I say this is a preliminary look, even though I'm pretty sure it will be the only look (aside from some tortured Purdue related post when the inevitably lose to Baylor). So let's cut to the chase.
North Carolina. I really think Tennessee, overall, is the best team in this bracket, but how can you say no to a North Carolina team that gets to play all of its games, essentially, at home, until they reach the Final Four? Perhaps they were given a tough draw because of the home court thing. No reason to punish the Vols, however.The Sleeper:
St. Joe's. Let's everyone remember for a second that the Atlantic 10 absolutely dominated in the non-conference part of the schedule, and then remind ourselves of who, exactly, they are playing. The door seems open to a run to at least the Sweet 16.The Upset:
Speaking of our sleeper. How about St. Joe's nipping Louisville in the second round? Louisville seems to be everyone's favorite to be the one that knocks off Tennessee, but frankly, I don't see them getting the chance. St. Joe's is playing well right now, and the A-10 did well against their non-conference opponents, and, in fact, Dayton, an A-10 team beat Louisville early this season. St. Joe's can certainly compete.
Wisconsin. Usually I worry about Wisconsin, but this year, they are healthy and have proven their mettle in tournament play. They don't really have the bad losses that they always seem to, and this year, as opposed to last year, they have Brian Butch and two completely operational elbows. A veteran team in a messed up bracket could make some noise.The Sleeper:
Villanova. As much as I hate doing it, I have two double digit seeded teams as sleepers. But Villanova is less sleepery than St. Joe's since they played on national TV in the Big East tournament. How exciting though for Philadelphia, putting two teams in the Sweet 16? (Not three, Temple isn't going to make it)The Upset:
I'm not going to wimp out and go with Villanova for this one. No, I'm going to say this will be Davidson winning over Gonzaga. Davidson has played a tough schedule this year and are primed for a tough opponent. Whenever Gonzaga is a favorite, they seem to consistently come out flat.
Well, for most, people would call my "favorite" a "sleeper", but I disagree. Pitt suffered through the middle of the season with some injuries to important players like Levance Fields, who is now back. They were the best team in the Big East tournament, and I suspect they will be the same in the South bracket as well. Besides, Bob Knight had them in the Final Four as well.The Sleeper:
Stanford. Because they are on the west coast, and their games are on Fox Sports Net, nobody seems to realize how good the Pac-10 is. Stanford is the most under the radar of all these teams and do it with size, as well as athleticism. Those elements will help the team make a run past some inferior opponents. I see them nipping Texas as well.The Upset:
Kentucky over Marquette. Marquette is streaky. Kentucky is streaky. Let's see if we can't line those streaks up and get Kentucky to top Marquette. I think it can be done.
Duke. A veteran Dule team that needs to make up for a bad loss last year. Yeah, I think this is a squad that will make a run. Nobody is going to be happy about a possibility of Duke and UNC in the Final Four, but it seems inevitable. And Duke just has such an easy path to the Final Four.The Sleeper:
Connecticut. I think UCONN is the only real test that Duke could see in the West, which is just a funny thing to say. UCONN is a solid team that was unfortunate to play Pitt in the Big East tournament. Additionally, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is ailing for UCLA, ad that could definitely help the Huskies in the Sweet 16.The Upset:
Baylor over Purdue. Purdue is very young. They have three more years. I'm going to keep telling myself as I watch them hit the wall.
North Carolina plays the same kind of game as Wisconsin, but a lot better. Expect the Heels to win.
I'm pretty sure that Duke will lose after facing a team that has some athletecism, and Pitt has that.
So, I've got Pitt and North Carolina in the finals, and I can't help but give it to North Carolina. (In other news, Alabama State is in the NIT!)
Labels: College Basketball, NCAA Basketball