Sunday, March 14, 2010

NCAA Tourney Breakdown

I’ll say it right up front--I think the committee did a horrible job with these brackets. On Saturday, I wrote down my Final 4 teams, not knowing who was going to be set up where. They were Kansas, Ohio State, Georgetown and Kentucky. Now, three of those teams are all in the same bracket (the Midwest). Temple and Wisconsin were two of my dark horses. They’re set up to play each other in the second round. St. Mary ‘s and Richmond were two of my Cinderella possibilities. They meet in the first round. Meanwhile, two of the brackets—West and South—are really weak, especially the West.

Final 4 candidates by region:
--Midwest: Kansas, Georgetown, Ohio State
--West: Syracuse. Kansas State is the #2 seed—they’re not Final 4 material. Neither is the #3 seed Pitt.
--South: Duke, Baylor, Notre Dame (This may be the region a surprise Final 4 team comes from. I’m not sold on #2 seed Villanova.
--East: Kentucky, Wisconsin, West Virginia

My upset specials:
First Round: UNI over UNLV; Murray St. over Vanderbilt; Louisville over Cal; St. Mary’s over Richmond; Missouri over Clemson

Who plays the role of Cinderella?
Murray State—I pick them to advance to the Sweet 16.
St. Mary’s—I pick them to advance to the Sweet 16 also.
Baylor—I pick them to advance to the Elite 8.

Bracket Busters:
The hardest region to pick is the South. I think it’s wide open with Baylor, Notre Dame, Richmond, St. Mary’s, and Villanova all as Elite 8 candidates.
This is one of those regions that will separate the contenders from the pretenders in office pools. I think the winner of Baylor and Notre Dame meets Duke
in the Elite 8. The Richmond/St. Mary’s contest is the hardest game of the entire first round for me to pick. I think the winner upsets Villanova in the Second round.

Who’s my Final 4?
If you want to win your pool, you have to take some risks. Logic would tell me to pick Kansas over Kentucky, with Syracuse and Duke rounding out the Final 4. But picking all the #1 seeds is just flat-out boring. I LOVE this Ohio State team—and I’m not a Big 10 fan. They remind me so much of the Kansas team led by Danny Manning back in 1988. They have that “it” factor and the nations best player in Evan Turner. I choose the Buckeyes to cut down the nets in a Championship match up against Duke. Duke has great guard play, and plenty of size and depth in the frontcourt. My other Final 4 picks are Syracuse in the West and West Virginia in the East.

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