Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Preview of all 31 autobids for 2021 NCAA Tournament

Signs on the side of Lucas Oil Stadium promote the NCAA March Madness tournament on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Indianapolis.Ncaa March Madness And Big Ten Basketball Courts Inside Lucas Oil Stadium In Indianapolis March 4 2021
Signs on the side of Lucas Oil Stadium promote the NCAA March Madness tournament on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Indianapolis.Ncaa March Madness And Big Ten Basketball Courts Inside Lucas Oil Stadium In Indianapolis March 4 2021 /
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NCAA Tournament Houston Cougars Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Tournament Houston Cougars Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports /

Houston Cougars – American Athletic

Houston didn’t win the regular-season title in the American as that went to the Wichita State Shockers but the Cougars did win the conference title by absolutely crushing Cincinnati. The Cougars have been on the up and up for a few years now under head coach Kelvin Sampson, Houston is now making their second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, and this year they are one of the best and deepest teams in the country and have been all year.

It speaks to the talent of your team when the preseason American conference player of the year Caleb Mills transfers at mid-season because of a bevy of guards who were splitting his minutes. Houston is the second-best defensive team in the country and one of the best rebounding teams as well. They are long athletic, and when things are clicking it is really hard to keep a game with them close.

Best Player: Quentin Grimes

Grimes is a transfer from Kansas. While he was at Kansas he never lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him and he decided to transfer to Houston. Houston has been good to Grimes as he won the America Player of the year this season and looks to be a lock to be taken in this year’s NBA draft.

The junior guard took a good chunk of his shots from beyond the arc this season and made them at a 40% clip. Don’t be fooled though as Grimes is an elite scorer and he can score from anywhere on the floor. Grimes is also a great defender and outstanding rebounder for a guard. Grimes is good enough to be on the NCAA all-tournament team and likely will be if the Cougars make it far enough.

Chance at Being Upset

Houston lost three games all season and blew most of their competition out. They have played some close games against Memphis twice and did enough to win. They are loaded and athletic. They have tons of length to protect the rim and rebound well. One aspect of the game that not many teams are going to have an answer for is their ability to rebound the misses on the offensive end.

Houston hauls in about 15 offensive boards a game. Offensive rebounds are back-breaking for a defense especially when they exert so much energy to try to get the initial stop. Houston is a team that I have in the final four. Chance of early upset: 5%.

Illinois Illini – Big Ten

Illinois is a really strange team as I have said all year they are capable of winning a National Championship and they are capable of losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Outside of Gonzaga and Baylor, Illinois may be the most exciting team in the country.

They have a ton of lottery picks in the NBA draft who elected to come back this season because of the uncertainty last season with Covid-19. Those players along with some super freshmen have helped Illinois be ranked in the top five for nearly the whole year and succeed while playing the toughest schedule in the country.

The Illini are good and are going to make a long run in this tournament because talent and experience rule out in the NCAA tournament and Illinois has a ton of both.

Best Player: Ayo Dosunmu

When watching Dosunmu it is going to be really hard to figure out why he is still in college. He is much too good for the college game and if Luka Garza was not in the Big Ten then Ayo would have won the player of the year going away. The junior guard is also a triple-double waiting to happen and he is going to do it in style. He averages 20 points per game and they’re are scored in a variety of ways.

Dosunmu shoots 51% from inside the arc, 39% from outside the arc, and 78% from the free throw line. He can jump out of a gym and when the game is close either early or late he gets into taking over mode and the show begins. The junior guard is great but there are so many other great players for Illinois that picking one player was extremely hard to do.

Chance at Being Upset

Illinois is going to have no trouble beating the lower seeded teams. They were granted a one seed and have been playing like a national champion over the last month of the year. Many have suggested that the Big Ten is the best conference ever and if that is true Illinois which won the regular season and conference championship will have no trouble making it to the title game to face Gonzaga.

That is a game that all of us need to see as it likely will be one of the best title games ever. Illinois does have a tendency to play down to their opponent see games at Nebraska and at Northwestern.

Next. Strengths/weaknesses of top 16 teams. dark

If they can avoid that they will have no trouble. If they play down to their opponent they could sweat a little. Chance of an early exit is 2%.