What a weekend in sports. Conference championships provided some great drama. Princeton with the buzzer beater to beat Harvard, Connecticut wins five games in five days to win the Big East, Duke takes care of UNC in their third meeting this season, Washington beating Arizona behind Isaiah Thomas, Kentucky making a late season surge, and of course, Ohio State and Kansas winning the Big Ten and Big 12 respectively.
First, the brackets are out, so who is going to make a run and win the title. Before we talk about that, let’s talk about the NCAA tournament selection committee. They messed up big time by not including Colorado, Virginia Tech, or Alabama. All had better resumes than Virginia Commonwealth, and UAB. Colorado beat Kansas State three times, and Texas once. Alabama won the SEC East, and Virginia Tech had some big wins, most notably over Duke.
Well, first, the Midwest Bracket. Ohio State is the number one overall seed, and got the toughest road to the Final Four. In the second round, they could face a good Villanova team. The Wildcats may be playing soft lately, but Fisher and Stokes are very good guards. Kentucky in the Sweet 16 is scary too. John Calipari has another young team, but they are coming together at just the right time. They won SEC conference tournament, and Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight are leading this team. In the Elite Eight, they could face Syracuse or North Carolina. Syracuse started the year hot, but have fell back to earth. However, they are good team. They are experienced, and Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine, and Kris Joseph are an impressive in the frontcourt. They rebound, and shoot the ball well. Coach Jim Boeheim knows how to win in March. North Carolina is young, but can still make a run. Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall have this team reeling. Barnes and Marshall are the Tar Heels’ enigma, and will be the main factors if UNC can make a run. Tyler Zellar is the x-factor for the Heels.
All in all, I see the Buckeyes getting through to Houston, but it will close. They will have to keep Sullinger out of foul trouble, hit their 3’s, and make teams play their game.
In the West, Duke has the second toughest bracket. They face Hampton in first round, which they’ll win, and in the second round they could face a tough team in Michigan. Tim Hardaway, Jr has this team playing well, but will it be enough? In the Sweet 16, it comes down to Arizona or Texas. Arizona could make it there, but it will depend on Derrick Williams. Texas has a tough first round game against Oakland, and their forward Keith Benson, then has to face Arizona. In the Elite Eight, it will come down to Connecticut or San Diego State playing Duke or Texas. Connecticut has momentum after winnign the Big East, but could also get fatigued. If the Huskies can force teams to run, Kemba Walker will be happy. For SDSU, Kawhi Leonard and the Aztecs won the Mountain West. Coach Steve Fischer has been here before with Michigan, and must use his experience to boost his team that’s hasn’t been in the tourunament in a long time.
All in all, I see Duke advancing. They have the experience in Smith and Singler, and Coach Krzyzewski. Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, and the Plumlees’ will have to play well, also. The Plumlees’ must have the same effect as Zoubek and Thomas did last year. Curry is the x-factor for Duke.
In the East, Kansas is the one seed. They have a winnable bracket, but could get caught up on a team like Louisville in the Sweet 16. Terrence Jennings, Kyle Kuric, Peyton Siva, and Preston Knowles are very good perimeter shooters, rebound well, and play good defense. If the Jayhawks make the Elite Eight, they’ll face Purdue or Notre Dame. Purdue has JaJuan Johnson, and E’ Twaun Moore as its stars, and know how to knock teams. Just ask Ohio State. They may have lost to Iowa late in season, but that was just a bad game. The Fighting Irish have a stud guard in Ben Hansbourgh, and can take over games. However, if you shut him down, and their perimeter shooting, they are plenty beatable.
All in all, I want to pick Louisville out of this bracket. Their a darkhorse and a team that will scare teams. Rick Pitino has done a great job after his recent allegations last season by rallying his team.
In the East, Pittsburgh has the easieset bracket. They should make the Final Four. Their toughest game may in the Sweet 16 againse Kansas State. The Wildcats are reeling lately with Jacob Pullen. Although, Wisconsin could be there as well. Bo Ryan knows how to win in March. BYU and St. John’s is great match-up in the second round. Can Jimmer get past the Johnnies and their up-tempo offense? Florida is the most questionable two seed. Yes, they’re decent, but can they make a run? I think they’ll make Sweet 16, but get knocked off by BYU or St. John’s. In the Elite Eight, it’s Pittsburgh vs. St. John’s, with Pittsburgh advancing. Yes, the Johnnies defeated Pitt earlier this season, but they won’t again.
In Final Four, it’s Duke vs. Ohio State, and Louisville vs. Pittsburgh. Tune in the future days for the championship pick.
Well, that’s all for today, come back tomorrow for more!