Season Of Champions: March Madness 2022


Bracket courtesy of NCAA

2022 March Madness bracket through the first day of the tournament.

Andrew Hale, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The field is set. Over the course of the next 17 days, 68 teams will compete day after day for a chance to be crowned as a part of NCAA Men’s basketball royalty. 

Upsets are not new. We’ve seen some lower seeded teams like 11 seeds, Loyola Chicago in 2018 and VCU in 2011, both advance to the Final Four and eight seed Villanova even win March Madness in 1985.

That very Villanova team still holds the record as the lowest seed to win the National Championship. Some have gotten close but few have actually tasted true glory. 

So after a long 2022 season who are the favorites heading into March Madness? Who’s overrated? 


Auburn Tigers

For starters during the regular season, the one team that has caught my eye the most was Auburn. Up until Feb. 8 the Tigers had lost only one game, which is almost unheard of in today’s SEC.

With that being said, Auburn is championship material. With versiatle bigs like Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler and explosive guards in K.D. Johnson and Wendell Green Jr., the Tigers are built to beat any team they come across in March. 

Auburn managed to get to the Final Four in 2019 but lost on a controversial call. Is 2022 the year in which the Auburn Tigers will finally be crowned tournament champions or will this year be another disappointment?

I think the Tigers will break through and make it to the Final Four and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they manage to win it all in 2022. 

Arizona Wildcats

Another team that is bound to have a deep tournament run is Arizona. After a dominant 31-3 season, the Arizona Wildcats seem to still be underrated. Sure, the PAC-12 may not be as deep of a conference as the SEC or Big Ten, but teams like UCLA and USC still proved to be a tough opponent for most. 

Besides some big losses to Tennessee, SEC tournament champions, and UCLA, PAC-12 runner ups, Arizona had its best season since 2016-17. Unfortunately for Arizona, that 2016-17 season ended in the Sweet 16, but this year will be different for the Wildcats.

After seeding as a one in the south portion of the bracket, Arizona will likely face Villanova or a rematch with Tennessee in the Elite Eight. After such a dominant season, Arizona will prove why they are one of the best and eventually end up in the Final Four and potentially even the National Championship.


Duke Blue Devils

After missing the 2021 March Madness tournament following a very disappointing 2020-21 season, Duke, as they usually do, bounced back. This year the stakes were raised. Duke couldn’t have another bad year, especially in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last season. 

The Blue Devils eventually won the ACC regular season for the first time since 2016 and finished with a record of 26-5 but lost in the ACC tournament championship to Virginia-Tech by a score of 82-67. 

This wasn’t the first time in which the Blue Devils were upset by a large margin this year. Duke lost to rival North Carolina 94-81 in coach K’s final home game and also had losses to Ohio State, Miami, Florida State and Virginia. 

It must be said that Duke did beat teams like, at the time, seven ranked Kentucky and the number one ranked Gonzaga during the season, but those games were both in the first month of the season and the Blue Devils haven’t had an “impressive” win since. The ACC was relatively weak this year with UNC posing the only real threat, so it wasn’t a surprise that Duke managed to finish on top.

Going into the tournament, I honestly don’t see Duke making a deep run as they may have to take on either Michigan State, who they lost to in the Elite Eight in 2019, or Atlantic-10 regular season champs in Davidson, in just the second round. 

Even if they get past their first opponent, Cal State Fullerton, and Michigan State or Davidson, in the second round,  Duke will eventually have a rematch with tournament favorite, Gonzaga in the Elite Eight – that is if everything goes according to plan, of course.

The Duke Blue Devils just haven’t impressed me this season and will wind-up having a lackluster tournament run in 2022. 


I know this may be controversial but Illinois is bound to be upset at some point during March Madness. After coming in at 11 on the preseason AP Top 25 Poll, the Fighting Illini have had a rollercoaster of a season. 

Even after following three early losses in the first few months of the season, Illinois finished the regular season 23-8 and shared the Big Ten regular season title with Wisconsin, but have not lived up to expectations. 

In the Big 10 Tournament, Illinois was defeated in the first round by Indiana which was especially disappointing due to the fact that the Fighting Illini were the reigning champs. Illinois will head into the tournament with a loss on their mind as they take on Southern Conference Tournament champs in Chattanooga.

Last year, one seeded Illinois was upset in the second round by in-state foe Loyola Chicago. While Illinois isn’t a one seed this year, they will still be a team that is bound to be upset in the earlier rounds of the tournament.