Monday, March 12, 2012

Talk about the bracket

First off, congratulations, Minnesota, on your bid to the NIT! Good luck against La Salle.

Now, the important thing is... The NCAA Brackets. This year was odd. The NCAA selection committee was much more transparent win their selection process, and the various pundits seemed to have similar teams in the tournament across the board. And then, the brackets came out, and, well... wtf. Iona was the big surprise, making the dance, of course, but then there were others, like Texas, BYU, Memphis as an 8, Harvard as a 12. Colorado as an 11. I mean, you pit Harvard and Colorado against each other, Harvard wins 7/10.  Now, the individual brackets.

SOUTH
Favorite: Kentucky. Obviously as the 1 seed, I like the Wildcats. I think that this is the bracket that smart people will out think themselves and pick a lot of upsets early (South Dakota State vs Baylor, most notably) but the first round, at least, will by and large be chalk. That being said, A lot of the concern with this bracket is that higher seeds AREN'T as strong as their reputation suggests, and could be bumped early. Thus, Kentucky, the only legitimately very strong team in the South will move on, somewhat easily.

Sleeper: UNLV. Baylor and Duke have scuffled a bit lately. UNLV will be a feisty opponent for these teams. I could see them reaching the Elite 8.

Biggest first round upset: Honestly, the biggest upset I see after a quick look at the bracket is Xavier over Notre Dame.

WEST
Favorite: Memphis? This is a nutso bracket. Poorly seeded, strong upset possibilities, and a team that has been blowing away conference opponents in a multi-bid conference by double digits as an 8 seed. So, yes. If there is a shot for an 8 seed to make a deep run, it's certainly Memphis. I can't really get behind anyone else.

Sleeper: Florida. I like Florida, because they have star players. I could see the Gators making a deep run like Memphis, but they simply aren't as good as the Tigers. Another team I could see reaching the Elite 8 by upsetting a 2 seed.

Biggest first round upset: Regardless of what happens, look for big things from Long Beach State. I have them in the Sweet 16, though the first round should behave fairly well.

EAST
Favorite: Ohio State. Playing like a team on a mission right now. I really like OSU if they can have a weekend to get healthy against inferior opponents, I really like their chances next week.

Sleeper: Um... Wisconsin? Honestly, they are the lowest seeded team I have in the Sweet 16 this year from the east. Strong seeding here.

Biggest first round upset: Harvard over Vanderbilt. Harvard was seeded very low. Vanderbilt NEVER wins in the first round. Upset made in heaven.

MIDWEST
Favorite: North Carolina. Just an FYI, the Heels lost today because they weren't playing at full strength. They are really good. My pick for the winner of the whole thing.

Sleeper: Temple. By default. I don't think they are that good, but I have them playing Ohio in round 2.The right side of the bracket is much easier to figure for me.

Biggest first round upset: Michigan really struggles against size and away from Crisler Arena. This game will feature both things, big dudes and an arena in not Michigan. First round upsets will abound, but it will sort itself out in the second round, unlike certain other brackets I know.

Enjoy the Dance, everyone!

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