Queen’s Journal vs Western Gazette March Madness bracket competition, vol. 2

‘The Journal’ looks to best The Gazette in its second rivalry series of the year

The Journal give its picks for 2022's March Madness tournament.

For the second time, the Queen’s Journal is facing off against the Western Gazette during the NCAA’s March Madness men’s basketball tournament. And for the second time in as many years, Gonzaga is the Queen’s Journal’s pick for bringing home the national championship.

Gonzaga’s the first overall seed in the tournament, as they were last year before they lost to Baylor in the championship game. This year, Gonzaga has gone 13-1 in conference play and 26-3 overall to sit atop the West Coast standings.

Led by guards Andrew Nembhard and Rasir Bolton, centre Chet Holmgren, and forward Drew Timme, Gonzaga is a powerhouse on offense with a dominating presence on defence, too. Whether they’re going basket to basket or locking it down in a defensive stalemate, the Bulldogs should be able to overcome any opponent’s preferred style.

The Journal’s other Final Four teams are Kentucky, Arizona, and Iowa.

Led by forward Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky is a strong program but lacks the same style of defence that provides an anchor for the Bulldogs, leaving them vulnerable to a high-scoring offense.

Iowa is The Journal’s underdog pick for the Final Four and should be able to make some noise given their recent Big Ten title victory over Purdue.

Though its record is as impressive as Gonzaga’s and its underlying numbers are strong, Arizona lacks experience in the spotlight and hasn’t done enough in recent past tournaments to warrant a similar consideration for a national title.

Of course, no March Madness would be complete without upsets. The Journal has also picked several of the most notable first round upsets that should keep the tournament as exciting as ever:

UVM over Arkansas

With a dominant performance in the America East final, the University of Vermont is rolling at just the right time to beat Arkansas. The Catamounts’ defence is strong, its offense is excellent, and they have admirable depth for a small program. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks suffer from poor shooting. You heard it here first—this is the March Cinderella story waiting to happen.

Michigan over Colorado State

While the Wolverines’ season in the Big Ten has been far from perfect, they should be able to top the Rams. Colorado State is scoring 70 points per game while giving up 66 points to opponents. Michigan, meanwhile, is averaging 73 points per game while having a slightly worse defence. While not a blowout, Michigan should be able to find a way to grind out a close victory.

Loyola Chicago over Ohio State

Loyola Chicago is famous for overcoming the odds in the NCAA tournament, having made it to the Final Four in 2018 as an 11-seed. As a result, picking them over Ohio State, a Big Ten team, seems both oddly sensible and slightly foolish. However, the Buckeyes do have a history of being upset in big moments, losing in the Big Ten tournament to Penn State just last Thursday. While unlikely, a Ramblers’ win is certainly within the realm of possibility and deserves some consideration.

Miami over USC

With a recent four-point loss to Duke in the ACC tournament and wins over Syracuse and Virginia Tech, Miami has established themselves as a team with serious offensive power. While the University of Southern California had a decent record in the Pac-12 this season, the Trojans come into the tournament with a less potent offense and losses to UCLA and Arizona down the stretch. Overall, the Hurricanes should be well-positioned to pull off an upset. 

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