There are 351 NCAA college basketball teams competing in the top division. However, due to the one-and-done rule and/or more parity across the college basketball landscape, only one D-1 squad boasted three or fewer losses on their resume 14 days before NCAA tournament brackets are set to be released. It wasn’t Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks, Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans or Jay Wright’s Villanova Wildcats. It’s the Sun Belt sensation Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans at 27-3.
That’s right, your 2016 FOX Sports Bracket Challenge March madness brackets shouldn’t be too far from a red pen as lower seeded teams have a great shot to play spoiler and slide on the Cinderella story slipper later this month. When perennial powers like the Duke Blue Devils and Kentucky Wildcats are clinging to their Top 25 rankings with eight losses, young stars like Grayson Allen and Tyler Ullis know they have targets on their backs.
Although the top seeded teams in the 2016 college basketball tourney will have an uphill climb to reach the Final Four in Houston, those involved in bracket office pools should know upper classman are helping Michigan State and Kansas finish with a strong kick.
Denzel Valentine, Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello – all seniors – have played a huge role in the Spartans winning eight of nine games heading into March. Everybody’s favorite eighth-year senior, Perry Ellis, (kidding) along with Frank Mason and Wayne Selden have the Jayhawks rollin’ with the team’s last loss coming a week before the Super Bowl.
As always, the WhatIfSports college basketball simulation engine will project game-by-game winners to help you fill out your 2016 brackets. We've also put together a helpful Bracket Challenge cheat sheet for those in need of some office pool tips. You should also check out the most popular picks among Bracket Challenge entrants and follow the round-by-round action via BracketTrax.
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More bracket regional previews and predictions: SOUTH | EAST | MIDWEST | WEST