2021 March Madness Preview

Story posted March 18, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Adam Sheetz

Let the madness begin! The NCAA Tournament is back after its absence last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Great games and crazy Cinderella stories could be on display in the coming weeks, which is everything that college basketball is about.

The NCAA Tournament got fantastic news this week, confirming that all 68 teams selected will be able to compete in Indianapolis. There were a lot of concerns about how COVID-19 could affect the NCAA Tournament, and replacement teams were selected in case one of the teams was forced to drop out of the tournament.

Questions arose when this protocol was chosen, and having all 68 teams eligible to compete returns the Tournament to some sort of normalcy in this crazy year.

The favorite this year is Gonzaga. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with an impressive 26-0 record, making them the first undefeated team to enter the tournament since Kentucky in 2015.
Gonzaga is looking to do something that has not been done since 1976, that is to win the national title as an undefeated team. Gonzaga is the undisputed favorite with a good draw, as it has already beaten the two, three and four seeds in their region, making their goal of a national title obtainable.

Another favorite for the tournament is Illinois. The Fighting Illini are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region, and are coming off of a strong performance in the Big Ten Tournament, defeating Ohio State in the championship game.
The Fighting Illini have arguably the best dynamic duo in the nation, with star guard Ayo Dosunmu and star big Kofi Cockburn. They are also surrounded by elite shooters like Trent Frazier and Adam Miller, making them one of the most complete teams in the entire nation.

Illinois has never won a title, and are looking to get over the hump and win one this year.

Cinderella stories make the NCAA Tournament what it is, and this year has many candidates to be that Cinderella team. The team to watch out for is the Georgetown Hoyas. The Hoyas had no chance to make the NCAA Tournament a week ago, but they got hot in Madison Square Garden and won the Big East Tournament to punch their ticket to the big dance.

The Hoyas are a No. 12 seed in the Tournament, and are maybe the hottest team in the nation, making them a prime pick to make a Cinderella run this year.

No team has to miss the NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19, but it could still have an effect on two teams this year. Kansas and Virginia both had to drop out of their conference tournaments last week due to a positive test within their programs.

Kansas has confirmed that it will be missing three players for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks hope to get their players back later in the Tournament.

Virginia is also dealing with COVID-19 issues, and is waiting to see who could travel to Indianapolis with them for the first round. The Cavaliers’ problems could also affect Syracuse, as the Orange played the Cavaliers in the ACC Tournament right before Virginia paused team activities.
All teams that were selected will play in the NCAA Tournament, but there is still uncertainty on who will be available for the first round.

March Madness begins on Thursday with the First Four games, and after that the madness will truly begin, showing why it is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ads360@psu.edu.

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Adam Sheetz

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Adam Sheetz is a third year student from Reedsville, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism. He has been a broadcaster for WCHX 105.5 FM in Mifflin County covering high school sports. He has also been a member of CommRadio since his first semester at Penn State, being involved in both the Arts and Sports departments. Adam has extensive experience in a play-by-play setting within CommRadio, covering football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and volleyball for the station. He has done written content for CommRadio ranging from Penn State football articles all the way to discussing Disney Channel movies. To contact Adam, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).