Ides of March can only mean one thing…BRACKET TIME!!!

15 03 2010

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IT HAS BEGUN!!!  *well on Wednesday it will

Now I haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn recently, but nonetheless I can GUARANTEE that this bracket breakdown is 100% correct.  That’s right I’m like Biff from Back to the Future II, I know things.  In the end you’ll just have to believe me.

Time to breakdown the brackets by region.  We’ll start with the top seeds region, Midwest.

Midwest:  Like most Kansas looks really good.

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1. KANSAS vs. 16. LEHIGH

This one’s simple, KU is way to strong of a veteran group.  Bill Self’s bunch are solid in the backcourt and front court.  Sherron Collins is easily one of the best floor leaders in the country and don’t downgrade the sophomore Tyshawn Taylor, he’s a quick kid.  Lehigh’s offense either goes in side to Zahir Carrington or the youngster C.J. McCollum.  The freshman guard, CJ’s 6’3″/170lbs, is a good scoring threat.    KU 87  Lehigh 59

8. UNLV vs 9. NORTHERN IOWA

The Running Rebels face the toughest defense team they’ve played all year.  Northern Iowa are strong on the inside with big ol’ 7 footer Jordan Eglseder and Missouri Valley Conference player of the year Adam Koch.  The depth on Lon Kruger’s UNLV squad is impressive and its hard not to like Lon to push at least one win out of tourney.  In the end though tough defense and UNI’s recent 10-2 run lean me on the Panthers side.  UNI 63 UNLV 58

5. MICHIGAN STATE vs 12. NEW MEXICO STATE

The game will come down to whether The Aggies can speed up the tempo.   Highly unlikely that Tom Izzo would allow anything like that to happen.  This is not the best 12 seed classic upset pick!!!  Mich. St. Kalin Lucas will have a hard time getting this bunch much past the opening round though.  Also watch out the Green and White are banged up so any major falls and they could be in serious trouble.  Mich St. 75  New Mexico St. 67

4. MARYLAND vs 13. HOUSTON

This is a two man show: Greivis Vasquez vs Aubrey Coleman.  The South American guard is Maryland best player and everything roles around his streak scoring.  Overall he’s a more equipped talent than the nation’s leading scorer.  If Aubrey goes off though, well that’s the risk for the Terps.  Also Tom Penders taking another Texas school to the post season, shocker there.  UH is a great story for there conference USA tourney stunner, but Maryland is thinking sweet 16 or even elite 8.  Maryland 93 Houston 75

6. TENNESSEE vs 11. SAN DIEGO STATE

The Vols have the most fashion foward coach in Bruce Pearl.   https://i2.wp.com/tnjn.com/content/storyimage/2007/01/27/Bruce1.box.jpg They also have a solid veteran team that when they are on they’ve beaten the best (Both #1 seeds Kansas and Kentucky).  The issue they also lose to crap teams like Vanderbilt and the San Diego St front court easily wins the match-up.  Center Brian Williams has to be perfect for UT and also the rest of the squad has to hit there threes.  Enjoy watching freshman Kawhi Leonard and his front court buddy, Malcolm Thomas.  This one will be an interesting match-up and like most I just can’t trust the Vols not to screw this up.  San Diego St. 74  UT 68

3. GEORGETOWN vs   14. OHIO

Three McDonald’s All-Americans are starting for the Hoyas and they are great when they decide to show up.  Don’t worry though, even Ohio’s superb guards can’t pull off the miracle.   Get used to seeing 6’11 center Greg Monroe, he’ll make some NBA team love there late first round pick.  Hoyas 79  Ohio 56

7. OKLAHOMA STATE vs 10. GEORGIA TECH

Everyone seems to love the Cowboys James Anderson and picking the Big 12 to beat the down trodden ACC squad.  Do people realize the Yellow Jackets are coach well by Paul Hewitt and led by two young talents.  Frosh Derrick Favors is the really talked about player but don’t be surprised to be impressed by Iman Shumpert and Glen Rice Jr. (yeah he’s that Glen Rice’s kid).  Overall I can’t see Georgia Tech not moving on, they have a solid unit that was strong enough to beat Duke.  GT 86 Okla St. 79

2. OHIO STATE vs  15. UC SANTA BARBARA

Love the name, The Gauchos, but this a no-brainer.  I’ll take the best player in the country, Evan Turner.   Should be a nice sweet 16 matchup against the Hoyas!  Ohio St. 76  UC Santa Barbara 57

Ok now for who’s going to the final four:

Give Me 1. KANSAS over 9. NORTHERN IOWA

KU has the size to nullify UNI’s size and this one shouldn’t be to much of a test.  KU 86 UNI 54

4. MARYLAND over 5. MICHIGAN STATE

Michigan State’s injuries will show up in this game.  Great game but Maryland are moving on.  Maryland 74 Mich St. 65

3. GEORGETOWN dominate 11. SAN DIEGO STATE

The Hoya’s are way to strong to allow the Aztecs to shock them.  Hoyas 81  San Diego St. 68

2. OHIO STATE narrowly escape 10. GEORGIA TECH

This one will go to the wire and may even go into OVERTIME!!  I like the chance to see two lottery picks in Evan Turner and Derrick Favors to play.  Thad Matta’s bunch are more experienced and they’ll handle the pressure better.

Ohio St 85  GT 81 (OT)

So who is sweeter?

1. KANSAS over 4. MARYLAND

Big Cole  Aldrich should showcase his interior talents on the boards and score a bit too.  KU 67  Maryland 62

3. GEORGETOWN tough it out over 2. OHIO STATE

Telling you Monroe is a legit big and he’ll be the big key factor in pushing the Hoyas past Big Red.

1. KANSAS keeps it close but wins in the end over 3. GEORGETOWN

KU is the strongest team and I don’t see the Hoya’s or anyone on there side of the bracket being able to solve them.

Heading over to the West Side –

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1. SYRACUSE vs 16. VERMONT

The Orangemen are a solid team, but the quad injury to Arinze Onuaku has everyone on edge about how far Syracuse can really go.  The big man is the heart of the interior and his rebounding allows Wes Johnson to be a stud.  Now this match-up is very intriguing for the fact that the last time Vermont played in the tourney they upset the Orangemen.  It was 2005 and Vermont were the 13th seed to Syracuse’s 4th seed.   Different teams, but still something interesting to see.  Syracuse 85  Vermont 78

8. GONZAGA vs  9. FLORIDA STATE

It was shocking to see Saint Mary’s pull off the miracle over the Zags in the West Coast Conference tourney.  Mark Few’s gang should have that wake-up call out the way and back to dominating performances.  Freshman from Germany Elias Harris is the real key to the Zags solid season and the improvement of the college recruiting world as the Zags have a real stud.  The noles are a big team that plays great defensively and have the size advantage over most ever team in the field.  With all that though its hard to see them scoring enough to beat a well coached Zags team.  Gonzaga 85 FSU 79

5. BUTLER vs 12. UTEP

Like Gonzaga, UTEP was shocked in there conference final (by Houston).  On top of that the team was on a 16 game winning streak.  That may well be a blessing in disguise, as they have all the elements that cause fits for Butler.   Long athletic bigs that play tough defense and run the floor.  In the end, Butler has the real determining factor in soph. forward Gordon Hayward.  He’s a legit player and should have the space to keep the upset from happening.

Butler 75  UTEP 71

4. VANDERBILT vs 13. MURRAY STATE

Vandy for some reason got a # 4 seed.  Vandy is a unit and don’t really have a star player.  Its that lack of a go to guy that scares me off of this team.  Murray St. has the drive to pull off the big upset here.  The play hard all game and average 10 steals a game.  Murray St.  will come in blow right past Vandy.  Murray St. 93 Vandy 81

6. XAVIER vs 11. MINNESOTA

Xavier are that wonderful team that has teased us and teased us.  They just look like a solid gritty team that will go far, and never seem to do it.  Now don’t worry about this match-up.  Minnesota have some nice players like Ralph Sampson’s kid and a great coach in Tubby Smith, but they lack the firepower to hold off Xavier.  Jordan Crawford is a legit scoring threat and big Jason Love is a double-double guy game in and game out.  Check the box with a big X.

Xavier 75  Minnesota 58

3. PITTSBURGH vs 14. OAKLAND

Pitt has beaten the big boys in Syracuse, West Virginia and Villanova.  Pitt has a good coach in Jamie Dixon.  Pitt has a solid team, if a bit undersized.  Pitt will crush Oakland, but the question is are they not experienced enough for a full run (a lot of soph’s on the squad)?  The answer should be YES.  Pitt 89  Oakland 56

7. BYU vs 10. FLORIDA

Those darn Gators, its been two years since a Billy Donovan lead squad made it up.  O how the mighty have fallen, remember Joakim Noah cutting the nets down?  Well this Florida bunch as no where even close to the title versions and they drew a TOUGH-EEEEEE.  BYU is lead by one of there three guards, Jimmer Fredette.  Jimmer is a legit scoring threat and he should have a field day against the lackluster Gator defense.  BYU 82  UF 72

2. KANSAS STATE vs 15. NORTH TEXAS

Aw the ol’ Alma Mater pulled off the back-to-back.  That’s right the Bullet, Head Coach Johnnie Jones, has brought a talented Denton squad to the tourney.  We are talking a very stout Kansas St. team that was top ten level all year.  KSU just wishes they were the best in there own state.  Now if you’re wondering, and i’m sure you are, Coach Jones is nicknamed the bullet because he played college ball with the legendary Pistol Pete Maravich.  That’s right when Pistol Pete was setting the NCAA scoring record Johnnie was right there with him in the LSU purple and gold.  Also for coaching quality Coach JJ helped big ol’ Shaq with his foot work.  GO MEAN GREEN!!! But still take KSU… 76  UNT 69

Sweet 16 picks?

1. SYRACUSE topples 8. GONZAGA

Even if the big man goes down in the opening round or this one, Coach Boehiem has a unit that will survive till the elite eight.  They matchup well with everyone on there side of the bracket.  Wes Johnson pours in another solid performance.

5. BUTLER survives the hell that is 13. MURRAY STATE

Those darn Racers live up to the name and though this one will see high scoring I think Butler can withstand it all and keep up until they finally take over in the end.

3. PITTSBURGH bullies and finally beats 6. XAVIER

The big X are a bunch of mean fellas, but when the bigger bully comes to town they have a tendency to fold.  I see those mean panthers showing there impressive teeth and scaring off the Musketeers.

2. KANSAS STATE take care of 7. BYU

Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen are by far one of the best guard tandems in the country.  Its all mental with this club.  There defensive abilities are amazing, but they clam up against certain teams.  Overall they have the talent to beat anyone.

Who’s making the elite eight?

1. SYRACUSE barely survives this one against 5. BUTLER

I really like the Butler group and if they had one more legit big they could steal this game.  However, Syracuse without there big man is beatable but only by teams with athletic size or incredible back court play (hint hint KSU).

2. KANSAS STATE guards out duel 3. PITTSBURGH

This one should be a wonderful game that goes to the wire.  KSU’s have the better guards and also forward Dominique Sutton is a solid player on both ends.  Pitts got good guards in Jermaine Dixon, Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker.  But even the extra man isn’t better then Clemente and Pullen.

So the match up is Orange or Purple?

2. KANSAS STATE 1. SYRACUSE

What a great match up of KSU’s tremendous guards and Syracuse’s big front court.  Once again if they have the Onuaku its hard to not pick the New Yorkers.  But I just don’t see the big man’s quad holding out this long.  KSU has the killer instinct to pull off a final four berth.   And who will they match-up with if they pull off this tear through the West…Kansas.  Geez it always comes back to the KU, even for KSU.

ITS KENTUCKY’S WORLD aka Calipari’s world

http://scottandholman.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/john-calipari-eyes-closed.jpg Memphis may have been a yawner in the end, but UK is the big time John.

1. KENTUCKY vs  16. EAST TENNESSEE STATE

Wall, Bledsoe, Miller are your Guards and Cousins and Patterson your Bigs.  Now say hello to the most exciting team in the country.  Calipari knows guards and he’s been talking up Wall like none before him.  Cousins is the real stud to watch as he figures out his massive freshman build of 6-11/270.   Ashley Judd on the sidelines, Calipari on the sidelines, John Wall with the ball and DeMarcus Cousins with the beef.  That’s WHERE THE BEEF has been!!  UK 86  East Tenn St. 45

8. TEXAS vs 9. WAKE FOREST

Talk about disappointing!! UT has become the poster child for how to implode and Wake got there asses handed to them by MIAMI (um what).  This game should be exciting minus everyone in the world not caring who UK defeats to make it to the Sweet 16.  I think UT has the better overall talent but there freshman kids are so mentally gone that Wake’s vets should pull this one out.  Wake 75  UT 73

5. TEMPLE vs 12. CORNELL

By far one of the best games of the first round.  The Owls play great defense (albeit a different style then the old John Chaney terror owls) and they hit the 3 really well.  Cornell is a perfect “Ivy” league style as you can come.  They make games look like practice.  Boring is a word that is usually brought up when talking these types of teams.  But this isn’t Allen Iverson we’re talking about, its NCAA basketball.  Cornell pulls off a close shocker by doing the fundamentals.

Cornell 77  Temple 76

4. WISCONSIN vs 13. WOFFORD

The terriers have pulled off some big upsets and are a hot team.  Wisconsin is going for # 600 for Head Coach Bo Ryan.  The Badgers make there free throws, play tough defense and don’t commit turnovers.  Wofford has great depth and thus never seems tired.   This one will go to the wire, but its hard to go against such a proven winner like Coach Ryan.

Wisconsin 74 Wofford 73 (OT)

6. MARQUETTE vs 11. WASHINGTON

Marquette doesn’t have a player over 6’7, but that shouldn’t matter against an under-sized Huskies team.  Marquette lucked out in this game and should easily move on to the second round.  Lazar Hayward is the Marquette “Big” even though he’s 6’6, but he has the skills to make up for the lack of height.  Marquette 76  Wash 71

3. NEW MEXICO vs 14. MONTANA

Anthony Johnson been all over ESPN because of his fantastic 42 point performance that saw Montana shock top seeded Weber St. to win the Big Sky tournament.  Well this isn’t the big sky and New Mexico aint Weber St.  Roman Martinez is the senior leader for the lobos and one of those high IQ ballers that you should love to watch.  Also JUCO transfer Darington Hobson is a star awaiting the big stage.  NM 86  Montana 76

7. CLEMSON vs 10. MISSOURI

This is a tough one to figure out.  Missouri has sucked it up in there last few weeks.  Clemson ALWAYS sucks in the NCAA tourney (o-5 under HC Oliver Purnell).  Most people like the veteran laden team of Clemson (two seniors and two juniors start).  I think that’ll hurt them, these players lost to worse teams then Missouri.  Mizzou is really well coached in Mike Anderson (a disciple of Nolan Richardson).  This team doesn’t live up to Nolan’s 40 minutes of hell (Richardson is famous for his approach to non-stop pressure), but Coach Anderson’s bunch should spook Clemson enough to move on.  Mizzou 81  Clemson 67

2. WEST VIRGINIA vs 15. MORGAN STATE

A lot of people are picking WV to go all the way to the final four.  They are a solid team led by Senior Da’Sean Butler.  Also there ability to stay strong and win the Big East tourney was impressive.  Morgan state have a prolific scorer with Reggie Holmes (the all-time leader in school history).  Morgan will push WV but never actually scares them.

WV 83 Morgan St. 62

Ok Next round –

1. KENTUCKY destroys 9. WAKE FOREST

Poor Wake feels the Calipari classic sleeper hold.  John Wall should shine in this game and have everyone talking him up like crazy.

12. CORNELL SHOCKS 4. WISCONSIN

So I know this is the big bold move of the competition as the Big Red pull it off.  I just can’t see Wisconsin cracking the consistent Cornell players.  They’re my long distance shocker pick and they’ll do it as boringly as usual.

3. NEW MEXICO knocks out 6. MARQUETTE

Lobos’ Head Coach Steve Alford will get all the airtime he needs as his solid unit rolls on easily.  They should manhandle Eagles.

2. WEST VIRGINIA breaks the tough Defense of 10. MISSOURI

Mike Anderson really pushes his players well, but WV have them beat on every front.   Butler will get a lot of hype following this showcase of his offense talents.  NBA eyes will notice as he drops 20 on one of the toughest defenses.

Who’s making the elite eight?

1. KENTUCKY finally knocks out Cinderella 12. CORNELL

This one could get ugly as John Calipari shows how yes talent does beat out fundamentals.  I don’t see how Cornell can control the beast that is Cousins.

2. WEST VIRGINIA has there prayers answered 3. NEW MEXICO

Butler has hit 6 game winners, two in the big east tournament and he’ll do it again against the lobos.  Steve Alford will finally get the credit as a coach he deserves with this performance by his team, but WV is still to good.

And now the big boys do battle.

1. KENTUCKY escapes a nail-biter 2. WEST VIRGINIA

Cousins once again takes over the game in the end as WV doesn’t have the size to cope with the beast from the East.

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And finally we head to the Dirty South!!! Hello Coach K

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Yeah we get it.

1. DUKE vs 16. ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF / 16. WINTHROP

Does it matter who they play?  Winthrop should easily beat Arkansas Pine Bluff, but don’t expect Duke to take it easy on them.  Duke 91  Winthrop 58

8. CALIFORNIA vs 9. LOUISVILLE

Anytime you play a Rick Pitino team you need to be fearful.  Cal has the talent to easily beat Louisville.  The issues arises if Louisville does show up then they really show up (beat Syracuse TWICE).  Cal has lost to all the bigs they’ve played (Syracuse, Ohio State, Kansas and New Mexico).  Lucky for them Louisville doesn’t play up to there status.

Cal 89  Louisville 81

5. TEXAS A&M vs 12. UTAH STATE

Utah State has the advantage of a not having to travel as far.  A & M are a much better unit but may look sluggish with the plane ride out there eating up precious recovery time needed for a run in the tourney.  This battle of Aggies will be a close one.  A & M 77  Utah State 75 (OT)

4. PURDUE vs 13. SIENA

Poor Purdue is not the same team without Robbie Hummel.   Sienna has one the last two years as the lower seed.  They also have a superb talent in guard Ronald Moore.  In the end Purdue just hopes Robbie Hummel will come back fully healthy for his senior season.

Sienna 72  Purdue 67

6. NOTRE DAME vs 11. OLD DOMINION

The fighting Irish have tweaked things so much they are like a whole new team.  Old Dominion have the talent to beat big teams (Georgetown!!).  Both these teams play good defense (that is the Irish some of the times).  I think all the hype for Notre Dame is a bit premature.  This one may be the real shocker pick as most people see the Fighting Irish through to the second round at least.    Old Dominion 81  Notre Dame 79 (OT)

3. BAYLOR vs 14. SAM HOUSTON STATE

Baylor has bigs and little and the fiery coach to go far.  This one should be a huge blow out.  Sam Houston St. just don’t win any match ups in this one.  Baylor 93 Sam Houston St. 71

7. RICHMOND vs 10. SAINT MARY’S

Richmond impressed a lot of people with there remarkable OT victory over Xavier in the A-10 semi’s.   Saint Mary’s will impress even more people when there two giant seniors lead them to victory.  Omar Samhan, 6-11/260 and Ben Allen, 6-11/250 just are to big for Richmond to cope with.  Saint Mary’s 72  Richmond 65

2. VILLANOVA vs 15. ROBERT MORRIS

Scottie Reynolds is the leader of a talented Nova squad.   Two seniors (Reynolds being one) and two Juniors give Jay Wright the veteran leadership needed to win 6 straight.  We are talking about a Final Four team from last year.  The seem a hair worse then that team.  Villanova 91  Robert Morris 72

Now the Second round winners are…

1. DUKE easily handles 8. CALIFORNIA

Coach K’s team is too good to be shocked here by this decent Cal team.

5. TEXAS A&M have a hard time but finally beat 13. SIENA

HC Mark Turgeon’s team won’t look pretty after two wins, but they’ll be in the Sweet 16!!!

3. BAYLOR outlasts 11. OLD DOMINION

The size of Old Dominion is actually capable of nullifying Baylor’s big front court.  But the guards for the Bears are just two good.  Nation say hello to LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter.

2. VILLANOVA breaks out EVERYTHING to escape 10. SAINT MARY’S

Scottie Reynolds will put on the performance of his life just to keep the Saint Mary’s big men from stealing another win.  This one will be a lot more fun then you may think.

1. DUKE last second win over 5. TEXAS A&M

The real Aggies finally show up and duel the Dukies to a double overtime before Jon Scheyer’s free throws win it.  The Blue Devils have a huge test in the talented Aggies.  But Turgeon knows this isn’t the best squad he’s had and knows he’ll be in the final four sooner rather then later.  Duke will get a lot of flak for this game being so close, but it’ll bring them together.

3. BAYLOR knocks out Scottie and his 2. VILLANOVA

This time Baylor’s size will be too much for Scottie, and the guards are so much better then Saint Mary’s guards.  The Bears will look good in the one and set up a lot of BU fans for there match-up with Duke.

1. DUKE is taken to the wire by 3. BAYLOR

The Baylor size and athleticism are going to take them into a OT thriller.  Scott Drew is one of the best young Head Coaches around and he’ll finally get the credit he deserves, but Duke won’t let themselves lose.  Once again Jon hits those key free throws and Coach K will get to play John Calipari.

MY FINAL FOUR:   A battle of blues and an in-state brawl.

1. DUKE vs 1. KENTUCKY

Coach K vs Coach C.  Cocky vs Composed.  Charismatic vs Consistent.  Blue vs Blue.  Two very different styles and histories.  Coach K has ALWAYS been the staple at Duke.  Coach C has always been the moving machine that wins with his talented youngsters.  This game is going to be amazing to watch the contradicting styles meet.  Overall I like UK’s talent over Duke’s.  I like Cousins over any Duke player.  Coach K’s bunch through all that still figure a way.  They have the will to pull off the big upset.  Duke 84  UK 83 (OT)

1. KANSAS vs 2. KANSAS STATE

Sadly this game won’t be as close.  KU has won all three meetings against there in-state rivals and there won’t be any difference.  KSU had a great run but KU is that good.

KU 85  KSU 79

THE FINAL GAME!!!!!!

1. KANSAS vs  1. DUKE

Kansas has the full unit and they’ll keep a comfortable lead.  That is until the end when Duke’s consistent free throws and staunch defense gets them back into it.  Big shots from both clubs put this one into Overtime.  KU in the end relies on Sherron Collins to break into the lane and he dishes off to Cole Aldrich.  The big boy slams home the game winner.

KU 89  Duke 87.

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Hope you enjoyed all that.

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