Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Predicting winners for all 2021 conference tournaments

Ohio State (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Ohio State (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /
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NCAA Basketball UC Santa Barbara Gauchos guard JaQuori McLaughlin Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball UC Santa Barbara Gauchos guard JaQuori McLaughlin Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Big West

Champion: UCSB Gauchos

Head coach Joe Pasternack finally gets his team to the NCAA tournament. The Gauchos are rolling and are currently on a 10-game losing streak. That could give some a little pause when picking them to win the Big West tournament, but they are the best team and have been all year.

UCSB is one of those teams who are going to be seeded way to low and likely is going to give a higher-seeded team a great game. Jaquori McLaughlin and Amadou Sow make up the best duo in the Big West and those two can dominate and take over a game. McLaughlin is going to be the conference player of the year.

The Gauchos are a top 35 team on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. They move the ball a lot on offense and they are also very opportunistic on defense and get a lot of steals which leads to baskets in transition. The Gauchos are very good and should win this league.

Sleeper: UC Irvine Anteaters

Irvine is that team that you always have to keep an eye on in the Big West. They have been the class of the league for some time and they are extremely experienced. Head coach Russ Turner always has his Anteaters ready to play and this year is going to be no different.

Irvine has already swept UCSB earlier this year and while the Anteaters are not playing their best basketball currently they have the ability to get hot at the right time and make the NCAA tournament. The Anteaters have two great players in the post in Brad Greene and Collin Welp those two lead Irvine and contribute a great deal to their fantastic defense.

Colonial Athletic Association

Champion: James Madison Dukes

The Colonial is another league that is really hard to predict the champion. So many things happen in this tournament every year but since James Madison has the Colonial player of the year they are likely going to win this tournament. They also likely will get the one seed in the tournament as well. Head coach Mark Byington has done a fantastic job in his first year at the helm for the Dukes and should get the Colonial Coach of the Year.

The Dukes average a shade under 80 points per game and the player of the year Matt Lewis and his 20 points is a huge reason why. James Madison doesn’t do anything flashy but they win games and when you have a player like Lewis you are likely to win a lot of games. The Dukes are looking for their first tournament appearance since 2012

Sleeper: Drexel Dragons

Drexel has not made the tournament since 1995-1996, and this year they are the ultimate sleeper in the Colonial. Most any sleeper is going to have one or two dominant players. The Dragons have that in center James Butler who is a double-double machine and they also have a high-scoring guard in Camren Wynter.

Every starter for Drexel scores in double figures and they can all play good enough defense to keep the Dragons in nearly every game. If Wynter and Butler can assert their dominance for the Dragons, early and often in the conference tournament, Drexel has a chance to make a run.