March Madness, aka “The Big Dance” pertains to the annual NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament every spring. The competition involves 68 college basketball teams from all over the country who play in a single elimination tournament to crown the national champion.
It is dubbed “March Madness” as it transpires in March, and the tournament’s unpredictability and excitement can cause an uproar among basketball enthusiasts.
The contest commences with the “First Four,” a play-in round where eight teams vying for four spots in the primary bracket. The preliminary tournament includes six games, followed by each round eliminating teams until only one remains victorious and is crowned the national champion, on “Championship Monday.”
As March Madness draws near, people eagerly anticipate the tournament’s start on March 14th-15th with the First Four. Although the final bracket is yet to be decided, there is a lot of excitement over which teams will qualify for the competition, and conversations about exciting facts concerning the various groups are becoming more prevalent. This article will examine which Massachusetts team -if any- will most likely make it to March Madness this year. Massachusetts has not in recent years been much of a hotbed for college basketball, however one of the beauties of March Madness is that a “Cinderella” could always emerge at “The Big Dance.”
Chances of Massachusetts Teams making it to March Madness 2023
Making accurate predictions at this point in the season is challenging as numerous basketball games are yet to be played, and several teams are still vying for positions within their conferences. Nonetheless, by examining each team’s performance thus far, we can gain a general sense of their likelihood.
In recent history, UMass Amherst has been the most successful Massachusetts team in consistently making the NCAA tournament. The Minutemen, under then-coach John Calipari, even advanced as far as The Final Four in 1996 ranked Number 1 in the nation for most of the year and led by National Player of the Year Marcus Camby finishing with a 35-2 record.
Nevertheless, it’s vital to remember that many factors can affect a team’s chances of winning the tournament, such as injuries, the strength of the schedule, and overall team performance.
As of March, nine Massachusetts colleges are eligible to participate in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but these teams are regarded as long shots to qualify. Several Massachusetts sports betting markets are releasing their projections before March Madness commences. Based on the betting markets and the favorites among bettors, five top Massachusetts basketball teams that have been identified with the potential to secure a spot in the March Madness NCAA tournament.
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For fans of college basketball and sports bettors, March Madness is one of the most exciting periods of the year. The NCAA tournament, which features 68 teams, provides countless potential for upsets and surprises, making it an exciting event for everyone involved.
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Merrimack, a school based in North Andover, is leading the Northeast Conference. They moved to Division I in 2020, and this year are led by senior forward Jordan Minor, who is registering 17.4 ppg and 9.4 rpg throughout the ’22-’23 season.
The Warriors could secure their spot in the upcoming March Madness if they can maintain steady play and secure the automatic bid by winning their conference tournament.
Stonehill, a Northeast Conference team, has an excellent opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Basketball tournament and are potential spoilers to Merrimack’s quest for the conference title.
Despite entering tournament play with an overall losing record, the Skyhawks posted an impressive 10-6 record within their league play. Stonehill is in the third position in the conference standings.
The Skyhawks are led by 6-5 senior guard Isaiah Burnett (12.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg) a transfer from the Naval Academy and 6-6 senior forward Andrew Sims (15.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg) as both their offensive and defensive stalwarts.
UMass Lowell River Hawks
UMass Lowell is in second position in the America East standings, with Vermont leading the league in power rating. The team features Mali national player Abdoul Karim Coulibaly, and boast a strong possibility of winning the America East tournament to secure the automatic NCAA bid.
While UMass Lowell has never made it to the NCAA Division I tournament, they have reached the Elite Eight thrice in the Division II tournament.
Boston University Terriers
Boston University is ranked fifth in the Patriot League, a conference currently dominated by Colgate. Throughout their NCAA tournament history, the Terriers have only managed to win two games while dropping seven in their tournament appearances.
Their most recent appearance was a 72-53 Round of 64 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks in 2011.
In 1959, the Terriers were a different breed. They upended the University of Connecticut Huskies 60-58 in the first round before disposing of the Midshipmen of Navy in the Sweet Sixteen, 62-55. They then dropped a hard fought contest to Jerry West’s West Virginia Mountaineers in the Elite Eight, 86-82.
Times have since changed. However, if BU, led by their Connecticut backcourt of Walter Whyte (14.8 ppg) and Jonas Harper (10.5 ppg) can produce consistently in the conference championship, they have the potential to disrupt the plans of Colgate and others and secure their spot in March Madness.
In Cambridge, Harvard is also in the running to qualify for the NCAA tournament. This season under coach Tommy Amaker, the team is seventh in the Ivy League and is trying to secure a place in the league’s four-team Ivy Madness to earn the conference’s automatic bid.
The Ivy League competition, as always, is fierce with the likes of Princeton, Cornell, Yale, and Dartmouth all also vying for the coveted title. Senior Chris Ledlum (18.8 ppg), a product of Brooklyn NY, is the team’s leader and catapult.
Harvard owns the dubious distinction of holding the longest NCAA tournament appearance drought in history having gone 66 consecutive years without an invitation to “The Dance” before snapping that streak in 2012. Since that time they have played well in the tournament beating New Mexico in 2013, 68-62 and dropping Cincinnati in 2014, 61-57.
Harvard’s most recent appearance in the NCAA tournament was in 2015, where they were seeded 13th and almost topped national powerhouse North Carolina in the first round, falling 67-65.
Predicting the chances of Massachusetts teams making it to March Madness can be tricky with all hopes now riding on the individual schools conference tournament. It takes work to estimate these odds precisely.
Some Massachusetts-based teams have historically succeeded in the NCAA tournament despite the challenges. Boston College has participated in the Big Dance 18 times, while UMass has made it 11 times. Other colleges based in Massachusetts, including Harvard, Northeastern, and Holy Cross, have also qualified for the tournament in recent years, with the Crusaders, behind coach Doggie Julian, tournament MVP George Kaftan, star Joe Mullaney, and freshman wizard Bob Cousy, winning the March Madness tournament in 1946-’47.