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  • I sit here today, incredibly excited about it is beautiful to have March Madness back and what have you.

  • But I just I don't even know how to feel about the fact that there's no Kentucky.

  • There's no Duke.

  • I just don't know what to say.

  • Could you talk to us about the absence of these two and what it means to the tournament?

  • To not have these two teams?

  • Well, the tournament will survive and college basketball survive, and both Duke and Kentucky will we've had over the years.

  • Maybe I think it was 1996 was the last time that Duke was not in the tournament or 95 was the last time Duke wasn't in the tournament.

  • And, uh, Kentucky didn't make it five years ago or something.

  • When Nerlens Noel got hurt, Uh, so they'll be back.

  • I'm not worried about it, but it does kind of diminish the brand names of it, but a lot of people may like that, but this year I don't think anybody's gonna worry about it because we've got big shots at the top with Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois, Michigan.

  • But it does indicate that not all number one recruiting classes are the same.

  • And when you don't have the superstar talent and you're young, you can be just like everybody else in a lot of games.

  • You know, Kentucky know Duke, but J If I were to say to someone, Boy, that Alabama defense, you know they might win the whole thing before they were talking about basketball.

  • Alabama and Ohio State, Right?

  • What's going on?

  • These typical, like football program schools have some of the best teams in the country this year.

  • Well, Ohio State's good all the time.

  • I mean, they've had a great program there.

  • They've been in the Final Four there last in the Final Four, I think in 2012.

  • But they're they're they're they're good all the time.

  • Alabama has knocked on the door of being good for a while, but they're legit this year.

  • Nate Oats was a high school coach in Detroit and as a math guy and talk about an analytics guy.

  • But they're really good defensively, but they can really shoot the three, and they've got a player named Herb Jones that is the player of the year in the SEC.

  • He's big time, so I think Alabama is Final Four.

  • Good, Jay, let me ask you this.

  • We mentioned some of the teams not in Louisville, Kentucky, but Rick Pitino back in it, this time taking Iona.

  • I mean, it's unbelievable.

  • He's got nine lives.

  • What are your thoughts on this?

  • I think it's pretty cool to have Rick Pitino back and have him back in the tournament.

  • And it was funny.

  • He was on our bracketology show last night and coming over FaceTime or someone zoom whatever it was.

  • And he was isolating in his hotel room in Indianapolis, and, uh, and it did not look like a luxurious suite like he would have had in one of the top hotels as a as a high seed at either Kentucky or Louisville.

  • It was It was a single room and and it looked like a hostage video.

  • We we may.

  • We joked about it before he came on, and he said, He said, It's 1/15 seed.

  • You don't get the best hotel rooms and just laughing about it, so but it is good to have him back.

  • And, uh, but I own has been in the tournament the last five years.

  • Like Tim Clues had that program in really good shape when Rick took it over.

  • And it's only gonna get better from here sleepers in this n c double A tournament when we use that word.

  • Jay Bilas What teams jump out in your mind?

  • Well, I mean, sleepers usually means of 1st and 2nd round upsets to me.

  • Um, it's funny, Steven.

  • A.

  • Like you've got a bunch of double digit seeds that are major conference teams.

  • So a lot of times like you're gonna be looking at Rutgers as a 10, or Syracuse is an 11, or Michigan State is an 11 and those are upset picks.

  • I don't look at those as upsets.

  • A couple of the early upsets that I see that are going to be interesting for brackets are going to be in the West.

  • And that is Ohio.

  • Ohio has a point guard named Jason Preston is gonna be a first round draft pick.

  • He's kind of the Lamelo ball of this tournament.

  • Averages 16.7 rebounds, seven assists.

  • He's a triple double guy and very, very talented fun to watch.

  • They've got they've got a good team in Ohio.

  • You can win in the first round.

  • The other is is u C Santa Barbara.

  • They've got really good guards, and I would not be surprised to see U C.

  • Santa Barbara beat Creighton in the first round.

  • Creighton did not play well against Georgetown.

  • They got blown out.

  • Uh, they've they've had obviously some, some issues they're dealing with, but but I C U C Santa Barbara as a as a pretty darn good upset pick.

  • The other one is Winthrop.

  • They're playing against Villanova, and Winthrop can play fast.

  • They've got a point guard, 67 Chandler Badran, who's a lefty, kind of got an old man game.

  • Another triple double threat.

  • Who's had him in the past?

  • They've got a £270.

  • 67 Low post threat named DJ Burns a lefty.

  • They're both lefties, actually, Uh, and they're good enough to beat a Villanova team that is diminished without having Colin Gillespie.

  • He got injured, so he's not going to be playing the rest of the year.

  • I still would favor Villanova, but but Winthrop can beat them.

  • Meantime, speaking of injury, Isaiah Livers, uh, the, uh, he's a senior with Michigan with a stress fracture in his foot.

  • Real good player co captain.

  • What does that mean for their chances?

  • Do you?

  • Do you know what?

  • I have not heard that he's coming back, They said indefinitely at it with a stress fracture.

  • And what does that mean for their tournament chances?

  • Well, my understanding Max is it's a stress reaction, which which can, if not properly taken care of lead to a stress fracture.

  • Uh, so I don't know whether he's going to be back for the first round that they're playing in.

  • But without, um, without Isaiah Livers, Michigan is compromised.

  • They're still really good, but they're still good offensively.

  • But they're not elite without without him.

  • He makes them elite as an offensive team.

  • Overall, he's their best player, I believe.

  • And so I think that puts them, gives them a little bit of pause.

  • If they I shouldn't say pause now with what pause means, but it gives them a little bit of concern.

  • When they go into the second round.

  • They could be playing L S U, and that's a really dangerous game if they have livers because LSU is super talented and they're actually starting to guard people now, they didn't do that earlier in the year.

  • So that's that's sort of an upset alert there for Michigan in the second round.

  • If they get L s u and without livers, it's really an upset alert.

  • Mm.

  • Number for Juwan Howard.

  • I really wish they were fully healthy.

  • Has done an exceptional job taking over that program.

  • All right, I really want to ask you about a 7 10 matchup in the East region, but this is a national show, so I'm gonna avoid that.

  • Can you really quickly give us, uh, your final four in your winner Jay?

  • Final four?

  • I've got Alabama, I've got Gonzaga.

  • I think Illinois is going to make the Final Four.

  • And I think Baylor is gonna is gonna do well in its bracket, even though it had some covid issues not too long ago.

  • And then I've got Illinois and Gonzaga in the final, and I think Gonzaga is going to cut the Nets down and be the first undefeated team since Indiana in 1976.

  • Which, oddly enough, was the last time that both Duke and Kentucky did not make the field.

  • Thanks for watching ESPN on YouTube for live streaming sports and premium content.

I sit here today, incredibly excited about it is beautiful to have March Madness back and what have you.

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Predicting the 2021 NCAA Tournament champion and Final Four teams | First Take

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/15
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