WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – With March Madness set to kick off Tuesday night, Somers residents were talking about their bracket picks and potential sleepers throughout the day.
Gio Tideto, 14, has Syracuse winning the tournament in one bracket, and Kansas in another. He said he believes Kansas has the best chance of making it to the end, calling them the most well rounded team in the tourney.
A strong front court and the superstar power of Andrew Wiggins, who is being talked about as a potential No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, could be enough to lift them to victory, he said.
“I think it’s one of the most interesting times for basketball,” Tideto said of March Madness.
The Somers Middle School student said he enjoys watching college basketball more than the NBA, where he said defensive play and intensity from the players, or the crowds, are all lacking.
Tideto’s friend Logun D’Anna said he doesn’t follow college basketball as closely, but he thinks New Mexico has a good chance.
Greg Boland of South Salem said his heart is with Texas, which is playing Arizona State, but that it’s hard to go against Florida, which will play the winner of Albany and Mount Saint Mary’s.
There are eight teams playing Tuesday and Wednesday to qualify for the main field of 64. In addition to the Albany and Mount St. Mary's game at 6:40 p.m., North Carolina State takes on Xavier at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday. Cal Poly will take on Texas Southern at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, followed by Iowa and Tennessee at 9:10 p.m.
The full slate of second round games start Thursday and Friday. The third round will take place Saturday and Sunday, and then the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games will be March 27 through March 30.
Stu Bogdanoff said he likes Syracuse, but said the beauty of March Madness is that you never know who will win. Asked if he thinks his team has a shot, he said “It depends on how they play. They started out strong, but really tailed off towards the end of the season.”
Bogdanoff said there are a lot of really interesting matchups in each region, which he looks forward to watching. He is also interested to see who will come out of nowhere and upset a powerhouse team.
Boland said he thinks Clayton, which plays Louisiana-LaFeyette, has a chance to surprise some people and make some noise in the tourney.