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Predicting the 2021 NCAA March Madness Basketball Champions
It's the moment you've all been waiting for (at least in my head), the moment where I finally reveal who will win the NCAA basketball tournament. I was right in predicting Virginia would win in 2019, and last year I predicted the University of Dayton Flyers would win. And since there was no tournament in 2020, that means that technically, I was not wrong in predicting Dayton would win. So as far as I'm concerned, I am on a two-year streak. That conclusion may not make sense to you, but then again, neither does my methodology, so why not.
If you've seen my previous tournament predictions, then you know that it has nothing to do with basketball. In 2019 I said Virginia would win because history said the Number 1 seed from the South Region who won the regular-season championship was due for a win.
The NCAA Tournament is too volatile and unpredictable to make a prediction based on basketball. So I rely on abstract sequences, not basketball, and sometimes those two match.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are going to be the 2021 NCAA Tournament Champions.
1. The Power of One
As I said in 2019 and 2020, since 1999, anytime a #1 seed has won more than one tournament in a row, they go on to win four in a row, no more, no less. Number 1 seeds won four in a row between 1999 and 2002, and again from 2007-2010.
Where are we in that trend? Well, #1 seeded North Carolina won the 2017 tournament, followed by #1 seeded Villanova in 2018 and #1 seeded Virginia in 2019. That's three in a row, and because there was no tourney last year, a one seed would have to win this year to continue the trend.
So that tells me this tournament champion will be a one seed.
2. The tournament champions will come from the West Region
In 1999 UConn won the NCAA Tournament from the West Region. 4 NCAA tournaments went by before another winner came from the West Region, UConn again in 2004. After that, 6 NCAA Tournaments went by before a winner came from the West Region in 2011. Since 2011, 8 tournaments have been played.
Here is where we finally get to use some of that math we learned in high school. 4-6-8. That means two years get added to the interval each time a team from the West wins the tournament. If that holds true, since eight years have gone by since the last time a team from the West region won the championship, then this tournament will be won by a team from the West region.
If you're keeping track, that means the number one seed from the West region will win this tournament. Who is that team? No other than the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Bonus Round: Parallel Parking
2021 and 1976
If Gonzaga pulls this off, that means they will earn the rare achievement of finishing an entire NCAA season and tournament undefeated. The last team was the 1975-1976 Indiana Hoosiers, as they finished the season undefeated at 32 and 0.
If Gonzaga wins the 2021 March Madness, they end the season at . . . 32 and 0.
That parallel is eerie, but there's more.
Indiana entered that 1975-76 season as the number 1 team in the country. The year before, Indiana lost to Kentucky in the elite 8. Kentucky would go on to lose in the final.
Gonzaga entered this season as the number 1 team in the country. In the last tournament, Gonzaga lost to Texas Tech in the elite 8. Texas Tech would go on to lose in the final.
Then there's the parallel that Indiana started that year by playing three nationally-ranked teams in their first four games. Gonzaga began this season the same way. Even down to the order in which they played those teams.
Oh, and there's one final parallel. Historical powerhouses Duke, Kentucky, and Louisville all miss this NCAA tournament. When was the last time that happened? The 1976 season where Indiana won the championship undefeated.
With all that said, for reasons that have nothing to do with basketball, Gonzaga will win the 2021 NCAA Tournament, and they'll probably play Arkansas in the final.
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