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March Madness with Radar's Adam Sutro

By Adam S. '25

Most of you were probably out enjoying the nice, summer-like weather last Sunday afternoon, taking a trip to the beach, or simply just staying at home and enjoying the clear views of the San Francisco skylines. Not me. No, for me, Sunday served a different purpose, and took on a distinct title dear to the hearts of basketball fans, old and young, across the nation: Selection Sunday. At 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time, we got a bracket. 68 teams. 4 regions. March is finally upon us.

So, like many college basketball fanatics around the world, I naturally took the time to fill out my bracket on Sunday, making my 63 picks for this year’s NCAA Division I tournament. And, yes, if you were wondering, my bracket is perfect. So, as your resident college basketball analyst, here are all my thoughts on this year’s March Madness bracket, a guide to both the pedestrian college basketball fan, i.e. the Selection Sunday beach-goer, and the fans like me, who will be on the edge of their seats throughout all of March, riveted by The Madness:



KenPom - Analytical method of evaluating a team’s performance

NET - SOS and quality of wins method of evaluating a team’s performance

Conference Note:

There are 5 “Power 5” conferences: Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12, and SEC. There are also the “+2 conferences” in college basketball: Big East and Mountain West. When giving a general overview of a team, I will list their conference. If they played in one of these conferences, you can automatically know that they played a hard schedule throughout the season, and have a deflated record relative to mid-major schools.

Tucker DeVries – Golden boy for Drake University.

EAST: #7 Washington State (-1.5) vs. #10 Drake

Game Details: Thursday, 3/21, 7:05 P.M. on TruTV, Omaha, NE

Washington State: 24-9, Pac-12, KenPom #42, NET #44

Drake: 28-6, Missouri Valley, KenPom #51, NET #47

Yes, it does seem like everybody is picking Drake to win this game. And yes, I agree with “everybody”. I picked Drake last year to take out Miami; the Hurricanes ended up rolling into the Final 4. However, Drake led 56-53 with just over 3 minutes to go in that ball game. Miami then hit the Bulldogs with a kill shot, finishing the game 10-0. This year, Tucker DeVries and Darnell Brodie are back, and still poised for a first round upset. DeVries is one of the nation’s best scorers, putting up 21.8 points per game and shooting 36.4% from beyond the arc. And, DeVries and the Bulldogs are hot. They’ve won 5 straight, and are 10-1 since February 7th. 

So yea, I’m high on Drake – but the Cougars are legit too. They have 4 players averaging more than 10 points a game and swept the season series with Arizona – a popular Final 4 team in the West region of the bracket.

This game is bound to be a thriller.

Upset Potential: 9/10

My Pick: Drake

WEST: #5 Saint Mary’s (-4.5) vs. #12 Grand Canyon

Game Details: Friday, 3/22, 7:05 P.M. on TruTV, Spokane, WA

Saint Mary’s: 26-7, West Coast, KenPom #20, NET #16

Grand Canyon: 29-4, Western Athletic, KenPom #53, NET #50

I guarantee you I have lost sleep because of this game. This matchup excites me so much because these teams are SO incredibly different.

Saint Mary’s is 358th in tempo of 362 division I basketball teams. Grand Canyon is 9th in tempo. The playstyles could not differ more. Whoever controls the tempo, and gets to play their brand of basketball will win this game.

However, I tend to think that Saint Mary’s tournament experience, along with their general identity as a passing team, will allow them to stay composed under the pressure of the energetic Lopes of GCU. I watched Aidan Mahaney, star guard for the Gaels, in his days at Campolindo high school. He is made for these moments, and poised to push Saint Mary’s to the second round.

Grand Canyon is a great team, though. The Lopes’ 29-4 record is impressive, and they’re early season win over San Diego State, last year’s championship runner-ups, is even more impressive. The Lopes, embodying their namesake, play fast, and hard on defense… I could see a world where they fluster Mahaney and the Gaels.

I won’t be available at 7:05 on Friday. This game will be great.

Upset Potential: 5.5/10

My Pick: Saint Mary’s

SOUTH: #5 Wisconsin (-4.5) vs. #12 James Madison

Game Details: Friday, 3/22, 6:40 P.M. on CBS, Brooklyn, NY

Wisconsin: 22-12, Big 10, KenPom #17, NET #18

James Madison: 31-3, Sun Belt, KenPom #59, NET #52

A week ago, I would have slammed James Madison to win this game.

However, despite the Badgers’ 3-8 record closing out the regular season, they came to play in the Big 10 tournament, beating Purdue in OT in the semifinals, and pushing #3 seed Illinois (an Elite Eight team for me) to the buzzer in the championship. The Badgers have had their disappointments in recent tournament history. Their loss to Iowa State, an 11 seed, in 2022 sits heavy on the back of the Cheese State. Chucky Hepburn is that guy, though, and I believe in his ability to will the Badgers to at least one win this tournament.

JMU will play tough. They sport the best record in college basketball outside of UConn, and beat Michigan State in an early season game.

In the end, I just like Wisconsin more.

Upset Potential: 3.5

My Pick: Wisconsin

SOUTH: #7 Florida vs. #10 Boise State/Colorado

Game Details: Friday, 3/22, 1:30. P.M. on TBS, Indianapolis, IN

Florida: 24-11, SEC, KenPom #29, NET #26

Boise State: 22-10, Mountain West, Ken Pom #39, NET #27

Colorado: 24-10, Pac-12, KenPom #26, NET #25

First, the play-in-game between Boise State and Colorado is going to be fantastic tonight. Boise State is underseeded and should never have been slated to be in this game. However, Colorado is HOT and way more talented. I see the Buffaloes winning, and moving on to play Florida.

Florida vs. Colorado would be such a fun game. These are two hot teams that just made it to their respective conference championship games. Florida has an electric offense, and has won 11 of their last 15 games. Colorado, runs a more balanced attack. Colorado entered the Pac-12 tournament on a 6 game win streak, elevating themselves from outside of the bubble and into the tournament. Colorado’s roster is packed with talent. They have 5 (!) double-digit point scorers this year, and have future lottery pick Cody Williams healthy for the tournament. They shoot 39% from 3 and can hit you from all different angles, with big 6’ 11”, 265 pound Eddie Lampkin Jr. working in the post.

Florida was a team I was high on entering Champ Week. However, Micah Handlogten’s injury will make it hard for the Gators to beat a very good Colorado team that finished the back half of the year top 15 in the nation.

Upset Potential: 9/10

My Pick: Colorado

MIDWEST: #5 Gonzaga (-6.5) vs. #12 McNeese

Game Details: Thursday, 3/21, 4:25 P.M. on CBS, Salt Lake City, UT

Gonzaga: 25-7, West Coast, KenPom #15, NET #17

McNeese: 30-3, Southland, KenPom #60, NET #56

This game will feed families. And, it is also causing me to lose sleep this week.

Mark Few (Gonzaga’s head coach), has a fantastic resumé in first round games. Gonzaga has made it to 8 straight Sweet 16’s, and has avoided first round upsets. Some people feel like this means that the Bulldogs are upset proof in March… I think this means that they’re DUE to get upset. Gonzaga is overseeded as it is, and they’re 3-6 in Quad 1 games this season. Drew Timme is gone, and I’m struggling to find the one guy that I can see leading Gonzaga to big tournament wins this year.

Have you heard of Will Wade? Wade was outed at LSU and has regrouped at McNeese, leading the Cowboys to a 30-3 record and a #12 seed. McNeese won their only Quad 1 game of the season against VCU, and finished the season on an 11 game winning streak. This team can shoot it (39% from 3) and they’re deep, with 4 double-digit point scorers. Definitely could be a team to make some noise.

When it comes down to it, this is more of a “logic” pick for me. Every year one #12 seed beats a #5 seed. I thought long and hard about the Grand Canyon over Saint Mary’s, but I like McNeese more. I like Gonzaga, but one #5 seed is going down, and this is the most likely possibility in my book.

Upset Potential: 6/10

My Pick: McNeese State (with lots of caution)

MIDWEST: #4 Kansas (-7.5) vs. #13 Samford

Game Details: Thursday, 3/21, 6:55 P.M. on CBS, Salt Lake City, UT

Kansas: 22-10, Big 12, KenPom #22, NET #20

Samford: 29-5, Southern, KenPom #81, NET #74

We now know how healthy Kansas will be for the NCAA tournament. Kevin McCullar Jr., one of the Jayhawks best players and top point scorers, will be missing the tournament. This is detrimental for the Jayhawks.

This game has always come down to whether or not Kansas will be healthy enough to play to their full potential. Kansas has one of the best rosters in the country, spearheaded by Hunter Dickinson (Michigan transfer) and Kevin McCullar Jr. However, both of them were injured down the stretch of the regular season, and the effect was sizable. Kansas lost their season finale to Houston by 30 points and then lost in the first round of the Big 12 tournament to Cincinnati by 20 points. Cincy is not a good team. With McCullar out, I find it hard to see a world where the Jayhawks make a deep tournament run.

Samford is electric. They play “Bucky Ball”, a term coined by head coach Bucky McMillan, pressing on every play and playing with the 14th fastest tempo in the nation. This team shoots 39% from three and is not afraid to run up the score. Critics have concerns about their 98-45 loss to Purdue in the season opener… but Samford has come a long way from that point in the season. They’re ready to make some noise.

I’ve gone back and forth on this game all week. But, with Samford’s style of play it’s sure to be a fun one. Even at full strength, the Jayhawks lacked depth, and with McCullar Jr. now out, they will have a hard time keeping up with the Bulldogs. I think I might go upset here…

Upset Potential: 7/10

My Pick: Samford

Dana Altman, the head coach of the Oregon Ducks.

MIDWEST: #6 South Carolina (-1.5) vs. #11 Oregon

Game Details: Thursday, 3/21, 1:00 P.M. on TNT, Pittsburgh, PA

South Carolina: 26-7, SEC, KenPom #49, NET #51

Oregon: 23-11, Pac-12, KenPom #55, NET #59

Fate of the world on the line, the Martians have the death beam pointed at Earth, GIVE ME DANA ALTMAN!

Altman’s tournament resumé is unbelievable, and he has never lost a first round game since taking the helm in Eugene. His last 4 March Madness appearances, he led the Ducks to the Sweet 16.

Not to mention, the Ducks are finally healthy and red hot entering March (won 4 straight to win the last ever Pac-12 tournament), the time of year they always seem to play the best. They can play all over the court, with N’Faly Dante providing size in the paint and Jackson Shelstad and Jermaine Couisnard shooting the lights out from deep. 

On top of that, I never liked South Carolina. The SEC was weak this year, and analytically South Carolina is very low for their seed. The Gamecocks were 6-5 in Quad 1 games, and will have to win a big one against the Ducks to advance.

This bird-on-bird matchup is bound to be great. I smell an upset…

Upset Potential: 9/10

My Pick: Oregon


The Colorado Buffaloes.


This Cinderella story, in my opinion, is made possible by two factors:

  1. This Colorado team is tough as nails, and has as much talent as most teams in the tournament.

  2. Colorado’s path to the Elite 8 is blessed by opponent injuries. In the Round of 64, Colorado would face Florida, who, as I explained above, will be missing center Micah Handlogten (20 minutes a game). If Colorado were to advance to the Round of 32, they would face Marquette. I love Shaka Smart, and I want to support the Golden Eagles, but Marquette needs Tyler Kolek, and he missed the entirety of the Big East tournament with an oblique injury. Kolek will be back, but oblique injuries take a long time to recover from, and Kolek got injured just 3 weeks ago. Without Kolek healthy, I think the Buffaloes will have enough to stun Marquette, and send them home early for the second year straight.

I talked about Colorado, a lot above, but I will reiterate that this team is stacked. Analytically, Colorado checks out, too. They’re 24th in KenPom, and #25 in NET. Colorado is 8-1 since February 10th, with 3 Quad 1 wins.

In the Sweet 16 Colorado would face Kentucky. Kentucky is also super talented, with freshmen of the year Reed Shepherd and Rob Dillingham, both future lottery picks. However, the Wildcats cannot play a lick of defense! Kentucky is #110 in defense on KenPom, and is only #21 overall, just four slots ahead of Colorado. Plus, Kentucky is 6-7 in Quad 1 this season… they can’t win the big game! Colorado is a super streaky team (see “kill shot” metric at bottom of article), and if they shoot the ball well, they absolutely have enough talent to push Kentucky to their limits and advance to the Elite 8.

Go Buffaloes!


100% of March Madness champions since 2002 have been in KenPom’s top 40 offense and top 22 defense rankings. Based on this model, there are 8 contenders for the national title this season:

Ken Pomeroy, the father of March Madness analytics.

  1. Connecticut Huskies (31-3, KenPom Rank #1 OVR #1 OFF #11 DEF, Big East Champs)

  2. Superlatives: Great coach, defending champions (experience), Donovan Clingan, can do it on both ends – offense and defense

  3. Negatives: No team has gone back-to-back in over 20 years

  1. Houston Cougars (30-4, KenPom Rank #2 OVR #17 OFF #2 DEF)

  2. Superlatives: Great coach, super athletic, hungryyy, super experienced, smart with the ball

  3. Negatives: Just lost to Iowa State by 30 points in the Big 12 championship, can get stale on offense against great defenses

  1. Purdue Boilermakers (29-4, KenPom Rank #3 OVR #4 OFF #21 DEF)

  2. Superlatives: Zach Edey, best shooting team in America (41.0%)

  3. Negatives: Zach Edey, lack of athleticism, bad tournament history (lost to #15 and #16 in consecutive years), turnover problems

  1. Auburn Tigers (27-7, KenPom Rank #4 OVR #10 OFF #4 DEF, SEC Champs)

  2. Superlatives: Great analytically, 24-0 in Quad 2-4, great 3-point defense, explosive offense, can deliver the “kill shot”

  3. Negatives: 3-7 in Quad 1 (can’t win the big game!)

  1. Arizona Wildcats (25-8, KenPom Rank #6 OVR #8 OFF #12 DEF)

  2. Superlatives: 2nd best “kill shot” team in the nation, Caleb Love, 8-3 in Quad 1, tournament experience, fast paced offense

  3. Negatives: Bad recent tournament history, a lil’ bit turnover prone

  1. Tennessee Volunteers (24-8, KenPom Rank #7 OVR #29 OFF #3 DEF)

  2. Superlatives: Great defense, good guard play, Dalton Knecht

  3. Negatives: 8-7 in Quad 1, can stall offensively, I don’t trust Rick Barnes

  1. North Carolina Tar Heels (27-7, KenPom Rank #9 OVR #24 OFF #6 DEF)

  2. Superlatives: Stacked roster (Armando Bacot, Cormac Ryan, RJ Davis, Brandon Ingram), entering HOT, good coach, Final 4 experience, great defense

  3. Negatives: Recent loss to NC State, Cormac Ryan inconsistent

  1. Marquette Golden Eagles (25-9, KenPom Rank #12 OVR #21 OFF #19 DEF)

  2. Superlatives: Great all around, played tough in Big East tournament without Kolek, love Shaka Smart (HC), Tyler Kolek is a wizard (when healthy)

  3. Negatives: Tyler Kolek oblique injury, lack of major talent and athleticism, 9-8 in Quad 1



EAST: #1 UConn vs. #3 Illinois

I like Illinois a lot. I have them taking down an Iowa State team, which has been just 10-6 in Quad 1 games this season. Additionally, this year’s Fighting Illini team is beyond the days of Kofi Cockburn dependency. Now, they have the guard play, and Terrence Shannon Jr. (23.0 points per game) is ready to take them to the promise land. But, it won’t be enough to beat UConn, who’s been perfect so far this year.

WEST: #1 North Carolina vs. #2 Arizona

THIS IS CINEMA! Caleb Love meets his former team in the Elite 8, with a Final 4 trip on the line. This will be a high-level, high-scoring game. But in the end, North Carolina just has more dudes. RJ Davis, Armando Bacot, Cormac Ryan, and Harrison Ingram… these are all high-level players that can take over games. Plus, they have the experience from 2022 to win this big game. I got UNC.

SOUTH: #1 Houston vs. #10 Colorado

The Cinderella story ends here for the Buffaloes. Yea, Houston lost to Iowa State. But, they were due to lose a game, and the margin of the defeat was a product of being banged up throughout the final stretch of the season. However, the long periods of rest during March Madness will bring Houston back to top strength, where they’re no doubt one of the best in the country.

MIDWEST: #1 Purdue vs. #3 Creighton

This game purely comes down to matchups. Purdue’s offense goes through Zach Edey, 7’4” Canadian, one of the best college basketball players of all time. However, Creighton has, arguably, the best defensive big in the nation in Ryan Kalkbrenner, who’s a long 7’1”. Kalkbrenner will take away Edey, and Creighton’s guards, Alexander and Schierman, will run up the score. Bluejays win!


#1 UConn vs. #1 North Carolina

Both these teams don’t have a lot of flaws. However, factors beyond the X’s and O’s point to the Tar Heels. This is a North Carolina team hungry to avenge their national championship loss from two years back. Additionally, since the tournament expanded in 1985, only two teams have won back-to-back championships. Do I see UConn doing that here? I’m not going to bet against history. Tar Heels advance.

#1 Houston vs. #3 Creighton

Houston has the #2 defense in the country, and, as all of Kelvin Sampson’s teams do, play HARD and AGGRESSIVE. Houston’s team is packed with athleticism and raw physical talent. In order to overcome this, team’s need multiple elite ball-handlers who can maintain the flow of the offense. Creighton has Trey Alexander, but Schierman and Kalkbrenner will turn the ball over. Houston is #1 in the “kill shot” metric this season, and will go on enough big scoring runs to keep the Blue Jays out of contention. 

The Houston Cougars.


#1 North Carolina vs. #1 Houston

Honestly, I’m still deciding on this one. Both teams are due for a title… but I’m leaning Houston because of their ability to secure games with the “kill shot.” The Cougars are deep, well-coached, and always hungry. This game would be an absolute thriller.


Net Rankings and Quad Wins (for evaluating a team’s body of work)

College Prep’s ESPN Bracket Pool (Password: GoCougars! AND Prize: 15 dollars… big ca$h)

Evan Miya’s the “Kill Shot” metric for tournament teams this season.


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