Liberty Ledger

Diving Into March Madness

NCAA tournament is about to kick off, make sure to keep an eye on these teams

Zion+Williamson+and+RJ+Barrett+make+up+half+of+the+Core+Four+and+are+the+freshman+tag+team+of+Duke+basketball.+You+better+believe+Duke+will+go+far+with+these+two+leading+the+team%2C+even+if+Williamson+is+doing+so+from+the+bench.
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Diving Into March Madness

Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett make up half of the Core Four and are the freshman tag team of Duke basketball. You better believe Duke will go far with these two leading the team, even if Williamson is doing so from the bench.

Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett make up half of the Core Four and are the freshman tag team of Duke basketball. You better believe Duke will go far with these two leading the team, even if Williamson is doing so from the bench.

Keenan Hairston

Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett make up half of the Core Four and are the freshman tag team of Duke basketball. You better believe Duke will go far with these two leading the team, even if Williamson is doing so from the bench.

Keenan Hairston

Keenan Hairston

Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett make up half of the Core Four and are the freshman tag team of Duke basketball. You better believe Duke will go far with these two leading the team, even if Williamson is doing so from the bench.

Ally Schniepp, Reporter

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The NCAA Tournament is about to tip off and with Selection Sunday right around the corner on March 17. Here are the teams I suggest you put on the higher end of your bracket. Games start March 21 and there is no time to waste. Fill out your bracket and start following Duke, Virginia, Gonzaga and Kentucky along with a few other honorable mentions that could win it all.

Duke

This entire season, the Blue Devils of Duke basketball have been lead by breakout freshman Zion Williamson, a 6-foot-7 forward who averages about 22 points per game. In an unfortunate game earlier this season against North Carolina, Williamson’s shoe ripped on the court. Williamson blew out his knee when his shoe ripped 36 seconds into the biggest game Duke would play all season. The injury has been reported as a mild knee strain, causing Duke to lose a top NBA prospect and the game on Feb. 20 against one of their most fierce competitors, North Carolina. Without Williamson, the last four games they are 3-1. Duke won against three unseeded teams, one game winning only by one point. Duke lost against Virginia Tech by five points. Does losing a top prospect mean losing a top spot in the NCAA tournament?

My Thoughts

wikipedia
Junior at Virginia, Kyle Guy, will lead Virginia to their victory, or will play his heart out trying.

With Zion Williamson out, Duke has lost one of its most valuable players. He is leading in rebounds, blocks and steals, not to mention he is the second top scorer on the team. But, I believe the rest of the core four freshmen, along with the rest of the team, will pull through and make it, at the very least, to the Final Four. The core four freshmen are: RJ Barrett, Tre Jones, Cam Reddish and Williamson. Barrett is the top scorer for Duke, breaking the record for most points scored by a freshman. Reddish is rated No. 3 freshman in the country by ESPN. Jones is the leader of the core four from day one when Coach K signed him for the ‘18-’19 season. The core four are sure to dominate the NCAA tournament, even if they have to operate without a teammate for a couple games.

Virginia

The Virginia Cavaliers came in to the tournament last year thinking they were going to win it all. With a No. 1 seed, a solid team, and a winning record, they assumed the 16 seed they played was going to be an easy dub. Little did Virginia know, this game ended up being the greatest upset in NCAA March Madness history. No. 16 seed University of Maryland County, a small university in Baltimore, beat the Cavaliers 74-54. With the way Virginia’s season has been going, they can either come in cocky like they did last year, or they can come in wanting revenge and thirsty for the win they believed they had last year until UMBC stripped them of their title.

Kentucky

Antonio Vernon
PJ Washington, along with being in the running for the Naismith Trophy, is one of the top college basketball players in the league. Be sure to keep an eye on Washington throughout this year’s NCAA tournament.

Kentucky made it to the Sweet 16 (third round) of the March Madness tournament last year. This year, they are coming in as a possible No. 1 seed. Senior PJ Washington is coming in to the tournament with an average of 15 points a game. Kentucky has a record of 25-5, one of their best in the past years. Many sources have called Washington one of the best players in NCAA college basketball today. Out of 10 players competing for the prestigious Naismith Trophy, he is in the running to be named the player of the year. If that motivation isn’t enough to light a fire for Kentucky, I don’t know what will. My personal prediction for Kentucky is at least Elite Eight.

Gonzaga

Wikipedia
Rui Hachimura is a force to be reckoned with, and those who underestimate him will find themselves dunked on, beaten up and bruised, and most importantly out of the NCAA tournament. Players like Hachimura and teams like Gonzaga put the Madness in March Madness

Gonzaga is a force to be reckoned with, coming into the tournament with 29 wins and two losses. I don’t know what they’re eating up there in Washington, but it sure seems to be working. Well, that and with senior Josh Perkins’ 6.5 assist average, junior Brandon Clarke with at least 8 rebounds a game, and of course Rui Hachimura leading the team scoring wise with approximately 20 points on the board each game. These three can play the ball in a way no one else can, and that is why I believe they are going to the Final Four this year.

About the Writer
Ally Schniepp, Reporter

Ally is a hard-working freshman who enjoys playing sports and hanging out with her two dogs. Ally is a strong-willed, optimistic, goofy person. She can...

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Diving Into March Madness