The Brackets are finally officially set. No more speculation. No more bracketology. I will admit that what ESPN Bracketology specialist Joe Lunardi does is pretty remarkable. But it is made out as if his bracket is more important than the real thing some times. I will take the bracket presented by the CBS Selection Show every day of the week over Lunardi’s. Anyways, after watching the Selection Show this evening, here are a few initial items that really jumped out at me:
-How did Florida manage to pull of a number 2 seed? The Gators were embarrassed today in the SEC Championship Game by a very young and talented Kentucky team that somehow ended up with a 4. I will state this, Florida is by far the weakest of the “2” seeds and UCLA/Michigan State really lucked out in their draw at the bottom of the Southeast Region.
-Is the Southeast region a joke? This region appears to be glaringly weaker than the other 3 in my eyes. Their top 3 teams are all solid teams; Pittsburgh, Florida, and BYU. But do you really see any of them making their way to Houston for the Final Four? In the words of Dick Vitale, it will be upset city in the Southeast Region. You tell me who will come out of this crazy region.
-Is there a conspiracy against the Big East? Now I realize that the best conference in the land got a record 11 teams in the field. This is 3 more than any conference has ever sent to the Dance. But could they have spread the Big East love a little more? There are two potential All Big East 2nd round matchups. I thought that the selection committee did all in their power to avoid conference matchups during the first weekend?
-How did UAB get into the field? Now I realize you all have probably watched Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale, and the other ESPN experts go wild on this topic already. But in the words of Jay Bilas when referring to this year’s selection committee, “Do they realize that a basketball is round?” I feel terrible for both Virginia Tech and Colorado. Both of these teams were head and shoulders more deserving than UAB. Look for them to both make deep runs in this year’s NIT.
-Why did CBS let Charles Barkley and Kenny “the Jet” Smith talk more than the “real” College Basketball experts. I realize Charles and Kenny are very well respected and do a great job with the NBA, but this is College Basketball. How could CBS let these guys talk more than the College Basketball experts who have been providing the coverage all season long?
-I am so excited. This year has so many unpredictable teams in the field. With their being record numbers of 13 and 14 loss teams, you better believe that this year’s version of March Madness will be “Totally awesome baby, with a capital A!”
So tonight I am going to give you my current rundown for the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, and Championship. This rundown is subject to change. Let me repeat, this rundown is subject to change.
Now I realize the majority of the fun happens during the 1st week with the amazing slate of 1st, 2nd, and now 3rd round games (due to new play-in setup). Before the games start on Thursday, I will post my official picks on this blog so you can see how you do against me. So if they are different than what you see below, use the ones from my real bracket that will be posted on here later this week.
Here are my initial picks.
East-Ohio State, Kentucky, Syracuse, and North Carolina
West-Duke, Arizona, UConn, San Diego State
Southwest-Kansas, Louisville, Georgetown, Notre Dame
Southeast-Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, St. John’s, Florida
East-Ohio State, North Carolina (Two extremely talented teams that can really score the basketball. This will be the most exciting Elite Eight Game of them all)
West-Duke, UConn (I think Kyrie will be back by this point in the tourney as Kemba’s amazing college career comes to a close)
Southwest-Kansas, Notre Dame (Notre Dame will have to be on fire from the perimeter or they will have little to no chance in this one. I am going with the Irish going cold on this particular day)
Southeast-Wisconsin, St. John’s (The Johnnies will struggle with Wisconsin’s slow down methodical style of basketball on both ends of the floor)
My top two teams from the preseason go to battle in an epic Final Four Showdown. Too much interior presence between Sullinger and Lauderdale for the Dukies to keep up on this day, with or without Kyrie Irving.
Kansas will have far too much athleticism for the extremely disciplined Badgers to keep up. The Final Four would not be a shabby finish though for the boys out of Madison.
Ohio State over Kansas 78 to 72.
My preseason pick will cut down the nets in Houston. Let the pandemonium begin in Columbus.
So there you have some of my initial thoughts on this year’s edition of March Madness. My official picks will be posted before the first game on Thursday.
Enjoy the best sporting event that we have in American sports today.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.