2018 March Madness Opening Round Previews & Predictions, text on an image of a basketball hoop in an empty arena

2018 NCAA March Madness Opening Round Matchups Previews & Picks

Here at Family Kia in St Augustine, we are fans of all of our in-state sports teams and we would like to congratulate the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, and the Miami Hurricanes on their selections into the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  We have broken down each of these teams opening round March Madness matchups and also given you a score prediction just for fun, enjoy.

Florida Gators vs St. Bonaventure Bonnies

The 6th Seeded Gators get an opening round matchup against the 11th Seeded St. Bonaventure Bonnies.  The Bonnies earned their spot into the tournament by beating the UCLA Bruins in the East Regions play-in game on Tuesday night by a score of 65-58.  Both the Gators and Bonnies are lead by their backcourts, the Gators junior guard Jalen Hudson leads them in scoring while the Bonnies are lead in scoring and assists by senior guard Jalen Adams.  The Gators have had an up and down season this year and they have the talent and ability to beat any team in the tournament, but they can also get beat by any team as well.  The St. Bonaventure Bonnies won their first NCAA tournament game since 1970 on Tuesday and if they can keep that momentum rolling they are going to give the Gators all they can handle.  Unfortunately, for the Bonnies, the top to bottom talent on the Gators roster should have them come out victorious in this matchup

Prediction: Florida Gators 72                      St. Bonaventure Bonnies 64

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Florida State Seminoles vs Missouri Tigers

The 9 Seed Florida State Seminoles face off against the 8 Seed Missouri Tigers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, in a very evenly matched game.  The ‘Noles enter with a 20-10 record in the always difficult ACC while the Tigers have a 20-11 record the highly competitive SEC that got eight teams into the Big Dance this year.  Both of these teams have had some impressive wins over top-tier opponents and lost to teams that they shouldn’t have.  The Seminoles and Tigers rely heavily on the 3-point shot, and the outcome of this matchup could be determined by the team or player that has the hot shooting hand.  This game is going to be fast-paced and entertaining, but I believe the Seminoles will be victorious because of their experience and tough ACC schedule.

Prediction: Florida State Seminoles 66                   Missouri Tigers 60

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Miami Hurricane vs Loyola – Chicago Ramblers

The 6 Seed Miami Hurricanes have a first-round matchup against the 11th Seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers.  The Hurricanes had a solid ACC season and finished with a 22-8 record while the Ramblers compiled a 25-5 record playing the lesser Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).  However, the MVC is 8-0 in the NCAA Tournament first round over the last five years, so the Hurricanes shouldn’t be overlooking the Ramblers even a little.  The Loyola Ramblers are led by their dynamic guard Clayton Custer who leads the team in points, assists and steals.  The Miami Hurricanes have a more balanced team with three separate players leading the team in points, rebounds, and steals.  The injury to the Hurricane’s Bruce Brown is a major setback, but the ‘Canes responded by winning 7 of 10 games after the Brown injury in January.  The Hurricanes superior length, size, and depth should have them come out on top of this matchup against the Ramblers though.

Prediction: Miami Hurricanes 78              Loyola – Chicago 73

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