Former Xavier, Providence and Virginia coach and current CBS Sports Analyst Pete Gillen breaks down the NCAA Tournament bracket for The Post:
It’s all about money. Coaches are making a fortune. So whatever it takes to keep this money coming in, they do. How many schools, I have no idea. Money corrupts, whether it’s in the construction business, in politics, in Hollywood — money corrupts. It’s really professional sports at the college level.
I think they gotta say, we’re gonna have two different leagues: Gonna have one league, we’re gonna pay the players a stipend; the other 250 schools, you do it differently, the way you want to do it. Those schools sooner or later, some of them will cheat, they’ll wind up coming over to the money schools.
Right now it’s out of control and it’s sad.
I think 85 percent of fans, 90 percent maybe, they just want the games, they just want the excitement, they don’t care. It’s like baseball’s steroids era — nobody cared.
I hope they don’t blow it up this Thursday or Friday, make a big announcement or something.
I think the fans just want the games, they want the Madness. So, let’s break down some of the 67 games that will crown a champion:
N.C. State over Seton Hall: Something is rotten in Denmark with Seton Hall. For some reason, they’re not clicking. N.C. State 7-footer Omer Yurtseven will get Angel Delgado in foul trouble.
Duke over Iona: My only thought is the Gaels better wear helmets. Neither team plays defense. Duke had more holes in its zone against North Carolina in the ACC semis than the polyester suits I used to wear to big games. Marvin Bagley III is the best player in the country. He reminds me of Anthony Davis.
Rhode Island over Oklahoma: Danny Hurley is an outstanding coach — intense, a great defensive coach, very focused. Kids like him because he’s consistent. He has terrific guards, and I don’t think Oklahoma deserved to get in ahead of Notre Dame. Trae Young reminds me of a smaller version of Pete Maravich.
Rhode Island over Duke: Bagley gets 35, but Rhode Island wins in a shootout because of Duke’s poor defense.
South Dakota State over Ohio State: The Jackrabbits’ Mike Daum is a 6-foot-9, 250-pound killer. Keita Bates-Diop scores over 20, just not enough.
San Diego State over Houston: They’re like clones of each other, but San Diego State is bigger and longer and more athletic, and Trey Kell is healthy.
Arizona over Virginia: When I coached Virginia, some of my players thought Defense is a town in South America. When the Cavaliers double-team Deandre Ayton down low, he’ll kick it out to Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins, and they’re gonna destroy Virginia with drives to the baskets and 3-point shots. Virginia’s Kyle Guy can go cold from downtown.
Cincinnati over Tennessee: This game will be in the mud and the glue and Bloody Nose Lane. The Bearcats’ Gary Clark and Kyle Washington dominate the lane. Cincy coach Mick Cronin is always on a crusade — he hates Christmas and he hates holidays, I don’t know why. I like Mick … but he makes coffee nervous, he’s very uptight.
Arizona over Cincinnati: Ayton controls the paint and gets Clark and Washington in foul trouble. Arizona’s Parker Jackson-Cartwright creates shots for his teammates. Cincinnati’s Achilles’ heel is its inconsistent point-guard play. Ayton’s a little more mechanical, but he reminds me a little of Patrick Ewing.
Villanova over West Virginia: The Mountaineers have to create points with their defense and they won’t steal it from Jalen Brunson.
Texas Tech over Purdue: The Red Raiders double Isaac Haas down low, and Purdue goes cold from the perimeter. Keenan Evans is too quick for the Purdue guards.
Villanova over Texas Tech: Omari Spellman is the difference.
Gonzaga over Xavier: A rematch of last year’s Elite 8 game. Rui Hachimura has a big game off the bench for the Zags. Trevon Bluiett goes cold from the perimeter.
Michigan over North Carolina: Michigan carves up North Carolina like a porterhouse steak with its half-court offense.
Gonzaga over Michigan: X-factor Josh Perkins takes over the game. He scores and gets the ball down low to Johnathan Williams and Killian Tillie, and Michigan’s Moe Wagner and Abdur-Rakhman go cold from the perimeter.
Kansas over Auburn: Devonte Graham is the cream in the coffee, the salt in the stew, the cream cheese on a bagel and the cinnamon in the cappuccino for the Jayhawks. He reminds me of a right-handed Tiny Archibald.
Michigan State over Rhode Island: Miles Bridges and Nick Ward are too big and talented and strong inside, and Cassius Winston slows down Jared Terrell.
Michigan State over Kansas: Ward can slow down Udoka Azubuike (knee) if Azubuike comes back. Winston steps up and slows down Graham a little bit.
Villanova over Michigan State: Brunson takes over the game over Winston. The skill level of the Wildcats — they all can pass and shoot, they really share the ball, they have great spacing offensively — is too much for the Spartans.
Arizona over Gonzaga: The Wildcats are on a crusade because of the problems they had with Sean Miller — I don’t know what he did, what he didn’t do, I don’t know that answer — and the Trier (PED) suspension. Us-against-the-world has given them a boost.
Ayton is just a Terminator in the low post, he’s a wrecking machine. The Zags’ Perkins is a little rat, he’s gotta step up and have a great game, but he’s too inconsistent.
Villanova over Arizona: I think Villanova will draw out Ayton, put him in a lot of ball screens, get him a little frustrated with that so he won’t be able to block shots inside. Bridges reminds me of a stronger version of Dominique Wilkins. Villanova has the best duo since Brooklyn street legends Joey Clams and Three-Finger Willie.