Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tournament Picks

Upsets in red

Round One

East Region:

North Carolina over Mt. St. Mary's
Indiana over Arkansas
Notre Dame over George Mason
Wazzu over Winthrop
St. Joe's over Oklahoma
Louisville over Boise State
Butler over South Alabama
Tennessee over America

Midwest Region

Kansas over Portland State
UNLV over Kent State
Clemson over Villanova
Vandy over Sienna
U$C over Kansas State
Wisconsin over Fullteron
Davidson over Gonzaga
Georgetown over Maryland-Baltimore County

I know that Davidson is a popular upset, and that almost makes me want to pick Gonzaga, just because there's always a "lock" upset that doesn't come through, but Davidson is pretty good. They almost beat UCLA.

South Region

Memphis over UTA
Oregon over Mississippi State
State over Temple
Pitt over Oral Roberts
Kentucky over Marquette
Stanford over Cornell
St. Mary's over Miami
Texas over Austin Peay

West Region

UCLA over Miss. Valley State
BYU over Texas A&M
Drake over Western Kentucky
Purdue over Baylor
Xavier over Georgia
Arizona over West Virginia
Duke over Belmont

Round Two

East Region

UNC over Indiana
Wazzu over Notre Dame
Louisville over St. Joe's
Tennessee over Butler

No surprises here. The WSU-ND game should be good. The last time Notre Dame was a five seed, they made it to the sweet sixteen, but Tony Bennet isn't as dumb as Bill Self, so I think the Cougs will pull it out.

Midwest Region

Kansas over UNLV
Clemson over Vandy
U$C over Wiscy
Davidson over Georgetown

This bracket starts to get torn up. I like the athleticism of the women of troy, and if they can stay out of foul trouble, they'll handle Wisconsin. Davidson becomes my first major upset of the tournament.

South Region

Memphis over Oregon
MSU over Pitt
Stanford over Kentucky
Texas over St. Mary's

Again, no real surprises, other than perhaps MSU, but I'll give Izzo the benefit of the doubt come tourney time, especially with a senior point guard.

West Region

Drake over UConn
Purdue over Xavier
Arizona over Duke

I love Arizona's talent if everyone is healthy. I think Jordan Hill can do some damage against an undersized middle. I look at Xavier and I still see the team that lost to ASU. I haven't seen Drake or UConn, but everyone's on Drake's jock, so why not?

Sweet 16

East Region

UNC over Wazzu
Tennessee over Louisville

Nothing to see here.

Midwest Region

KU over Clemson
U$C over Davidson

Troy gets a break after Davidson's upset of Georgetown.

South Region

Michigan State over Memphis
Texas over Stanford

Interior defense and rebounding are MSU staples, and Memphis will be doing a lot of "kicking out" when their drives end up in the trees. They start missing threes, go one and done, and they won't help themselves at the free throw line. In the other matchup, I like Stanford a lot, but I think Darren Collison exposed Mitch Johnson's defense. DJ Augustin will get to the middle and create havoc, and if he can kick it out to open Damion James, Stanford is in for a long night, especially in what will be a home game for Texas.

West Region

UCLA over Drake
Arizona over Purdue

Like U$C, Arizona gets a big of a break by missing Xavier. I really don't like Arizona. I especially don't like Arizona fans. But I think they have the type of talent that can take them on a run.

Elite Eight

East Region

Tennessee over North Carolina

A running, pressing, shooting team, not unlike Clemson who coincidentally gave UNC a lot of problems in their three matchups this year. The difference is that Tennessee does all those things better than Clemson. The Vols move on to San Antonio.

Midwest Region

Kansas over U$C

In a battle of two teams that I hate, it's unfortunate that both can't lose. But Kansas' depth will be too much for the latex-thin Trojans.

South Region

Texas over Michigan State

Texas has too much, and playing in Houston, they'll ride the home court to San Antonio.

West Region

UCLA over Arizona

Scary game for UCLA, and I'm really tempted to pick against them here. The Cats scare me almost more than any team in this bracket because of the location of the game. But the Bruins have already beat Arizona in Tucson, and things won't get any easier for the Cats in Phoenix. The streak goes to eight.

Final Four

Tennessee over Kansas

Again, I can't think of two coaches I'd like to see lose more than these two. But unfortunately, the rules say someone has to win. Depth and balance should do the trick for Kansas. But as much I hate lying scumbag Bruce Pearl, he's a better coach than Bill Self. Self will somehow find a way to lose.

UCLA over Texas

Darren Collison is healthy. He wasn't back in December. And he's on a mission. Since that Texas game, only his second game back, after missing the first six, he's hit 53% of his three pointers. He will not let UCLA lose.

Championship Game

UCLA over Tennessee.

The Bruins ability to control the tempo will frustrate Tennessee, and their relentless ball pressure on the defensive end will lead to some easy baskets for the Bruins. It will be an interesting contrast in styles, but Kevin Love is going to be too much for Tennessee inside, and that will be the difference.

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