It’s March Madness, the greatest time of the year. Looking for some help with your bracket? Don’t know which teams to believe in, in this crazy college hoops season? We’ve got your back. We’re breaking down every first-round game in the field of 68, plus looking ahead at which teams will make the run to the Final Four.
8. Arkansas (25-9, 12-6/SEC)– Mike Anderson has quietly done a nice job of resurrecting this proud program, which reached back-to-back national championship games under Nolan Richardson in the mid-’90s. The Hogs aren’t quite on that level, but 25 wins and an appearance in the SEC championship game isn’t bad.
This Arkansas group is deep, with nine players averaging 14-plus minutes per game. Senior guard Dusty Hannahs leads the way at 14.6 points per game, but 6-3 junior Daryl Macon and 6-3 junior Jaylen Barford can score the ball, too.
Arkansas plays its familiar “40 Minutes of Hell” style and puts up 80.2 points per game. You’ve got to be ready for pressure and transition defense when you play the Hogs.
9. Seton Hall (21-11, 10-8/Big East)–Perhaps no program in the league benefited more from the Big East’s renovation than Seton Hall. The Pirates just couldn’t compete in the loaded, 16-team conference that featured Louisville, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and UConn, but they’ve been resurrected in this new version, reaching the NCAA’s for a second straight year under head coach Kevin Willard.
Seton Hall has plenty of talent, with 6-4 junior guard Khadeen Carrington leading the way (16.9 ppg). You can just hear Gus Johnson saying his name. Desi Rodriguez is a quality scoring option as well, putting up nearly 16 points per, while Angel Delgado is a problem inside, averaging a double-double (15.3 ppg, 13.1 rpg).
PREDICTION: The Hall gets it done in Round 1, handling Arkansas’ pressure with its guards and hurting them on the glass with Delgado. They won’t have as much luck against the run-and-gun Tar Heels in the second round, though.