It’s March again, and the most exciting time of year is just around the corner. March Madness is a time that brings drama, suspense, heartbreak, and triumph. It also leads to a massive drop in workplace productivity that will surely devastate our already ailing national economy. But damn, is it fun! It’s arguably the most difficult sporting event to predict, and the 2013 tourney field isn’t going to give you any help, either. But let’s not pretend like telling you all about #1 overall seed Louisville is doing you any favors… Instead, let’s acknowledge the other teams you could pick to help you take down the office pool. All that really matters though, is that you beat Gary in accounting. God, that guy is the worst.
5 Michigan Wolverines
With what is probably their most potent roster since the days of the Fab 5, Michigan had an up and down year as they seemed to quickly lose every time they climbed too high in the rankings, but there’s no denying that this team has the potential to dominate in the tourney. Scoring 75.4 points per game and shooting 48.7% from the field, the Wolverines are led by star sophomore guard and Wooden Award candidate Trey Burke, who is buffered by two sons of former NBA stars in Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway, Jr., and a Canadian that can absolutely shoot the lights out in Nik Stauskas.
4 Georgetown Hoyas
After being left out of the preseason top 25 rankings, coach John Thompson III’s team was a huge surprise, putting together a 25-5 overall record and winning the Big East regular season title. Player of the year candidate Otto Porter, Jr. led the way for the Hoyas, averaging 16.4 points per game and shooting 44% from beyond the arc. But it was mostly their trademark smothering defense that earned Georgetown their number five ranking, as they allowed just 56.1 points per game, and held their opponents to a dismal 37.7% shooting from the field.
3 Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Zags just always seem to be in the mix, don’t they? In 2013, the Bulldogs held the #1 ranking for the first time in school history, finishing the regular season atop the national field with an eclectic roster featuring players from the US, Canada, France, Germany and Poland. Led by 7-foot junior out of Kamloops, British Columbia (yes, that’s a real place) Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga’s offense is one of the most efficient in the country, posting a team field goal percentage of .504, and they get it done on the defensive end too, allowing opponents only 59.7 points per game.
2 Duke Blue Devils
There’s not much to like about Duke basketball. Their fans are so irritating that fleas roll their eyes at them. Their players are often the most arrogant and hated in the country. And Dick Vitale loves them so much he sounds like his heart is literally going to explode every time he talks about them. But the Dukies are legit this year. Led by Wooden contender and big ol’ white guy Mason Plumlee, the Blue Devils are seventh in the nation in scoring, and thanks to snipers like Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly, and Quinn Cook, they’re shooting a stellar 42% from behind the three-point line as a team.
1 Indiana Hoosiers
Aside from head coach Tom Crean’s weird middle-part haircut that makes him look like a total creep, there just isn’t much of a discernable weakness on this Hoosiers squad. IU boasts two Wooden Award hopefuls in junior guard Victor Oladipo and the outstanding 7-foot sophomore Cody Zeller that lead their potent offense. As a team they shoot nearly 50% from the field and they’re second in the nation in scoring, averaging 80.8 points per game. They also hit the boards with the best of them, averaging nearly 40 rebounds a game. The Hoosiers have all the tools in place to bring the title back to the red and white.