to keep shooting, and Ahrens hasn’t let his struggles affect his mindset. If he can manage to get some shots to start falling, that would be huge for OSU.

Drake University, VCU, Colorado State and Hartford Will All Make The First Four

GettyImages 647635474
Drake Bulldogs' guard De'Antae McMurray / Getty Images

Eight teams will make the first four, and we have Drake University, VCU, Colorado State, and Hartford as four of those teams securing their token. Here is why: 2021 is the year of bold confident takes.

Drake University is having not only a great season, but one of their best in the history of the program. However, they may end up running into a momentum issue. The Bulldogs lost to Missouri State on Saturday, and will automatically advance to the Missouri Valley Conference Semis by way of a ‘Covid elimination’ after their quarter final matchup against Northern Iowa was canceled due to an outbreak amongst Northern Iowa’s players and personnel. Their next game is against Missouri State on Saturday, leaving the Bulldogs with a full week off. The break could either be helpful or to their detriment, but we still have Drake getting in.

VCU had a strong showing in their win against Davidson on March 5th, advancing to the A-10 Championship. One more win gives them an automatic bid to the tourney. Now here is where the bold prediction comes in—VCU will pull off the upset to take down the No 1. Ranked St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Some may say this can’t happen, but if any team could potentially beat St. Bonaventure, it would be VCU who is ranked No. 2. Both teams like to throw the first punch offensively and put their opponents away early, so it will be a matter of who can get the most stops. VCU’s defense has had great moments this year, and if they can weather the storm, they have a decent shot at beating St. Bonaventure.

If you don’t know about Colorado State, then you should become familiar really quickly. CSU is a sleeper team sounding alarms, ringing bells, making noise or whatever you want to call it. CSU is coming off a 14-4 Mountain West Conference record— their best in school history—and they are hungry for an NCAA tournament bid. The Rams know there is a lot at stake—their devastating loss against Nevada hurt their tournament conquest, but they can potentially recover with a powerful performance in the Mountain West Tournament.

Hartford appears to be in a good position to lock in a tournament spot, beating the No. 2 ranked Vermont in the American East semifinals. Now all the Hawks have to do is beat UMass Lowell on Saturday, and their spot in the NCAA Tourney will be secured. From a numbers standpoint, Hartford should be able to seal the deal, and they are riding high from their victory against Vermont. The Hawks will need another dynamic performance from Traci Carter and Austin Williams, and their offense will have to flow like it did this past Saturday if they want to win.

We'll be updating this list in the coming days, will have more March Madness coverage coming your way soon.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down