We are closing in on the ever-popular March Madness, with the NCAA Basketball tournament set to begin on March 14th-15th with the First Four and while the bracket isn’t finalized just yet, there is a lot of speculation to be had surrounding who will make it and how some teams will fare. For those who don’t know, March Madness is the biggest college basketball tournament of the year and, for those outside of the US specifically reading this who may not understand, it’s a huge chance for some of the biggest young talents in the States to shine on a truly gigantic stage.
If you just look back at some of the names that have made it big in the NBA after also being awarded the title of MVP in the March Madness tournament, you’ll understand how big of a deal this tournament can be for the players. To be up there with names like Wilt Chamberlain, the 1957 MVP, Carmelo Anthony, the 2003 MVP or Anthony Davis the 2012 MVP, can be a huge deal to some of these youngsters and truly give them the confidence boost it takes to move to the next level.
Today however, we’re going to be taking a look at one team in particular, we’ll be looking at how they have performed so far this season and how we feel their chances are moving into March Madness. That team is the UMass Minutemen or the University of Massachusetts for those who don’t know. So far? Things aren’t looking particularly great for the Minutemen but, things could change as there are still 12 fixtures remaining before we get to March Madness.
Bracket layout for the 2023 NCAA Mens D1 Basketball Championship, otherwise known as “March Madness”
The season may not be what the UMass students and fans will have been looking for at the start of this season, with things being a little all over the place, in their conference the Minutemen are currently 2-4 but overall they’re actually positive with a record of 11-7. That record actually puts them just outside the top 25 overall, with #25 currently being occupied by the Arkansas Razorbacks. But after the 83-55 thrashing this week against the VCU Rams, it’s understandable why people aren’t feeling too confident moving forward.
The Minutemen have some tough games coming up, including two games against the Duquesne Dukes, a game against the Fordham Rams and one against the Dayton Flyers, but outside of those 4 games, the other 8 remaining fixtures are definitely winnable and if they get the results where it counts they could absolutely see themselves in with a shot at a place in that March Madness bracket above, but even if that’s the case, could they really push on through that bracket and make their own March during March Madness?
Honestly, that remains to be seen, they’ve genuinely struggled to put up points at times this season, with some of their wins seeing them only put up points totals in the 60s, but also they’ve had games where things have just clicked like their season opener against Central Connecticut where they put up 94 points to 67 and against Saint Louis where they dropped 90 points too. The real question is going to be if they can get that consistency down before the big games in March, if they can’t then there’s a real chance that they could just crash out in the first round, which isn’t particularly helpful when you’re trying to discover your identity as a squad. But, there’s still a lot of hope that they can at least make it to the Sweet 16 games which start March 23rd-24th.
Now we’ve had a look at how we think the UMass Minutemen are going to fare, it’s time to check out how the experts think things are going to unfold. Again, we are aware that the bracket hasn’t been finalised yet and there’s a good chance some of these teams won't even make it to March Madness, but for the sake of being fair we’re going to check out the odds that the sportsbooks are giving the teams, starting with the subject of this piece, UMass Minutemen.
If you’re a Massachusetts fan you must be feeling the excitement of March Madness that's just around the corner with the launch of legal betting in the state. This will be the best time if you’re looking for available betting promos in Massachusetts to cheer on your favorite alma mater. Although a lot of sportsbooks are in agreement here that things are looking pretty poor for the Minutemen and I’m assuming this is partly because many think they won’t even make it, if you want to chance it however you’re looking at +60000 which would see a return of $3005 from a $5 stake.
Just as a point of reference, we’re going to take a look at the top 5 teams in the eyes of the experts, starting with number 5, UCLA are currently 8-0 in the Pac-12, that performance gets you +1200 on them, which returns $65 from $5. In 4th place is Purdue who are 7-1, you can get +1100 which returns $60 from %, tied for second are reigning champions Kansas Jayhawks who are 5-1 and Alabama Crimson Tide who are 6-0, you can get both of these at +1000 which returns $55 from $5 and finally, the favorite team for the NCAAB Championship are the Houston Cougars who are also 6-0, the odds on the favorites are +600 which sees a return of $35 from $5.
Things haven’t been particularly great for UMass this season, but there is still a chance they could make March Madness!
Source: Busting Brackets
So, UMass fans, your season hasn’t been particularly great so far, but it isn’t over yet. Do you think they have what it takes to make a push towards the back end of the regular season? OR do you think this is all she wrote and you’re destined to watch March Madness as neutrals? It seems the experts aren’t giving the Minutemen much chance if those +60000 odds are anything to go by. There are still 12 games to go, so there is lots to play for! It ain’t over til it’s over!
For the rest of you college fans out there. How are your teams doing this season? Are you one of the lucky ones who follow teams like the Alabama Crimson Tide or Houston Cougars who are having a perfect season so far? Or are your team struggling beyond belief like the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes who are on a 7 game losing streak right now? We still have quite a lot of regular season basketball left to play and while it’s almost certainly over for a lot of teams, the final bracket still has yet to be confirmed, who knows how things will be looking come the beginning of March Madness?! Until next time, take care!