The 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is full of teams you haven’t seen in the bracket in a while. Thirty-eight teams in the 68-team field missed the most recent tournament in 2019, and many have gone so far. See some returning teams here.
The Crimson Tide last made the tournament as the No. 9 seed in 2018, but have not made it to the second round since 2004, when they made it to the round of 8.
This season, No. 2 seed Alabama has proven that it is one of the top events in the tournament, beating Louisiana State to win the Southeastern Conference Championship for the first time since 1991. It is an offense-heavy team, led by four consecutive scorers – Jayden Shackford, Jehon Quernley, John Petty and Herb Jones – all with more than 11 points per game. The Crimson Tide have emphasized 3-point shots, attempted an average of 10.7 per game and scored 35.1 percent. This is a well-balanced team that shares the ball well.
This may be one of the years that Alabama has been successful in more than just football. The Crimson Tide will take on 15-seeded Iona in the first round.
St. Bonventure (16-4)
The 9-seeded St. Bonventure Atlantic is the 10 regular-season and tournament champion. It relies on his five starts – Kyle Lofton, Zarine Holmes, Jalan Awade, Dominic Welch and Osun Osuniani – who play an average of 34.5 minutes and score an average of 62.7 points per game, which is 88.9 percentage points from the team.
This makes these five players invaluable, but also leaves the team vulnerable if not one of them is in its game. If those five starts remain reliable, St. Bonavanture could challenge 8th-seeded Louisiana State.
Bonani last played as the No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament 2018, losing to Florida in the first round. This time, they have a strong core of players and look like they may be out of the No. 8 and No. 9 seed matchups.
The 12-seeded Georgetown, last seen in the tournament in 2015, won the Big East Tournament Championship by defeating Critton to the No. 5 seed, 73–48. The Hoys have spent a lot of ups and downs this year, and their record reflects that, but they are also a great upset pick with facing fifth-seed Colorado in the first leg.
Led by coach Patrick Ewing, the team will have unexpected momentum from the Big East tournament going into the first round. Look for the Hoyas to depend on senior guard Jahvon Blair to play heavy minutes and set up a consistent offense. Blair’s steady production – 15.8 points in 35 minutes per game – is the focus of this team’s offense and is the key to scoring one run in the tournament.
Who can forget Loyola-Chicago’s unexpected final four run in 2018? It was Bracket Buster of the Year, and Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt received more national attention Some teams got all season in a month.
This year, No. 8 seed Rambilas is back with a better team. Loyola won the Missouri Valley Tournament by beating Drake 75-65 and finishing first in the conference. The Rambellars have the best defense in the league, catching opponents at an average of 55.5 points per game. This makes him a particularly good pick for the first round, but this time his way into the Final Four seems to be getting murkier. Illinois, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, is going to be tough to defeat any team.
The hope for the Ramblers is with senior center Cameron Krutwig, the only starter left from the 2018 Final Four team. Taking advantage of 15 points and scoring 59.7 percent from the field, Krutwig is expected to be the anchor and leader that will give the team a chance to pull out of the field. Loyola will face 9th seed Georgia Tech in the first round.
Arkansas had not been in the tournament since 2018, when it lost to Butler in the first round. As the No. 3 seed, the Razorbacks are the seventh-best scoring team in the country, averaging 82.4 points per game. He has an efficient offensive system led by coach Eric Musselman and freshman guard Moses Moody, leading the team with 17.4 points per game with 44.2 percent shooting from the field.
While this Arkansas team is better than the previous one to make the tournament, it is up against first-round rival No. 14 Colorado. Third best offensive rating in the countryAccording to the game context, behind Gonzaga and Belor. This is a strong offset pick and will be a fast paced matchup. If the Razorbacks are going to make it to the second round, they have to control the pace and rely on their compatibility.