We are finally here! Over the last month or so, you have been able to see predictions of teams that will make the 2022 NCAA Tournament. With 40 teams down, there are still ten teams to be released. Out of the team’s already predicted, there are only four Big East team’s so far. How many will there be by the end? Here are the final ten teams that I predict to make the NCAA Tournament in March.
Like previous articles stated, this is only a prediction of 50 teams. It is also a prediction of where teams will finish in a month not where they currently stand.
10. Marquette Golden Eagles
It seems comfortable to call the first year of the Shaka Smart era in Milwaukee a success so far. The Golden Eagles are sitting at 16-4 on the year and hold third place in the Big East. Marquette should finish top-5, at worst, in the league while picking up an automatic bid into the tournament. This squad is filled with a ton of young talent, led by freshman Justin Lewis. He is averaging 16.6 PPG and 7.9 RPG in his first season.
Marquette will have no issue making the tournament, holding wins against Illinois, Providence, Seton Hall, and Vilanova. Milwaukee should be excited about where Shaka Smart is taking this program.
9. UAB Blazers
The Conference USA has been a fun mid-major to pay attention to as the season has progressed. There are potentially four teams that can win this conference, getting their chance at a potential first-round upset win. UAB, North Texas, Louisiana Tech, and Middle Tennesee have a great shot at winning a game in March.
Jordan “Jelly” Walker is a sensational basketball player at the mid-major level. The junior is averaging 18.3 PPG on the year. The conference is a toss-up on who will win, solely because of strength at the top of the conference.
8. Michigan State Spartans
The top of the Big Ten goes as follows: Illinois and Purdue. Places 3-5 are wide open if you ask me. Michigan State will fight for one of these spots as February moves along. Gabe Brown is the leader, and Tom Izzo will need his experience if the Spartans want to make a run. The energy runs through him, so he must be ready to go.
Gabe Brown and Malik Hall are the two main scoring threats for the Spartans, but freshman Max Christie has impressed in his first season. He will be a big talk if his shot falls consistently for Michigan State.
7. Vermont Catamounts
Vermont looks like they are going to take the American East. The Catamounts are sitting at a perfect 11-0 record inside the America East while currently sitting on a 13 game win streak. The inside-out duo of reigning American East Player of the Year Ryan Davis and Ben Shungu is a lot of fun. The two stars average 17.6 PPG and 15.4 PPG respectively.
6. Arizona Wildcats
Arizona is the top dog in the Pac 12 after their convincing victory over UCLA last week. The Wildcats have a combination of length and athleticism that puts them over the majority of teams in the country. The dynamic duo of Bennedict Mathurin and Christan Koloko is one of the best in the country.
Standing at 6-6, Mathurin is a mismatch on the perimeter. He averages 16.6 PPG this season, which leads the Wildcats in scoring. There is a lot to like about Tommy Lloyd’s team.
5. UConn Huskies
The Big East is one of the better power conferences this season. The Huskies started the conference season 6-2 but have been up and down ever since. UConn has a physical basketball team, led by the backcourt of RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin. These guys aren’t afraid to get physical with other guards, making them a tough team to score on.
Adama Sanogo is a big piece to the puzzle down low. He is the anchor of this team defensively, averaging just over two blocks per contest this season. The Huskies will make the tournament with the strength of the Big East. If the Huskies can gain some momentum in February, they will be a tough team to stop.
4. Tennessee Volunteers
The Vols are a part of a very storing SEC conference. The conference will probably get at least six teams into the tournament, and Tennessee will be one of them. They have one four out of their last five games, getting better at the right time.
The only thing that puts Tennessee below other teams is their inconsistency on the offensive end. They can go long stretches or even the majority of games without shooting well. One great example of this is their non-conference game with Texas Tech earlier this season.
3. Seton Hall Pirates
Seton Hall started the season out on a strong but has had injuries as of late. It’s been a rollercoaster type season for Kevin Willard, to say the least. The good news is that the Big East will be one of the conferences to get five or six teams in the NCAA Tournament Field.
Their next two games are against Villanova and UConn. Both teams are in the AP Top 25 poll this week, giving the Pirates opportunities to strengthen their resume.
2. Furman Palidens
Furman currently sits in second place in the Southern Conference behind Chatanooga. Sitting at 9-4 in the conference, the Palidens still have a great shot at winning their conference tournament. Furman is not the biggest team in terms of size, but they have the playmakers. Three seniors lead the charge offensively, leading the team in scoring. Mike Bothwell, Jalen Slawson, and Alex Hunter give this team a different dynamic when scoring the ball.
The battle between Chattanooga and Furman for the top spot in the Southern will be a fun one to watch.
1. Baylor Bears
The defending champions are one of my favorites to cut down the nets at the beginning of April. They picked up a road loss to Kansas, which is a loss I think the Bears needed to have. Scott Drew has a sensational job with this program, making Baylor relevant year in and year out. The defense is in the spotlight with this year’s team. The length and athleticism that Baylor possesses on the perimeter give them the upper hand in a lot of games.
Led by juniors Adam Flanigan and James Akinjo, Baylor has a scoring balance on offense. Four Bears average double-digit PPG this season.
That just about wraps up this list and all 50 teams that have been predicted to make the NCAA Tournament. A fun project to contribute to here at Overtime Heroics. I’ll be interested to see how many of these teams make it to the big dance.
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