What makes March Madness so special? And for players currently in the NBA, is it something you guys will go out of your way to watch?

As a player I do get to watch some games, so that's the beauty of it because games are usually during the day.

It can be on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday as the tournament goes on, so we definitely get some time to cheer on our alma maters and get some bragging rights in those categories.

To build a plate in it that realm of March Madness is hard to explain, you've got to be in it to understand it.

But the bottom line is, you've got to win, or you go home.

Everything is on the line, the bright lights, unbelievable arenas.

You're playing in fast arenas now and your fans are travelling well, which just creates an unbelievable atmosphere.

It's a once in a lifetime type of feeling for these guys participating in March Madness.

What are your thoughts on Florida's chances in the dance, especially after making a run to the SEC tournament final?

I like Florida, we had a rough championship game, our big fella Micah Handlogten got hurt in the first couple minutes of the game which didn't help as a seven-footer.

I think he had a lower leg fracture, so it was tough, and you could see it demoralized the team a blow like that.

It affected the other players; they didn't particularly shoot the ball well which is something Florida prides itself on.

That ability to be a paint presence, rebounding and knocking down threes.

Coach Golden has been excellent at implementing that, but I love their chances.

I think they're in a tough bracket in the South bracket, you've got Houston who have been playing unbelievable ball.

There's Duke and Kentucky in there as well, so it's loaded with good teams and Florida could potentially see Marquette in the second round.

It gets a little muggy, but I'm always rooting for my Gators. I believe our guard play is unbelievable, so we've got to push forward.

I know it'll be tough without our big fellow because he's huge in the paint, but the team have to find a way without him.  

One of the top prospects entering March Madness is Zach Edey for Purdue, standing at a similar height to Victor Wembanyama. What have you seen of Edey and how do you think he will perform in the NBA?

I've always been a fan of Purdue since I was recruited in high school by Matt Painter.

I love what he stands for and just the products he produces on the floor and Zach Edey is one of them.

If I'm not mistaken, we share the same agency, so that's pretty cool to be associated with a special talent.

To be seven foot four, it's already a difference maker, there's nothing you can do against him on the floor.

He's dominant, he's national player of the year and in the conversation every year for a reason.

He could have got drafted last year, but he held back and now he's dominated college again.

He's constantly proving himself, probably against a lot of naysayers who don't believe he can withstand that next step.

But for me, I think he has a really good chance of making an impact in the league.

Obviously, he has to focus on Purdue right now and I love their chances of going deep this year, I actually have them in the final four.

Is UConn the best team in the field this year? Is it their tournament to lose?

Yeah, it's definitely their tournament to lose.

Dan Hurley has these guys locked in on the constant, I've always been a fan of how he coaches and develops players.

Jordan Hawkins would be one example of how he developed and transitioned into the league as a young rookie.

The impact he's having in the league is a product of Coach Hurley.

They're 31-3 this year, they're so dominant on all levels.

I don't want to say their region is weak, but it is a little lighter than the rest of them, so it's up to them to make a statement and I do think it’s there's to lose.

They may face a tough Auburn team down the stretch and obviously our state on the other side, but if they can get through it then it’s there's to lose.

They have the talent, the guard play and you're the chance until you're beaten.

That's the module of it, now they have to deliver as number one seed.

Which conference looks the strongest this season?

Honestly, I think the SEC, and I know I'm a little biased in saying that, but I think the SEC.

I think Tennessee is going to have a nice opportunity to make a run, Alabama is another team I fancy to go on a run.

Florida is obviously my go to as part of my big bias and then you've got Kentucky who are still making noise with their young group.

The sleeper for me is probably Auburn, the SEC champions, they'll have a tough run facing UConn, but even before that there's San Diego State.

It gets tough but I think a lot of SEC teams will make some noise and move onto the second round. 

Which conference is the most overrated heading into the tournament?

For whatever reason, I always think about the ACC.

I think the tournament gets scary for the ACC when this time of year comes around.

I think Duke have been playing really good basketball throughout the year, but I think they're still a young team.

They could potentially come up against a crazy Wisconsin team who can shoot lights out in the second round, so that can get a little scary.

Obviously, North Carolina has been dominant, Bacot has been awesome and UNC Legend for sure.

They may have their hands full too, but I feel like out of all the ACC teams I think North Carolina has the best chance, but it'll get scary for them.

Which teams look the best heading into the tournament?

Obviously, UConn, you've got to respect that team and what they do on a regular basis.

I think watching Auburn, it was a really dominant performance from what I saw against Florida.

The way Coach Pearl has these guys playing is electrifying.

Wisconsin too, I think they've surprised a lot of people when they beat Purdue, so I think you've got to pay attention to results like that.

It is huge for teams playing their best basketball coming into tournaments like this.

Hopefully for Purdue it doesn't knock them off their high horse too much, but I think Wisconsin is the team to watch.

They've had some rough years in recent times, but they've always been a scary team to come up against and you know these guys can play.

They can shoot the ball, they defend well and they're scrappy, so lookout for Wisconsin.

There's always a handful of double digit seeds that make it to the second weekend. Are there any high-seeded teams you think can pull off a Cinderella run this year?

There's always a couple when it comes to March Madness.

I like the look of New Mexico; I like their chances against Clemson in the first round which is crazy to say as I know Clemson have been playing really well.

One of the sleepers I think, and I know I might make some people upset with this because they go to Arizona, but I think Long Beach State.

Just hearing the story of their coach and how they rallied behind him to win the tournament and now they get a NCAA bid for the first time in what 12 years?

That's a crazy story, firing their coach but him still being with them, pulling through and competing at a high level.

Obviously, Arizona is dominant, and Caleb Love is my guy, an unbelievable player, but I always love a Cinderella story and that could be the one this year.

It would be one I'd love to see, but whether it happens or not, I don't know.

Another one is Grand Canyon, they could be a sleeper.

I'm obviously in Phoenix now, so we get the rally and the noise around the city, but to see what they did in the tournament and how they competed as a 12 seed is pretty good.

They've been playing good hoops all year round, obviously they're up against a good St. Mary's team first round and could see Alabama in the second.

But that could be another Cinderella story with a double digit involved.

Which number one seed is most likely to lose first?

It's a tough one, from looking at the brackets I think a lot of them will make it to the Sweet 16 round.

But I think it'll be North Carolina who loses first because they could face Alabama and that will be a tough game with how scrappy they are.

There's Michigan State in the second round potentially as well, they don't mess around, they'll have guys locked in and they'll make it a really physical game. 

Who do you like coming out of the East?

It's going to be very close; I think in the Sweet 16 I love a potential Illinois versus UConn matchup.

Illinois is another sleeper I love, and I obviously have UConn coming out of that bracket.

Who do you like coming out of the South?

I want to back my Gators, but it is one that gets tough.

Shaka Smart at Marquette is really going to hit home for me because Shaka recruited me at Florida.

And then he left for VCU before I got there, obviously he's had a great career to this point.

That will be a tough one to see who I route for because I love Shaka, how he coaches, what he stands for and what he's done for that Marquette program.

The South bracket is competitive, Sampson has his team playing well, Jon Scheyer is my guy, Wisconsin's been dominant, Kentucky is young and hungry.

The South is so tough to call, I'm obviously biased towards my Gators, but if I'm being honest and based on my picks, I have Marquette and Houston in the sweet 16 with Marquette coming out of there.

Who do you like coming out of the West?

The West gets tricky too, but it's not as bad as the South.

I think I like Alabama versus Arizona in the Sweet 16 and that's going to be high level basketball.

But I'll go with my boy Caleb Love in Arizona coming out of the West.

Although it would be interesting to see how Arizona versus North Carolina would play out, that would be a game I would love to see.

Who do you like coming out of the Midwest?

This one is similar to the South, it's very hard to pick from. Dalton Knecht has been hooping at Tennessee and he's player of the year if I'm not mistaken.

I still love Purdue, I still have them, but I have Kansas sitting there too.

I'm going to go with Texas and Purdue for Sweet 16 with Purdue coming out of there, I just think it'll be difficult for anyone to stop Zach Edey.

Your matchups in the final four would be UConn versus Arizona and Marquette versus Purdue, who are you taking from those hypothetical matchups?

I'd have UConn over Arizona, it's a tough one but I think Coach Hurley with this set of talented players is hard to look past.

Coach Hurley challenges these guys as well which is what I love about him, he's always wanting more.

I've got Purdue over Marquette, so I've got a UConn versus Purdue final.

Honestly, I think UConn has got this tournament in the bag, Tristian Newton is locked in, he's a very dominant guard and Spencer shoots the lights out of the ball.

I think they run it back because Coach Hurley is hungry, you can see it in his energy, so I think UConn runs it back and takes the win.

Bet on March Madness at Betway 

Find season-long college basketball odds on Betway. You’ll find all the latest spreads, totals, money lines, and parlays. Missed tip-off? No problem, Betway also offers live betting. All your NCAAB betting needs are covered in our online sportsbook.

Visit Betway’s CBB picks page for picks and predictions throughout the season.