Breaking Down My Bracket
I've analyzed, theorized, generalized, rationalized and hypothesized. I've speculated, contemplated, ruminated and prognosticated. And out of it all has come...My Bracket.I mentioned in my post written during the selection show that I'd post my bracket and walk through it a bit. So here it is (Yeah, I hand wrote it. Big whoop, wanna fight about it?):
I found this bracket unbelievably hard to break down. I feel like there are three or so teams that could win the national championship. However, I think that all of those teams could lose and anyone in the tournament could beat them. This tournament is characterized by sixty-four good not great teams, which makes a bracket with an already countless amount of permutations impossible to break down. But let's try.
In the East Regional I think the overall number one seed finds itself in the hardest bracket. Whether it's George Mason or Villanova in the second round - it's a hard game for Ohio State. A potential match up with Kentucky looms, which will be rough. Then having to play either Syracuse or North Carolina makes for a torturous region. I do, however, like Ohio State to get out of the region. I think they have enough with Sullinger to get past George Mason (who I think, hot as they are, will beat a struggling - to put it lightly - Villanova team) and Kentucky in two hard fought games. I expect (dangerous words!) Syracuse and North Carolina to play for the right to meet Ohio State in the Elite Eight. I think the Big East tested Syracuse will get over a young UNC team but fall to the skill of Ohio State. Ohio State advances.
The West region features four seeds with about an equal chance to get out of the region - you couldn't help me out at all could you selection committee? I think Duke cruises to the Sweet Sixteen to play a very talented Texas team - I'm not buying that Texas falls to Oakland, there's just too much talent there. Texas' inconsistency catches up with them though and Duke sneaks past them in what should be an unbelievable game. In the bottom half I think UCONN will get past a Missouri team, who will upset Cincinnati and play San Diego State in the Sweet Sixteen. I seriously doubt either of them getting upset, though the tourney will be lousy with upsets so pick cautiously. A lot of people will see Big East vs. Mountian West and take UCONN here. But I see a team who will be beaten down from a long season and an extraordinary five games in five day run in the Big East Tourney. SDST is under the radar a bit - as much as a number two seed can be. The fighting-Jimmer's of BYU have stolen the attention and let a very good SDST team slide by unnoticed. I think SDST gets by UCONN. In the Elite Eight I'm taking SDST in a bit of an upset. I'm a Duke fan, but I feel that Duke needs to shoot well to win. In their ACC Tournament drubbing of UNC Duke shot 50% from the field and 45% from three. I don't think they can make it this deep in the tournament without slipping up. The gambler in me says to cover my back, SDST advances.
The Southwest regional was one of the easiest for me to figure (I'm going to get all of the picks wrong now, I know it - watch it - Boston U will win). I feel Kansas has the easiest road. They'll face a Louisville squad that could make a medium run, or could lose in the second round to Richmond. I think a refreshed Georgetown squad will be able to get past Purdue, who got crushed in their Big 10 Tournament game. They however, will fall to a veteran Notre Dame team. Notre Dame will shoot their way past a lot of teams - but Kansas shoots better. Kansas advances. Close observers will notice my first 12-5 upset has been picked in this bracket. The A-10 champions are a good squad and seeded way too low as a 12. I think they get a middle of the road Vanderbilt team and Richmond is able to get past the Commodores.
Now we come to the complete dumpster fire that is the Southeast Region. The selection committee is a butcher (roll with me on this) who effectively cut up great pieces of meat and spread them around three regions. Then realized that they had another to region to fill and took the random pieces left on the table and threw them down in the Southeast region. I'm not saying that the individual teams are rubbish (they are), but the region as a whole is a mess, a virtual dice roll. You may just want to stop reading and throw darts at teams to make selections - you've got as good a chance that way. But defiant as I am, I'll press on. I think Pitt squeeks by Old Dominion, who out bruises Butler. The 12-5 in this region features what I think is the hardest game in the tournament to pick. Kansas State is a team that at their best can play with anyone in the country. But they're inconsistent at best. Therefore, I've got to go with the Utah State team that somehow fell all the way to a 12. I should also note that I've got Belmont over Wisconsin down here. Why? Because I'm not picking a team that scored 33 points in it's last game. What is this middle school ball? Were we playing blindfolded? Wisconsin football scored more than that in seven games this year. SEVEN! In one game the football team outscored Bo Ryan's squad by fifty. FIFTY!!!! No way I pick them. I think a Kennedy-less St. John's team has just enough to get past Gonzaga and take on BYU. They're tournament ends there though. The Cougars, firmly on the back of Jimmer roll into the Sweet Sixteen and take out Florida (a classic case of over seeding at number 2). The Jimmer magic runs out here, however and the Cougars fall to Pitt who stumbles out of what is a disgusting looking region. Am I confident in that pick? Not really. Then again who else comes out? Florida is over rated at 2 and BYU without Davies could lose early. If not Pitt, I think I'd have to go with the twelve seed to come out of that region. Seriously. Gross.
In the Final Four I have Ohio State getting past SDST. I think Ohio State is clearly the number one team in the nation, the only team you may be able to call a 'great' team. Kansas will shoot their way past Pitt in the other side of the bracket. The championship game sets up to be a nice one, but in the end I take Kansas. They shoot so well and are just too deep. I think Ohio State may be the better team, but will be physically and mentally destroyed from running the gauntlet of the East Region. Kansas is too well rounded and deep. They'll cut down the nets.
Well there you have it. The bracket as I see it - and what a mess it is. The toughest bracket to dissect in years. And I know, chalk held in my bracket. But there will be a lot of upsets this year and I approach bracket making as a gambler in some sense. I'm not going to start picking one seeds to fall early because there will be a lot of upsets, who knows exactly which they'll be. When you start picking nine seeds to take out one seeds you get in trouble. So for this year, chalk talks. Over or under 50% correct. Thoughts?