Algonquin prepares for March Madness

Three Harby college basketball fans share their picks to win it all

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness, is around the corner. In this playoff tournament for college basketball, 68 teams are grouped into four regions and ranked (or seeded) 1-16. After the four play-in games known as the First Four took place on Tuesday, March 15 and Wednesday, March 16, the tournament is set to proceed in a single elimination bracket format. 

Per annual tradition, many Algonquin students have made their predictions for the final bracket. Some people have been waiting for this time to come for months, while others are wondering what the hell their classmates keep blabbing about. However, March Madness can be fun for anyone, whether you’re a college basketball die-hard or have never watched a game. This tournament gets so intense that even self-proclaimed “sports experts” may end up struggling to predict the games any better than an amateur. 

While nothing can be certain, a few of us here at The Harbinger have included our picks for the Final Four, in which the team that wins each region of the bracket will participate. With no clear frontrunner and our first fully normal tournament since 2019, this year’s tournament could be crazier than ever. Be sure to comment on this post with your own picks, and vote in the poll for who you think takes home a title.


Andrew Roberts

Projected Final Four: Gonzaga, Texas, Illinois, Kansas

Projected National Champion: Kansas

While they have not been quite as dominant as they were last year, it’s hard to count out the Gonzaga Bulldogs from my Final Four. They could have a bumpy road to get here, as they face a potential Round of 32 matchup with a Memphis Tigers team that’s heating up, a potential Sweet 16 game against the UConn Huskies or Arkansas Razorbacks, and a potential Elite 8 rematch with the Duke Blue Devils in Coach K’s farewell season after 42 years as head coach. While all these teams are competitive, I feel Gonzaga has the grit to edge out all of them, led by standout junior forward Drew Timme.

The Texas Longhorns are my Final Four sleeper. They have had their fair share of rough losses, but I feel they have the raw talent to compete with the country’s biggest powerhouses. I have them upsetting the Purdue Boilermakers, Kentucky Wildcats and Baylor Bears on a miracle run. All three of those teams have shown that they are defeatable, and I think Texas will be the team to put an end to their seasons.

As a 1 seed last year, the Illinois Fighting Illini were taken out early by the Loyola Chicago Ramblers. This time around, the team will be hungry for revenge and I have them as the team to end a 1 seed’s season. Led by 7-foot center Kofi Cockburn, look for Illinois to keep up with the Arizona Wildcats as they pull off an upset in a close Sweet 16 matchup. Cockburn makes enough of an impact on both offense and defense to pick apart this Arizona team, and I have the Fighting Illini carrying that momentum into a victory over the Villanova Wildcats to head to the Final Four.

Since an early-season loss to the Dayton Flyers, Kansas has been hard to stop. While the team has not been quite the dominant force I was expecting, I still think they have what it takes to win it all. Senior guard rd Ochai Agbaji has been a member of several strong Kansas teams, but he has never made it past the Round of 32. I think he and his teammates will be hungry for more and easy competition in their region will allow them to cruise to the Final Four and arrive with more left in the tank than any other team.


Tucker Paquette

Projected Final Four: Gonzaga, Baylor, Iowa, Tennessee

Projected National Champion: Tennessee  

Much like Andrew, I would be remiss if the Gonzaga Bulldogs were not included in my Final Four. On top of the fact that they seem to go deep in the NCAA Tournament every year, they also have an incredibly talented roster, featuring a projected Top-3 2022 NBA Draft pick in seven-foot tall freshman center Chet Holmgren. At times, he is able to take over the game, as his shot-blocking, rebounding and scoring ability make a notable impact on the court. Gonzaga also has a deep and talented roster beyond Holmgren, as well as an experienced, battle-tested coach in Mark Few. I don’t predict Gonzaga winning the tourney, but I’d be a fool not to have them making a Final Four run. 

The Baylor Bears are another strong one seed who make a lot of sense as a pick to go far in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The Bears are led by a strong group of guards in their backcourt, featuring a mix of players with varying levels of experience. I especially respect this Baylor team because even though they have seen an exodus of talented guards to the NBA since last March (see: Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler), they bounced right back up and put a talented team on the floor once again. Baylor won the National Title last year, and while I don’t foresee them repeating as champions, I do anticipate the Bears making lots of noise in this year’s tournament.

Moving along to the Midwest region, the Iowa Hawkeyes are the team I have earmarked as the tourney’s big sleeper. I believe they have a relatively easy path to the Sweet 16, but at that point, they will likely have to face the 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks. I acknowledge it would be an upset for Iowa to win this game, but I predict they will for two reasons: they are riding the high of winning a Big 10 Championship in a highly competitive conference, and the Hawkeyes also have a rising star in sophomore forward Keegan Murray. For these reasons, I believe Iowa will continue this stretch of strong play en route to a Final Four appearance. 

Ultimately, I believe the 3 seed Tennessee Volunteers will wind up the winners of the National Championship. Much like the aforementioned Hawkeyes, the Volunteers won their conference’s championship, and this is a fact that can’t go unnoticed when forecasting the events of the next three or so weeks.  Another thing Tennessee has going for them is the presence of freshman guard Kennedy Chandler. He is a talented inside scorer and playmaker, and he is probably the most talented player on the roster. All in all, the Vols may not be considered to be in the same tier as the likes of Gonzaga and Baylor, but I predict that will change when they are crowned National Champions on April 4. 


Grace Bouzan

Projected Final Four: Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova, Kansas

Projected National Champion: Baylor

Just like how Andrew and Tucker described above, I would be very shocked and disappointed if Gonzaga did not make the Final Four. They had an impactful presence on the games last year, although they were unable to win. However, I still think Baylor will be able to pull out the win. They have a really strong team and I think they’ll be the champions for this year. Kansas and Villanova are still very strong teams but I don’t think they’ll be able to beat Baylor.