2006-03-15

Brackets and Madness Notes


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Now that the Monmouth-Hampton game is in the books I can proceed with my picks.

First, I reiterate that this thing is wide open. I'm not ultra-confident in my ability to figure who will get to them, but this year's top seeds can be gotten to. I'll be surprised to see more than one #1 show up in Indianapolis.

Part of this is because the high seeds aren't as strong as usual, and part of it has to do with some questionable seeding. Tennessee comes to mind.

Atlanta Region:
Duke may have won the ACC Tournament, but they are vulnerable. Carolina exposed Duke's over-reliance on Redick and a one or two other stars.

I'm picking Syracuse to advance out of this region. McNamara has already become the guy the ESPN'ers love to slobber all over. Whatever. Syracuse is rolling and Boeheim is one of those coaches who will wring the most out of his players in the tournament.

Upsets: NC State over Cal in an "upset" that won't be an upset. NC State over Texas will be a genuine surprise. Syracuse over LSU and Duke. West Virginia over Iowa en route to the regional final.

Oakland Region:
IMHO this is the toughest region to pick. I'm pretty confident Memphis is over-rated, but this region is stocked full of teams that could run over the field or fall in their first game.

I'm picking Kansas to make it through to the Final Four. Gonzaga is also over-rated, but they are a team ESPN loves to love. I hope my pick of Xavier with the big opening round upset proves true cuz I sure don't want to listen to Vitale if the Zags do anything exciting.

Other Upsets: Kansas over Memphis. Marquette over UCLA and Indiana en route to the regional final.

Washington, DC Region:
U Conn seems to have emerged as the consensus strongest team in the field. I do have them rolling to the regional final. But that's where a Tar Heel team on the rise will topple the Huskies and return to the Final Four. I would not be surprised however, to see a rematch of last year's Championship game (UNC vs. Illinois) in this regional final.

As already mentioned, Tennessee is over-seeded. They won't see the second weekend.

Upsets: UAB over Kentucky if you want to call in an upset. Seton Hall over Wichita St and Tennessee.

Minneapolis Region:
For my money, the strongest region. If Villanova can get past Monmouth, which is rolling after last night's big win over Hampton, they'll still have Wisconsin or Arizona, Boston College, Ohio State, and Florida among others waiting in their path. They won't have to beat all of these teams but they'd better be ready for three difficult games just to get to Indianapolis.

I don't think they can do it, so I'm going with Boston College.

Upsets: Wisconsin over Arizona - mild upset at best. Montana over Nevada. Honestly, I don't know either team, but every year a 12 does it to a 5. UW-Milwaukee over Oklahoma. Georgetown over Ohio State and Florida en route to the regional final. Boston College over Villanova.

Final Four:
Syracuse over Kansas.
North Carolina over Boston College.

North Carolina over Syracuse to defend their crown, or actually Sean May and a bunch of other NBA guys' crown.

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