Faceoff: Who will win the 2014 NCAA Tournament?

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Traesha Pritchard

In sports, fans always want to hear or see a Cinderella story.
That’s exactly what I think we should look forward to for this NCAA Tournament.
This season Wichita State has the chance to be that story and make history.
The Shockers have matched the NCAA record for victories to start the season by UNLV in 1990-91 with its third straight tournament win after going 18-0 in the conference regular season.
Wichita has won its first conference tournament since 1987.
At 34-0, Wichita State has everyone’s eyes open on what can and cannot happen.
Let’s start off with how the Shockers are returning majority of their last year’s tournament team that had a remarkable run making it into the Final Four.
This will give the team an advantage and the capability to gliding through the tournament as a No.1 seed.
The facts speaks for themselves, Wichita is closely the only team in the country that has shown they are able to beat anyone at any time.
Many say the only downfall to the Shockers being undefeated is the pressure.
With having a perfect record the pressure of keeping that up is a problem.
Various odds going against them say, a mid-major conference team won’t be able to handle the attention.
Two reasons why the issue of “pressure” should not have the capability to ruin the Shockers chances of a national title. One, this team went all the way to the Final Four last season without falling under pressure.
Two Wichita has been undefeated and, still is undefeated this season, so pressure should be out of the question.
Vegas odds are also betting against this unbeaten team, even after dominating the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
This phenomenal team has beaten opponents by an average of 15.6 points per game in the regular season.
Now let’s get into what this team has to do to stay a No.1 seed come Sunday and dominate this NCAA tournament.
The Shockers have to respond to challenges, keep the momentum up, and continue to play hard.
One thing we can agree on is that Wichita may not have all the stand out players like many of the big teams rolling into the conference or have the biggest men in the paint, however they have all the potential to continue to be exceptional.
The team has to shy away from looking at the odds and just keep the momentum up by responding to teams with huge plays and big shots.
As long as Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton can come back and hit consistent threes the Shockers, are good.
This team has a perfect record, but no one is perfect.
Wichita has to play clean, and it has all the chances to winning the National Championship.
It doesn’t matter how March Madness turns out, this team will consistently be broadcasted as a great team in history.

I’m just saying, don’t deny I didn’t tell you that we will see the Shockers in Dallas at the end of the month.

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Tyler DeGiacomo

It’s tournament time.
The Cinderellas are trying on their glass slippers.
The giants are prepping for their runs.
With no clear favorites emerging and pulling away from the pack, the NCAA title is ripe to take.
This season has been lined with injuries, suspensions, and off-and on-the court situations.
A team that has been steady the whole season and not gotten much fanfare is a small Jesuit school outside Philadelphia.
That team is the Villanova Wildcats.
Despite being just 5-3 against the RPI top 50, the Wildcats emerged from the scrum to likely a number seed.
If they win the Big East tournament, they’ll most likely a lock for the number seed.
A perennial top 25 team, the Wildcats haven’t played up to their standards the last two seasons.
The Wildcats have cut down on their twos, beefed up their three point attempts, and displayed half-court ball movement that recalls the classic four-guard Villanova teams of old. Villanova won it’s last National Title in 1985 when it upset the heavily favored Georgetown Hoyas led by Patrick Ewing.
Since then, the farthest the Wildcats have advanced is the Final Four in 2009 off a Scottie Reynolds last second floater in the lane against the University of Pittsburgh (Sorry Pitt fans).
This years Wildcats team has gotten is swagger back.
Led by four players who average double-point figures, Villanova relies on defense, timely scoring, and tenacity to win games.
Villanova started the season unranked and quickly jumped into the top 25 with early season wins against Kansas and Iowa.
Villanova started the season 11 and zero before getting tripped up by Syracuse in late December.
Both senior James Bell and junior Darrun Hilliard make more than 50 percent of their twos and roughly 40 percent of their threes, and JayVaughn Pinkston.
Sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono is the key to the whole operation. Arcidiacono averages 10 points per game, 3.5  assist per game and 2.5 rebounds per game.
The Wildcats boast a strong bench led by freshmen Josh Hart and Dylan Ennis.
The Wildcats are undersized with their tallest player being sophomore center Daniel Ochefu who has improved his overall game tremendously from last season and will be called to take on the biggest, stronger centers in the tournament.
The only other blemishes on the Wildcats season are two blowout losses to Creighton.
Albeit, Creighton boasts one of the top offenses in the Nation led by the National Player of the Year Doug McDermott who is currently fifth in NCAA career scoring.
So it’s not like those two losses were “upsets” or to lesser opponents; just a match-up and personnel issue.
Villanova, if both teams advance, will get to exact their revenge in the Big East tournament championship game.
Villanova’s unique four guard and one big philosophy can catch teams off-guard who can’t keep up with their athleticism and balanced team scoring.
No one has talked about Villanova all season long, and the Wildcats love that. Villanova will cut the nets down come April 7.

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