March Madness: A Breakdown of Top Dogs and Underdogs

2022 March Madness has commenced and these are the teams to look out for in your bracket


Mollie Banstetter

These teams may break brackets in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Ally Schniepp, Sports Editor

With the NCAA Basketball Tournament coming up, we break down the top seeds and also put together a list of teams that could pull upsets.

Top Dogs


The Kansas Jayhawks have earned their 15th No. 1 seed in March Madness this year, and have a tough road ahead of them if they want to claim the title. This is the first time since 2018 the Jayhawks have come in as a No. 1 seed. 

Kansas went 28-6 during the regular season, winning 14 conference games and losing four. They lost to Baylor, another No. 1 seed in the tournament, TCU, Texas, Kentucky, and Texas Tech. The Jayhawks lost most of these games on the road, winning every home game but one this season. 

The Jayhawks have the Big 12 player of the year on their team, Ochai Agbaji. Agbaji is ranked 25th in national scoring for college basketball and is a player to look out for according to the New York Times. He is the highest scorer for the Jayhawks, averaging 20 points a game and has a grand total of 650 points for the season. 

Agbaji may be Big 12 player of the year, but Kansas has more to offer than just one great player. David McCormack has the most rebounds out of the Jayhawks, averaging seven rebounds a game. Dajuan Harris Jr. is one of the most well-rounded players on Kansas, coming in with 148 assists this year and 50 steals. 

The all around player for Kansas is Christian Braun, coming in with second most points, rebounds, steals, and assists in the program. He has also played 1161 minutes this season, which is the most minutes played out of the roster. 

Kansas overall is looking to be the third best team in the tournament, behind Gonzaga and Arizona who have had amazing seasons. Putting Kansas far in the tournament could pay off, or destroy the chance to win. Kansas has only been to the Final Four once in the past six years they’ve earned a No. 1 seed. 


Arizona is a force to be reckoned with this year, with only three losses and 31 wins in the regular season. Arizona lost two out of their three losses to conference teams. The Wildcats haven’t earned a No. 1 seed since 2014, almost 10 years ago, and their chances of earning another one in the future is slim with the investigations going on by the NCAA.

Coming into the tournament, their chances of going far are pretty fair. Their fast-paced game play is what runs the other teams off the court and into their locker room after they face the Wildcats. The lineup for Arizona is tall and athletic, which are the two words you want to describe a basketball team. With their athleticism, many experts are voting for them to win the tournament. 

The highest scorer for the Wildcats is Benedict Mathurin who averages 17 points a game. Christian Koloko is a beast in the paint, whether that be on offense or defense. Koloko averages 12 points a game for Arizona and he leads the team in rebounds and blocks. For the season, Koloko has 241 rebounds and 92 blocks out of the team’s total 194 blocks. Without his play, Arizona could have faced a lot more losses, or at least closer games. 

Kerr Kriisa is another player for Arizona who contributes highly to the success of this team. Kriisa is the point guard for the Wildcats, averaging five assists per game and leads the team with 143 assists this season. Recently in the Pac 12 tournament, Kriisa sprained his ankle, but is planning to battle it out and play in the NCAA tournament. His health throughout March Madness is a huge factor in Arizona’s success. 


Baylor is definitely the underdog of the top dogs. Out of most expert predictions, Baylor isn’t considered to be close to winning this tournament, or even making it to the Final Four. Baylor, potentially, has to face Kentucky, who is slotted for success in this year’s tournament. 

Breaking it down, Baylor shares the wealth when it comes to scoring. James Akinjo and Adam Flagler are the two highest scorers for Baylor. Akinjo has a total of 403 points and Flagler has 389 for the season. Akinjo also leads the team in steals and assists, coming in with 170 assists this season and 62 steals. Leading in rebounds and blocks is Flo Thamba, with 178 rebounds and 33 blocks. 

As far as offense goes, six players on Baylor’s roster are averaging 8.4 points a game. With most other teams, they only have two or three main scorers. Baylor’s widespread scoring will force other teams to play hard on every player on the court, as opposed to only shutting down two or three shooters. 

Coming into this tournament, they are defending their title from last year’s tournament where they walked away with the national win, net in hand. As far as this season goes, they faced an early loss in the Big 12 tournament, losing to Oklahoma. Baylor has experienced many injuries this season, including one of their best outside shooters and one of their best post players, which is another big factor in their pending success. In the past, Baylor has only made it to the Final Four three times out of their 14 NCAA tournament showings. 


Gonzaga is definitely the front runner in everyone’s bracket this year. With a strong point guard, Andrew Nembhard, Gonzaga has a record of 26-3 in their regular season and 13-1 in conference. Gonzaga is the overall No. 1 seed and is made out to be the best team in the tournament. 

Experts say that Gonzaga is the No. 1 offensive team in the nation, but another crucial part of their success so far this season, and going forward into the tournament, is their strong defense. This ‘Zags this season have their strongest defensive lineup in nearly five years, and this could be the team to bring home their first national title after making it to the national championship game twice, last season and their 2017 season, and losing both games. If Gonzaga can finish what they’ve started in their recent seasons, this could be the year they win it all.

Drew Timme is the leading scorer for the ‘Zags, averaging 18 points a game. Timme shows patience when he has the ball on offense and works his defender into the paint to score after a nice post move. Timme also averages six rebounds a game for Gonzaga. 

The leading rebounder for Gonzaga is Chet Holmgren, their seven foot center, who is roughly averaging 10 rebounds a game. Holmgren also leads the ‘Zags in blocks, averaging almost four blocks a game. 

Leading in assists and steals is Nembhard, with 165 assists so far this year and 47 steals. Nembhard runs the offense and is a main reason why Gonzaga has offensive success. He sets the tone for the offense and makes his teammates look good, which is what a great point guard does. He averages 12 points a game, but what is more important for his team is his average five assists per game. 

Their fast-paced game play and their collection of players has brought them major success in the regular season, and hopefully continues into the tournament.


Texas Tech

Texas Tech is an underdog team that could potentially take it all. Texas Tech wants the win and plays with a lot of heart. Their defense is one of, if not the best, defensive line out of the 68 teams playing. 

Where these underdogs lack is in their offensive play, with more turnovers than assists this season. Leading in assists is Kevin McCullar, with about three a game. The leading scorer for Texas Tech is Bryson Williams who averages 14 points a game. Four other players on Texas Tech are averaging about 10 points a game, showing that they share the ball and use all their players on the court, much like No. 1 seed Baylor. 

The difference between Baylor and Tech is that Tech has an amazing defensive line, and that could be the difference in their success in this tournament. As far as Big 12 goes, Tech is third out of the conference and losing to No. 1 seed Kansas in the Big 12 tournament. 

Texas Tech is ranked as a three seed and in most bracketologists’ predictions are going against Duke or Gonzaga, in which the game comes down to their offense. Less than five times in NCAA tournament history has a three seed won the tournament, but many people are placing their bets on this defensive team. 

Loyola Chicago

Loyola Chicago has been a sleeper ever since 2018 when they showed up as an 11 seed and defeated Miami, No. 3 seed that year Tennessee, Nevada, Kansas State, and were only stopped in the Final Four by Michigan, who went on to play Villanova in the final and lost.

Last year’s team took down No. 1 seed Illinois in the second round of the tournament, causing many brackets to break and the chance of having a perfect bracket after this upset was little to none. 

Bringing it back to this year. Loyola has a record of 25-7. Lucas Williamson leads the team in scoring, rebounds, and steals, and also puts up an impressive number of assists. Williamson averages 14 points a game, five rebounds, and has 42 steals so far this season. He also has 92 assists. Braden Norris leads the team in assists, with 122 so far this year. 

Loyola’s biggest challenge is going to be No. 2 seed Villanova in the second round, if they defeat Ohio State in the first round. Many experts are placing their bets on Loyola to upset Ohio State, and with their track record in the tournament, that could pay off highly for them. 


The higher seeds need to look out for the Razorbacks this year in the tournament. With JD Notae averaging nearly 20 points a game, four assists, and two steals, and their forward Jaylin Williams averaging 10 rebounds a game, this No. 4 seed could give some teams a run for their money.

Ranked 16th defensively in the nation and 40th offensively, this team looks very similar to last year’s Razorbacks. Last season, Arkansas made it to the Elite Eight, and from the looks of it they could make an appearance there again. If they cut down their turnovers on offense and have a few other players step up to score the way Notae does, Arkansas will be a force to be reckoned with. 

This season, Arkansas went 25-8 in the regular season and they will face Vermont, No. 13 seed, in the first round of the tournament. Vermont is also rumored to be a sleeper team, and this game could possibly lead to an upset over Arkansas. This first-round game should be a close one, with Vermont’s consistency and winning-streak, and Arkansas’ defense and athleticism, it’s hard to say which team will come out on top. 

Saint Mary’s 

Saint Mary’s is definitely a team to watch this year in the tournament. They went 25-7 in the regular season, one of these wins was over No. 1 Gonzaga, who is predicted to win the whole tournament this year. With Saint Mary’s No. 5 seed, the highest seed the school has ever received, they will be facing No. 11 seed Indiana in the first round. If they advance, they could potentially face UCLA, which would be a tough matchup.

Saint Mary’s highest scorer is Matthias Tass, with 12 points a game. Now, 12 points isn’t too much for a highest scorer, but there are three other players on Saint Mary’s team who are averaging over 10 points a game. With four scorers on the court at one time, they will be a hard team to defeat. 

Saint Mary’s strengths include using the shot clock wisely, taking smart shots instead of throwing up random shots here and there. Another strength is their defense, making the offensive team work for every shot they take. 

Saint Mary’s has a lineup of all around players, where every person on the court is working towards one common goal: winning.