Home Lifestyle March Madness 2019: This Year’s Underdogs + Favorites

March Madness 2019: This Year’s Underdogs + Favorites

by Hoboken Girl Team
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Now that the bracket is live, college-basketball fans have got some picking to do. Word of advice: don’t listen to anyone that wants to give you advice. Anyone that claims to know how to pick teams in the NCAA tournament is lying through their teeth. There’s no formula or method to this madness.

You just need to go with your gut, or whatever it is that helps you make decisions. If picking teams by their colors works, then go for it. If deciding the winner by which mascot would win a fight is your tactic, perfect. Figure out the Final Four based on which states you’ve visited and enjoyed – go for it.

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That being said, you should still know all about the teams playing in order better aid in your decisions, no matter how illogical they may be. Before the March Madness plunge is taken, read on to get to know some lesser-known but nonetheless notable players + teams to spotlight in the tournament.  Our contributor Ty breaks down the underdogs and Cinderellas that may shock the world and make a big splash in the next few days. Read on for our guide to understanding this year’s March Madness underdogs and favorites.

Players to Watch

Tacko Fall, University of Central Florida

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{Photo: @takofall99}

Yes, Central Florida has a player with the incredible name of Tacko Fall. Even more interesting, he’s 7 feet 6 inches tall. He’s the tallest player in both college and pro basketball. Read up about Tacko and his uniqueness on the court, as he’s not just height, but he’s got serious skill as well.

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There’s also a pretty cool story about how Tacko’s mom came to watch him play earlier this month. It was the first time she’s seen him in seven years, as he came to the US from Senegal when he was 16 years old. UCF as a program is in the big dance for the first time in 14 years as well.

Read More: A Savvy Guide to Becoming a March Madness Pro

Fletcher Magee, Wofford College

fletcher magee march madness

{Photo: @fletchmagee3}

Another incredible name. Tiny Wofford College in South Carolina {1,600 undergrads} has had a historic season and haven’t lost a single game in 2019. They may soon become March legends, so get on the bandwagon early. Fletcher Magee is renowned for one thing and one thing only, bombing three-pointers. He does this at an incredible rate. In his career, he has had over 2,000 points and is the premier sharpshooter in the NCAA tournament. Magee + Wofford College check all the boxes for a perfect Cinderella story {if the glass slipper was swapped for a basketball jersey, of course}, so the hype train is now going full steam ahead.

Ja Morant, Murray State

ja morant march madness

{Photo: @igotgame12_}

Now for our third and final player on this seemingly cool name team. Ja Morant is one of the brightest stars in the entire tournament. NBA teams are gushing over him, thanks to his sweet shooting and high-flying dunks. It’s a very cool story about how he ended up at a small Kentucky school instead of one of the blueblood powerhouse programs. Basically, Murray State was the first school to show interest in him before he was a superstar recruit. He stayed loyal, and now Murray State is on fire. Look for him to become a household name.

Plus, he reminds us of Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street.

The Team Contenders – Reasons to Root + Not Root For Them

Now that we’ve highlighted some of the underdogs and unique stories of March, we now can move on to the programs that have the most realistic shots at winning the whole thing. Here are a few reasons why you should root either for or against these programs.

Argument: Why You Should Root Against Duke University

Ugh, the Duke Blue Devils. They are college basketball royalty. Everyone knows someone that is a big Duke fan, and odds are this person actually has no real affiliation with Duke. Everyone knows Coach K, he’s on every commercial, throwing out clichés about leadership and whatnot. He’s won five national championships. On top of getting the best players, the media gushes over the team and the refs seem to give them every call. While some of the critiques are not exactly true, it is Duke’s reputation. They’ve won enough, don’t cheer for them. NOTE: All of these points apply to the University of North Carolina as well.

Counter Argument: Duke is Incredibly Fun to Watch

Duke freshman Zion Williamson has taken college basketball by storm. If you’ve never seen him play, the best way to describe him is superhuman. He dunks the ball like he is playing on a little kid hoop. He dents basketballs just by grabbing them. On top of this, he throws incredible passes, is loved by his teammates, and is a genuinely charismatic and awesome guy. Along with a few other big-time players, Duke is exhilarating to watch.

Argument: Why You Should Root Against the University of Virginia:

Basketball is more exciting when it’s moving at a brisk pace. Fast breaks, dunks, three-pointers, etc. Scoring is what people pay to see. UVA laughs at this notion. They’ve built a dynasty on defense and a slowed down pace that frustrates opponents. Their fan section is full of vests and visors and their team often bows out early in the tournament. Last season they became the first ever #1 seed to lose in their opening game.

Counter Argument: Root for UVA Because This is the Redemption Story of All Redemption Stories

Most of the players from the last year’s catastrophic loss are back again this season. While the players and coaches will always have to bare this scarlet letter of losing to a #16 seed for the first time in history, they have a chance to redeem themselves by going all the way this season. You can’t help but feel bad for them, as this crew has pretty much done nothing but win for their entire careers. Coach Tony Bennett is a class act, and their players are talented and exciting. De’andre Hunter is a future NBA star, there’s a New Zealander named Jack Salt {great name}, and they have a pure shooting superstar named Kyle Guy. Virginia winning it all would be a feel-good story most of us could get behind.

See More: March Madness 2019 in Hoboken {+ Bar Specials for the Games}

Argument: Why You Should Root Against the University of Kentucky

Another squad of basketball royalty. They always win. Their fans expect to win and consider anything less than a national championship to be a failure of a season. These are fans that once flooded a referee’s personal business page with one-star reviews because they believed he made some bad calls against Kentucky. Their coach looks and acts like a used-car salesman. Most of their players are only making a short one-year stopover in college before they move on to make millions in the NBA.

Counter Argument: Root for Kentucky Because They’re Awesome and Just Like Everyone Else

There’s an old saying, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Yes, Kentucky has stud recruits that only stay in college for one or two years, but so does everyone else. Good for them, they are being smart and getting paid. You can’t fault their fans for being passionate. They love their team. And Ashley Judd is the Wild Cat’s unofficial mascot and superfan. Drake loves them too {but Drake loves every team}.

There we have it, that is just a small sample of the potential Davids + Goliaths in this year’s NCAA tournament. Please note, the criticisms are all in good fun We don’t care who wins, as long as everyone has a good time.

Have a March Madness team you think is noteworthy to watch this year? Let us know in the comments!

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