Get Ready for Tipoff
Things are about to get very interesting. For college basketball fans around the country, the most exhilarating time of year has finally arrived. Over the next magical few weeks, many eyes around the nation will be tuned into one thing, and one thing only: the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The allure of this sensation typically has even the most apathetic of sports fans putting pencil to paper via bracket form, in order to cast their predictions for who will emerge victorious in this classic tourney.
Improbable upsets, stinging defeats, and raucous celebrations at the finish are all but assured to take place. What else is guaranteed? DISH subscribers have all the tools at their disposal to capitalize on this golden opportunity for sports TV-binging. If watching one game at a time isn’t enough, you can also watch up to four games all at the same time on your TV set with our Multiview Mode on the Hopper 3. Don’t feel like manually surfing channels to find the most entertaining game to watch? Use our Gamefinder feature to find the most exciting game that is currently playing for you, as well as check the scores of other games. And if you happen to find yourself out of the house while your favorite team is playing, you can always use DISH Anywhere to stream the game live on your mobile device.
Learn more about our complete coverage of the tournament on our March Madness page. As the teams competing in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship have now been revealed, we take a look at the contenders and sleeper teams from each college basketball conference that are the likeliest to advance all the way to the finish:
Contender: The Cincinnati Bearcats most certainly have the ability to make a deep run, if not take home the ultimate prize in the NCAA Tournament. Their offense is anchored by an outstanding defense, and defense more often than not tends to win championships.
Underdog: The Houston Cougars have had a knack for pulling off blowout victories lately. With wins against top-seeded teams such as Cincinnati, this squad has the potential to make a serious Cinderella run.
Contender: A perennial contender, the odds are in favor of Duke participating in the Final Four come the end of March. Boasting two of the best players in the league in Martin Bagley III and Grayson Allen, suffice it to say the Blue Devils are a team that no other looks forward to facing in the tournament.
Underdog: The Virginia Tech Hokies have the potential to pull off a major upset come tournament time. With five players on the team averaging double digit points per game, they may be one of the more well-rounded crews in the competition.
Contender: The Rhode Island Rams might just be the living embodiment of scrappiness. While the overall talent level may not be up to the same standard as the other top teams in the tournament, this squad is the classic example of the sum being greater than the parts that comprise it.
Underdog: All the Davidson Wildcats do is score. More specifically, score 3-pointers. If they can keep up the pace of doing so when the games start counting for real, look for them to make some significant noise.
Contender: Coming off of a 14th consecutive Big 12 title, the Kansas Jayhawks have as good of a chance as any to be the last team standing in San Antonio this year. Few other teams have the ability to match their lethal offense when they are playing at their best- which they more often than not are.
Underdog: Playing in their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998, the TCU Horned Frogs undoubtedly will be striving to prove that their place in the tourney isn’t just an anomaly. However, they will have to seriously elevate their recent level of play in order to show the doubters that it isn’t all a fluke.
Contender: The #1 overall seeded Villanova enters this year’s tournament as the consensus favorite to win the title. Having the luxury of possessing four players with legitimate NBA aspirations, the Wildcats have the potential to not only win it all, but demolish the competition standing in their path on their way to doing so.
Underdog: Speaking of underdogs, the Butler Bulldogs fit the bill in more ways than one. Possessing the uncanny ability to hound their opponents up and down the court, this team especially has a knack for thriving in close games. It’s an ability that should serve them well when the tournament officially tips off.
Contender: The Michigan State Spartans have the privilege of being led by future NBA lottery pick Miles Bridges. Boasting extreme size, defense, and rebounding ability, this year’s squad is a skilled group of warriors true to their name that will battle it out until the very end.
Underdog: Led by national coach of the year candidate in Chris Holtmann, the Ohio State Buckeyes enter March shorthanded on players, yet not on drive. This is a team that no opponent should take lightly from the opening tip up until the final whistle.
Contender: The Arizona Wildcats are the easy pick here. Led by 7-foot-1 big man Deandre Ayton, this is a team that can effortlessly outmuscle the competition. While the investigation the team is currently facing may serve as a distraction, there’s no doubt that they can stomp their way to the finish if they don’t let off-court matters affect their performance on the court.
Underdog: Minus Lonzo Ball, many would argue that the UCLA Bruins aren’t as potent as last year’s squad. However, led by Aaron Holiday, this is a team that has defeated both Kentucky and Arizona during the regular season. How will they fare when the stakes are high than ever before?
Contender: The Tennessee Volunteers have as good of a shot as any to prevail in San Antonio. Possessing victories over North Carolina State and Purdue including a season sweep of Kentucky, this squad has a ton of talent. After a tough regular season schedule, the road certainly won’t get any easier in the playoffs.
Underdog: The Kentucky Wildcats listed as an underdog? Yes, you read that right. While one may remember this team for the legendary talents of previous years, the feeling is that the current team pales in comparison to years past as well as to other current teams around the league. Facing an extremely challenging bracket schedule, if this team makes it to the Final Four their place will be particularly well-deserved.
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