Every year during March Madness there are some great matchups. There are a couple of times during the tournament though where we get some elite matchups, the matchups that everyone wants to see.

Here are the five matchups we would all love to see during the NCAA Tournament.

5. Dayton vs. San Diego State

Dayton and San Diego State have been the two best mid-major teams all year. Both only lost two games all season. San Diego State has lost each of their games by three points, while both of Dayton’s losses came in overtime to Kansas and Colorado.

What would make this matchup so intriguing is the contrast of styles. Dayton is an excellent offensive team with elite scorers like Obi Toppin and Jalen Crutcher. San Diego State is one of the best defensive teams in the country only giving up 59.8 points a game. Something would have to give.

Dayton is likely to be a No. 1 seed and San Diego State is likely to be a No. 2. The Flyers have been to the Final Four just once, back in 1967. The Aztecs have never been past the Sweet Sixteen. A possible Elite Eight matchup between these two teams or even a Final Four matchup would be captivating between two programs we rarely see in the national spotlight.

4. Florida State vs. Gonzaga

Florida State and Gonzaga have met in the Sweet Sixteen in the previous two tournaments with each team beating the other. Florida State upset Gonzaga by 15 when they were a No. 9 seed back in 2018. Last year, the Bulldogs returned the favor as a No. 1 seed defeating the Seminoles by 14. Now with Gonzaga and Florida State both looking like they’re going to be very high seeds it has all the makings for a possible great matchup for the third year in a row.

 

3. Louisville vs. Kentucky

After UNC-Duke, Kentucky-Louisville is arguably the next best rivalry in college basketball. The people in Kentucky love college basketball and they love following the Cardinals and Wildcats. They have played every year, but three times since 1983. The Bluegrass rivalry is always one of the best games on the college basketball schedule. These teams are seemingly always good and always have championship-caliber teams.

Louisville has been a dominant force in the ACC all year while Kentucky has separated themselves from the other teams in the SEC. An in-state rivalry is already intense, combine that with the passion that comes with March basketball and this would be one of the best games of the tournament.

2. Baylor vs. Kansas

These might be the two best teams in the country. Baylor and Kansas have already played twice this year and both teams won in the other’s building. Kansas has only lost three games this season, Baylor has lost four. The Jayhawks dropped their season opener against Duke, a road game at Villanova by one, and the home game to Baylor. The Bears fell early in the year to Washington at a neutral site, the home game to Kansas, and road games to TCU and West Virginia.

There’s a possibility they play four times this season if they meet up in the BIG 12 Championship Game and the NCAA Tournament. In the first meeting, Baylor pulled away in the second half to get the win on the road. The second game was extremely competitive and came down to the wire. Baylor had a chance to send the game to overtime, but missed the potential game-tying 3-pointer, falling 64-61.

If that second game was any indication for what’s in store to come sign me up for Baylor-Kansas Round 3 and possibly even a fourth.

1. Maryland vs. Duke

One of the ACC’s best rivalries back in the 1990s through the early 2000s, Maryland and Duke was must-see TV. When Maryland left the ACC for the Big Ten in 2012 it did not sit well with Duke head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K refused to play Maryland in the nonconference meaning the only way the teams could ever face would be if they played in the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge or met in the NCAA Tournament.

Since the Terps left in 2012, they have yet to play each other. Now, with both teams looking like they’ll be either No. 2 or 3 seeds, Maryland and Duke have a chance to face each other in possibly an Elite Eight, a Final Four, or even the National Championship.

Could you imagine, two programs that were once bitter conference rivals, finally playing each other for the first time in eight years in a game of that magnitude?

Yeah, that’s a matchup I think all of us would love to see.

 

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