NCAA Basketball: Evaluating bold predictions from 2019-20 season

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NCAA Basketball

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 21: Collin Gillespie #2 and Jermaine Samuels #23 of the Villanova Wildcats react after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Everybody makes bold predictions before the NCAA Basketball season, but no one checks back to see how accurate their predictions were. We’re doing that.

Let’s start with a story.

I started to specialize my sports writing career in NCAA Basketball starting with the 2015-16 season. I had covered the sport since I started in 2011, but 2015-16 was when I started to prioritize college hoops over the other sports I covered.

I wrote a lot about Villanova that season, as you would expect considering they were among the nation’s best teams. Most of my writing about them was negative as I didn’t think they had what it took to win a national championship. I was smart enough to not include them in my annual “Top seeds that won’t win the national championship” article, but I was leaning far more towards them being bounced during the tournament’s opening weekend for the third straight season over them winning the title.

My grandfather is a Villanova graduate and die-hard college basketball fan, and he had me send him everything I wrote about the Wildcats that season. The response from him for each article included some playful ribbing, as you would expect, but it was mostly left at that.

Now, we all remember how that season turned out, right?

The day after, he sends me an email. No subject, only one sentence:

“It’s a good thing you’re in a field where you don’t have to be right.”

That’s true, but it hasn’t stopped us from trying to predict the future before or since. Prior to the 2019-20 NCAA Basketball season, I went through the six power conferences and laid out three “bold predictions” for each. This certainly is not an uncommon practice but, just as my grandfather so lovingly did for me back then, I like to go back and evaluate how right or wrong my predictions were.

Ready? Let’s get started with the ACC.

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