With 2019 in the books it’s time to look ahead to 2020 and really ramp up reconnaissance for March Madness. What I have decided to do with latest edition of Brinkman Bracketology is examine four teams that could potentially be playing their best basketball in the early part of 2020 and into March. These aren’t necessarily Final Four or National Championship contenders, but defiantly have a chance to advance to a Sweet 16 if the stars were to align.
For the life of me I cannot figure out why this Creighton team isn’t ranked. Their two losses are to Michigan and San Diego State (both top 20) and have key wins over Arizona State, Texas Tech (ranked), and Oklahoma. The Blue Jays also boast an extremely talented backcourt with Marcus Zegarowski and Ty-Shon Alexander. Zegarowski and Alexander average 18.5 and 16.5 points per game respectably, both guards also shoot nearly 40 percent from three-point land. Look for Creighton to put themselves on the map with a strong performance in Big East play and be a tough out come bracket time.
— Creighton Men’s Basketball (@BluejayMBB) December 29, 2019
I have been high on this edition of Colorado basketball for weeks now and they have done nothing to disappoint. They were able to put themselves on the national landscape with a thrilling overtime win over an extremely talented Dayton team. They do have a very iffy loss to Northern Iowa but they should be able to make up for that with a strong performance in Pac-12 play. The Pac-12 is stronger this year then in years past with Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Stanford all tournament hopefuls.
Iowa State (7-5)
This is a little bit of a wildcard selection as the Cyclones will have some work to do just to be on the bubble come Selection Sunday. However, there is a method to my madness. Iowa State’s starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton is a total stud. He’s 6’5, averages 17 points, 7 assists, 5 boards, nearly 3 steals per game, and shoots a staggering 54 percent from the field. Expect him to be a lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft. Iowa State is also surprisingly deep. The Cyclones have 8 players that average at least ten minutes a game. Six of these players average at least 9 points per game. I’m also not the biggest fan of the Big 12. Past powerhouses Baylor and Kansas the conference is wide open! Look for Iowa State to peak in 2020.
Yale has emerged as my favorite and most likely non power conference school to advance to a Sweet 16. The Bulldogs have proven they can contend with power conference schools with narrow losses to Penn State and Oklahoma State. Yale also held Clemson to just 45 points in their most recent victory. Also, keep an eye out for forward Paul Atkinson to potentially become a household name by seasons end. Atkinson leads Yale in points (17.2) and field goal percentage (65). It should be a tightly contested battle in the Ivy League with Harvard, but I think Yale is better. Go Bulldogs!