Contenders, Pretenders and Cinderella's

By: Jason Gold

Our first March Madness Seven Stakes contest is live and you can create a league now!

Here’s how it works: Create or join a league with friends.  We will ask seven questions which have multiple right and wrong answers.  These are the stakes! Make your choices, watch the results live, team with the highest score wins!

It’s time to #RaiseTheStakes!

Now that you’ve created your Seven Stakes league let’s dive into some March Madness action!

Here are the teams you need to know, the teams you need to fade and the sleepers that may fit into the slipper.

Contenders

There are only a few teams that fit into the historical profile of NCAA Tournament champions. Traditionally contenders have a very balanced attack and can win in a variety of ways and against a lot of different styles.

Championship caliber squads usually are ranked within the top 35 of both offensive and defensive efficiency. The top teams that fit the mold this season are: Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Illinois, Houston. It is likely that one of those five teams will be crowned champion in April.

Some other teams that could end up being legitimate title threats: Arkansas, Florida State, UConn, Alabama and Purdue.

Pretenders

The pretender category is reserved for teams that had thrilling and successful regular seasons but don’t fit the historical profile of teams that have won the tournament. Usually these teams are flawed on one side of the floor and will slip up at some point before the Final Four.

Teams like Iowa and Ohio State fit this mold quite well. Both teams are wildly talented offensively and have played incredible ball this season in a difficult conference. However, both have anemic defenses that won’t be able to overcome poor shooting nights.

Some other teams that fit this mold: LSU, Villanova, West Virginia, Kansas and Missouri.

Cinderella’s

Our favorite things about March are gambling, buzzer beaters and Cinderella stories. This year, especially due to the lack of experience entering the tournament and potential COVID implications, could be an absolutely wild ride and we could be in store for some big runs from teams you don’t know much about.

The Sleepers: UCSB, Loyola Chicago, Winthrop, Syracuse, Drake, Liberty, Ohio