The NCAA Tournament brackets have been released, and the college basketball chatter has already reached maximum levels. Long live March.
As college basketball fans scan the brackets, they start to check out the potential matchups that could happen in a few weeks' time. Some people will put all the juiciest matchups in their bracket (me, for example), so when it happens, the fantasy comes reality.
Here’s hoping those fantasy matchups actually do become reality. Scroll down for the most anticipated games from each region.
Midwest Region: No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke, Sweet 16
An easy pick would be one of these two against Louisville, but picking a winner between the Dukies and Sparty is giving me a headache in itself.
Coach K. vs. Izzo, Garry Harris vs. Seth Curry, Adrien Payne vs. Miles Plumlee, the list of matchups never ends. I didn’t even get to mention Keith Appling and Ryan Kelly.
The stars will come out in this matchup, and so will a clash of styles. Michigan State will try to outwork Duke, making every possession a physical battle. Meanwhile, Duke will live and die by the three in this game, because Plumlee won’t be able to provide a consistent inside presence with all the work he’ll be doing on defense.
There’s no doubt this colossal game would come down to the wire.
South Region: No. 3 Florida vs. No. 2 Georgetown, Sweet 16
Call this rematch “The Wet Boat Game” as their season-opening clash was canceled at halftime due to rainy conditions on the U.S. naval ship.
But college basketball doesn’t do ties, and it doesn’t do cancellations either. We can thank the committee for making this potential rematch possible.
What America would be getting is Otto Porter trying to will his team to a Final Four berth against one of the best team defenses in Florida. The Gators are a statistical dream—just ask KenPom—but have suffered in close games in the second half of the season.
Plus, if you happened to catch Marshall Henderson torch the Gators in the SEC Championship this past Sunday, there’s no telling what the triple-double threat Porter could do against Florida with the Elite Eight at stake.
West Region: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 Ohio State, Elite Eight
This was the toughest pick as the West Region lacks the star power and depth of other regions, specifically the Midwest. Regardless, putting the ‘Zags against one of the Big Ten’s best would be intriguing.
Kevin Pangos has proven himself to be one of the country’s top floor generals, but what happens when Aaron Craft goes toe-to-toe with him? How will Kelly Olynyk respond inside against Big Ten interior play?
We’ll learn about Olynyk well before this potential matchup, but regardless, this game would certainly have viewers glued to their television sets.
East Region: No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 2 Miami, Elite Eight
The best potential game in the Elite Eight features the ACC and Big Ten regular season champions going to war.
The Hoosiers would have to work better on defense than they did against Wisconsin, but they have slightly more big-game experience than the ‘Canes. Miami would try to punk Indiana out of its transition game and bully the Hoosiers inside.
When the second half draws to a close, Shane Larkin would likely be forced to deal with the biggest matchup nightmare in college basketball: Victor Oladipo.
Not to mention the glut of Miami bigs checking Cody Zeller and Christian Watford. Reggie Johnson and Zeller in the post? Sounds good to me.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow his sports musings and random life observations on Twitter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!