By and large, NAPA Net readers favored the favorites in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball national championship – but keep an eye on Arizona… and Wichita State.
Bracket by bracket, respondents to this week’s NAPA Net reader poll favored the No. 1 seeds. That meant that they predicted that Villanova (43%), Gonzaga (35%), Kansas (57%) and North Carolina (39%) would emerge from their respective brackets into the Final Four. That said, Duke (40%), Arizona (34%), UCLA (31%) and Louisville (21%) – all No. 2, or in the case of UCLA, No. 3 seeds – weren’t that far behind in respondent picks. Kentucky, the fourth No. 2 seed, was picked by 11%.
Asked to pick who would win it all – well, the results were decidedly mixed. Arizona received the most support – 35% said they would win it all (those who picked them to win their bracket clearly retained their enthusiasm). Gonzaga was just behind that (31%), while Kansas, Villanova, Louisville and Duke split the rest of the field.
The Bracket Buster?
As for which team would mount the upset of the tournament – the so-called bracket buster that every year seems to result in many bracket sheets being shredded – here the closest thing to a consensus was No. 10 Wichita State, who, if they get past No. 7 Dayton tonight, would likely come up against Kentucky on Sunday.
Other teams cited as potential bracket busters were Villanova, Mount St. Mary’s, ETSU, Princeton, FGCU, Michigan State, Iowa State, Nevada, Iona and Northern Kentucky. “No idea” also fared pretty well in this week’s polling.
As for “Cinderella” – that team that goes further than anyone thought possible – the leading candidate here was ETSU (as we head to press, they’re looking ahead to playing No. 4 Florida). Also named were Northwestern, Notre Dame, Xavier, FGCU, St. Mary’s, Miami (Fla), Iowa State, Nevada, Texas Southern and … Wichita State. In addition to “no idea.”
Thanks to everyone who participated in our weekly NAPA Net reader poll!