A year after he was injured before the most devastating loss in NCAA Tournament history, De’Andre Hunter dominated Texas Tech to help Virginia sneak out another thrilling win for their first NCAA basketball national championship. Hunter went 7 of 8 after halftime to finish with 22 points, showing why he was one of three Virginia players to be ranked in the top 20 most valuable players by Value Add Basketball – the first trio to accomplish that since Duke in 2002.
The other two members of Virginia’s historic trio – junior guards Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy – also led the “Experienced Guard” model we presented prior to the start of the tournament, which finished in the 93rd percentile of the 17 million brackets submitted to ESPN. Most of the other systems yielded excellent brackets as well, with five of the eight finishing in the 87th percentile or better.
The worst predictor turned out to be the one based on which teams had the most NBA talent. The five teams with the most NBA talent (Kentucky, Gonzaga, Duke, North Carolina and Oregon) all failed to make the Final Four.
Some are concerned Congress will destroy March Madness by requiring the payment of all players. Many smaller schools (including Christian schools like Lipscomb and Liberty, which both had great postseason showings this year) have turned to Division I basketball programs because the funds generated can pay for a dozen more men’s and women’s sports. Football can bring in more revenue, but the costs are much higher. The University of Connecticut Athletic Department is $42 million in debt after building a stadium to move their football program to Division I.
Another interesting potential change would be the removal of the NBA’s “one-and-done” rule. There has been significant buzz that the NBA may do away with the requirement of forcing 18-year-olds to wait a year before joining the NBA.
This tournament showed once again that a team of 18-year-olds who are going to be great NBA players in a few years can usually be defeated by experienced juniors and seniors with higher Value Add Basketball ratings.
Here is a breakdown of how each of our pre-tournament prediction systems performed:
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.