Attempting to Predict the Unpredictable: March Madness


Armaan Parikh

This year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has not failed to entertain. With multiple major upsets, the tournament has truly lived up to its name. As the tournament comes to a close, who will be crowned the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball champions?

Of the major upsets that took place over the course of the tournament, the most notable is definitely the upset of #2 seed Kentucky by the #15 seed Saint Peter’s in the round of 64. Kentucky was one of the favorites to win the tournament but suffered a first round exit at the hands of the Peacocks. After showing the world what Saint Peter’s can do, they continued on to upset #7 seed Murray State and #3 seed Purdue. Saint Peter’s historic run ended in their Elite 8 matchup against the North Carolina Tar Heels. While their run has come to an end, Saint Peter’s has cemented its place in NCAA basketball history as the first #15 seed to make it to the Elite 8.

Multiple #1 seeded teams were also upset prior to the final four. Of the 4 one seeded teams, the Kansas Jayhawks are the only team left standing. The defending champs, Baylor, were knocked out by the North Carolina Tar Heels in their round of 32 matchup. Gonzaga, the annual favorite to win the tournament, was knocked out yet again at the hands of Arkansas. Arizona fell to the relentless defense of the Houston Cougars. With multiple powerhouses falling earlier in the tournament, there is room for a new contender to make a championship run. But who might that be?

The final four consists of Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Villanova. With the nature of the tournament, it is nearly impossible to predict the winner, but we can make our best guess. The rivalry matchup of Duke and North Carolina will be interesting to watch. With Duke being the higher seeded team with more talent, they are the favorites to win this matchup. However, the rival’s last showing before the tournament ended in favor of the Tar Heels. With teams that are both offensively and defensively sound, the result will be decided on which team can make more baskets fall. With Duke’s superior shooting performance over the course of the tournament, I predict Duke to edge the Tar Heels out and move on to the championship game. The other final four matchup is between Villanova Wildcats and the Kansas Jayhawks. Both teams have been solid throughout the tournament. Kansas is extremely well-rounded with star power to back them up. Led by Ochai Agbaji, a National Player of the Year candidate, Kansas is set to pose a great threat to the Wildcats. The Wildcats, aiming for their third championship over the past six seasons, are also experienced. Senior Collin Gillespie, a past national champion, is averaging 15.6 points per game and will be a key asset for Villanova in their final four matchup. While this game is impossible to predict, my personal favorite to advance to the championship is Villanova because of their experience and hunger for a fourth national title.

Given these predictions are accurate, who will go all the way and be crowned the 2022 NCAA National Champions? I predict Villanova to win the national championship for 2 key reasons. Villanova has the experience to play championship basketball. Duke lost many notable players to the NBA Draft this past offseason. While Duke star Paolo Banchero will pose a serious threat to Villanova, the overall experience of the Wildcat’s roster should be enough to get them a fourth national championship.