On the eve of the first round, eight writers on the team picked eight players each participating in this year’s tournament.  The competition is simple: whoever’s team scores the most points in the tournament wins.  Last year, our fearless leader himself, president and founder Aran Smith blew away the competition to take home the title. Can he do it again?  His challengers are Eric Guilleminault, David Ray, Clayton Crowe, Jon Wasserman, Michael Visenberg, Evan Tomes, and yours truly.

Eric Guilleminault

1) Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
16) Dillon Brooks, Oregon
17) Isaiah Cousins, Oklahoma
32) Isaiah Taylor, Texas
33) Luke Kennard, Duke
48) Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga
49) Allonzo Trier, Arizona
64) Jordan McLaughlin, USC

Chalk Score (projected number of games played if favorites win out multiplied by team scoring average): 353.1 (7th projected)

Despite their #2 seed, Michigan State is one of the top picks in the nation to win it all, so don’t let the low-end chalk score fool you.  A deep run is very likely for the Spartans, which would bode well for Guilleminault and his first pick, Denzel Valentine.  #1 seed Oregon and their leading scorer Dillon Brooks have a manageable road to the Elite Eight.  A pair of guards named Isaiah from the Big 12 will also carrying a big part of the load for this team.  A couple bold picks were made by Guilleminault, as he took Sabonis and McLaughlin, both on teams predicted by many to lose in the first round.

Dave Ray

2) Perry Ellis, Kansas
15) Danuel House, Texas A&M
18) Jalen Jones, Texas A&M
31) Taurean Prince, Baylor
34) Matt Costello, Michigan St.
47) Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
50) Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
63) Angel Rodriguez, Miami

Chalk Score: 354.2 (6th)

Ray, our Big 12 blogger, let his Big 12 flag fly with two of his first four picks coming from the conference, in addition to the other two of his first four coming from former Big 12 member Texas A&M.  If A&M falls short of the Final 4, this team could be hurting, but with the leading scorer on the #1 overall seed, Perry Ellis, they should at least be in contention for a while, and they also have Michigan State big man Matt Costello, who has come on strong of late and whose team should be around a while.  Taurean Prince is an intriguing player, a great scorer on a strong Baylor team.  Kyle Wiltjer is one of the best scorer’s in the nation, but will his 11th-seeded Bulldogs make it out of the first round?  Ray closed out things with the star point guard, Angel Rodriguez, for #3 seed Miami.

Clayton Crowe

3) Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
14) Anthony Gill, Virginia
19) Justin Jackson, North Carolina
30) London Perrantes, Virginia
35) Ryan Anderson, Arizona
46) Alex Poythress, Kentucky
51) Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame
62) Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky

Chalk Score: 415.8 (4th)

Crowe may have gotten a steal at pick #3, taking one of the nation’s leading scorers in Buddy Hield, who stars on a very good Oklahoma team.  In the event of an Oklahoma run to the title game, Hield could very easily score 150 points in this tournament himself.  Additionally, Crowe will be relying on a pair of supporting characters on Virginia in Gill and Perrantes, as well as a pair of Kentucky starters in Poythress and Briscoe.  Justin Jackson of UNC is a solid pick, a talented scorer on an excellent #1 seed.  Overall, a very safe roster here that should send several guys into the second weekend.  The question will be, can they score enough for Crowe to be a contender?

Aran Smith

4) Jamal Murray, Kentucky
13) Frank Mason, Kansas
20) Joel Berry, North Carolina
29) Chris Boucher, Oregon
36) Jakob Poeltl, Utah
45) Ben Bentil, Providence
52) Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall
61) Edmond Sumner, Xavier

Chalk Score: 431.6 (2nd)

Our defending champ picked a trio of guards from blue blood programs to build his team around.  Mason and Berry aren’t the star of their respective teams, but both consistently score around 12 a game and should be around in this tournament a while.  Murray is a rising star who could go off in this tournament; the only problem is, only one of Murray and Berry can survive past the Sweet Sixteen.  Additionally, Smith took a pair of talented Pac 12 bigs in Boucher and Poeltl, and a pair of talented guys on lower-seeded sleepers in Bentil and Whitehead.  Looks like another solid roster for Smith barring an early Kentucky or Kansas upset.

Jon Wasserman

5) Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
12) Grayson Allen, Duke
21) Sheldon McClellan, Miami
28) Melo Trimble, Maryland
37) Tyrone Wallace, California (out for tournament)
44) Jaylen Brown, California
53) Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
60) Kris Jenkins, Villanova

Chalk Score: 416.4 (3rd)

Wasserman opened things up by taking likely All-American Malcolm Brogdon, leading scorer on #1 seeded Virginia.  His next 6 picks were risky, taking guys who, while great scorers, may not make it past the first weekend.  Unfortunately for Wasserman and for the California Golden Bears, Tyrone Wallace broke his hand Wednesday morning and will miss the tournament.  But this team has some excellent scorers in Allen, Uthoff, Trimble, and Brown, each of whom could carry their team to a surprise Elite Eight or Final Four run.  Wasserman closed things out with a great pick, taking the talented Kris Jenkins on #2 seed Villanova.

Michael Visenberg

6) Brice Johnson, North Carolina
11) Devonte Graham, Kansas
22) Josh Hart, Villanova
27) Marcus Paige, North Carolina
38) Tyler Dorsey, Oregon
43) Georges Niang, Iowa St.
54) Jaysean Paige, West Virginia
59) Troy Williams, Indiana

Chalk Score: 500.7 (1st)

If this tournament goes without a single upset, Visenberg should run away with this one.  His chalk score is amazing thanks to his first five picks coming from #1 or #2 seeds.  A North Carolina run would be especially beneficial as Visenberg has arguably their two most important players.  Additionally, he has the young, on-fire guards for Oregon and Kansas in Dorsey and Graham, as well as leading scorer for a good Villanova team in Josh Hart.  Jaysean Paige was an absolute steal in the 7th round, the leading scorer for a West Virginia team that some, including myself, have going to the Final Four.

Jacob Stallard

7) Wayne Selden, Kansas
10) Bryn Forbes, Michigan State
23) Jordan Woodard, Oklahoma
26) Devin Williams, West Virginia
39) AJ Hammons, Purdue
42) Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
55) Gabe York, Arizona
58) Elgin Cook, Oregon

Chalk Score: 394.4 (5th)

For my own team, I went with experience, taking 5 seniors and 3 juniors on my team.  Selden, Forbes, and Woodard are complementary scorers on great teams projected by many to go deep.  Hammons, Ferrell, and York are all senior stars on solid teams that could go further than their seed suggests.  And Cook is a late value pick, the second-leading scorer on #1 seed Oregon.

 Evan Tomes

8) Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
9) Brandon Ingram, Duke
24) Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
25) Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
40) Diamond Stone, Maryland
41) Eron Harris, Michigan State
56) Daniel Hamilton, Connecticut
57) Deyonta Davis, Michigan State

Chalk Score: 316.6 (8th)

Tomes is certainly banking on a lot of top teams falling in this tournament.  His chalk score ranks in last thanks to his complete lack of #1 seed players on his team.  Regardless, Ulis, Ingram, and Stone are great, young talents who could be peaking at the right time and ready to pull off some upsets in this tournament.  Bluiett and Arcidiacono are consistent veteran scorers on a pair of Big East squads, each holding a #2 seed.  Harris and Davis aren’t huge scorers, but with a deep Michigan State run, they should score plenty.  And Hamilton is an interesting selection, a talented scorer on a team that could very easily lose in the first round before they even face Kansas, the best team in the country.  Could be a tough battle for Tomes, but if the chips fall right, and chaos reigns supreme, maybe he’ll come out on top.



  1. Big smooth, most underrated

     Big smooth, most underrated player in tournament.  Jon, too bad about Ty Wallace…that’s what you get when you double down on Cal…no offense.

  2. Big smooth, most underrated

     Big smooth, most underrated player in tournament.  Jon, too bad about Ty Wallace…that’s what you get when you double down on Cal…no offense.

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