March Madness 2017: Previewing the West Region

The Big Dance is almost here.  It’s time for the final part of my March Madness preview.  Last time, we looked at an East region full of upsets.  Today, we will look at the West Region and my championship predictions.

Missed a previous article?  Check here:

March Madness 2017: Previewing the South Region

March Madness 2017: Previewing the Midwest Region

March Madness 2017: Previewing the East Region

The whole series can be seen under the tag “March Madness”.

Here’s my whole bracket if you were wondering:

image1.JPG

Now, let’s get started.

#5 Notre Dame Image result for notre dame logo colored background vs. Image result for princeton tigers logo orange background #12 Princeton

Thursday 3/16 @12:15 PM EST on CBS

Princeton has really had a good season.  They won the Ivy League regular season and first annual Ivy League tourney.  Notre Dame nearly won the ACC tournament, though.  The Irish are good, but Princeton is a sneaky sleeper and a threat to the Fighting Irish.  Although Notre Dame is hard to pick against, I see Princeton winning here and surprising people in the West.

The Pick: Princeton

#1 Gonzaga Image result for gonzaga logo colored background vs. Image result for south dakota state jackrabbits logo colored background #16 South Dakota State

Thursday 3/16 @2:00 PM EST on TBS

If there’s any #1 seed I would pick against, it would be Gonzaga.  I’m not buying their success this season and they could get upset in a later round.  But although I like South Dakota State, they aren’t quite strong enough to top a #1 seed this year, and a #16 seed has never, ever beat a #1 seed.  I can’t pick against Gonzaga in this one.  They are overrated but are too strong to lose here.

The Pick: Gonzaga

#4 West Virginia Image result for west virginia logo colored background vs. Image result for bucknell logo colored background #13 Bucknell

Thursday 3/16 @2:45 PM EST on CBS

West Virginia was upset in last year’s March Madness, but they’ve really looked good this season.  They’re on the verge of #3 seed material.  I could see them being upset again, but Bucknell is not exactly the team I think will upset them.  Bucknell was good in their easier conference, but only okay compared to teams like West Virginia.  I think that West Virginia will win here but watch out for Princeton to surprise them.

The Pick: West Virginia

 

#8 Northwestern img_1302 vs. Related image #9 Vanderbilt

Thursday 3/16 @4:30 PM EST on TBS

The Commodores should not be here.  They have 15 losses.  Sure, they made it to the SEC semifinals.  But I don’t care.  15 losses shouldn’t qualify for an at-large bid, even in a big name conference.  Northwestern also lost in the Big Ten semifinals, but they only have 10 losses, finished the regular season well in the Big Ten, and have been a tournament quality team all season.  The Wildcats should get a relatively easy win here.

The Pick: Northwestern

 

#6 Maryland Image result for maryland logo red background vs. Image result for xavier musketeers logo blue background #11 Xavier

Thursday 3/16 @6:50 PM EST on TNT

Xavier has been very good and a danger for other teams in previous tourneys.  They had an impressive run in the Big East tourney and almost made it to play Villanova in the final.  That brought them to this tournament.  They bounced back from a rough end to the regular season.  On the other hand, the Terrapins struggled late, and I see them as an upset target now.  I don’t know about you, but I’m sensing an upset.  Xavier wins here.

The Pick: Xavier

 

#7 Saint Mary’s img_1308 vs. Image result for vcu logo colored background #10 VCU

Thursday 3/16 @7:20 PM EST on TBS

VCU has really had a good season, and you can always count on them in the NCAA Tournament.  Besides playing Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s doesn’t have much of a challenge in their conference.  If Gonzaga weren’t there, Saint Mary’s would be undefeated in the West Coast Conference but would have a very easy route to this tournament.  They lacked a tough schedule in the regular season.  VCU played both Dayton and URI during their conference play.  I see VCU winning this one, and they are honestly the safer pick.

The Pick: VCU

 

#3 Florida State Related image vs. Image result for fgcu logo green background #14 FGCU

Thursday 3/16 @9:20 PM EST on TNT

The Seminoles did have a good season, but FGCU also looked good.  FSU has not made it to the Big Dance for a few years, and it will be tough for them coming back for the first time in a few years.  I know the Eagles have an easy conference, but they kicked butt in the A-Sun.  FGCU was placed in the #16 seed last year, but look to be in a better upsetting position this year.  I say FGCU wins this.

The Pick: FGCU

 

#2 Arizona Image result for arizona wildcats logo vs. Image result for north dakota logo #15 North Dakota

Thursday 3/16 @9:50 PM EST on TBS

Arizona is the clear favorite here.  They won the Pac-12, a conference that was between three very good teams.  North Dakota did beat Weber State to get here and they were the favorite in the Big Sky, but I trust all the #2 seeds in this tournament and don’t doubt that Arizona will take control of this game.  Wildcats win in an easy one.

The Pick: Arizona

 

Round of 32 Preview

Here’s a look at what the Round of 32 could look like:

#1 Gonzaga Image result for gonzaga logo colored background vs. img_1302 #8 Northwestern

#4 West Virginia Image result for west virginia logo colored background vs.  Image result for princeton tigers logo orange background #12 Princeton

#14 FGCU Image result for fgcu logo green background vs. Image result for xavier musketeers logo blue background #11 Xavier

#2 Arizona Image result for arizona wildcats logo vs. Image result for vcu logo colored background #10 VCU

Okay, so like I said, I trust the #2 seeds in this tournament.  Despite VCU’s upside, Arizona is going to the Sweet 16.  Xavier has more experience and upside than FGCU so they will go as well.  Now for the madness.  I think Princeton will be able to beat West Virginia to go to the Sweet 16.  West Virginia is good, but Princeton is a big sleeper.  Here’s the big upset.  I’m not buying Gonzaga’s success this season.  They had an easy schedule.  Northwestern will upset them and go on.  So, that means Xavier, Arizona, Northwestern, and Princeton will make it.

 

And the projected West winner is…

Image result for arizona wildcats logo #2 Arizona

I almost picked Northwestern here.  It’s hard to pick Arizona in the Final Four.  But I trust the #2 seeds this year.  Arizona goes against the Pac-12 struggles to make the Final Four in recent years, but this team is good enough to make it.  They nearly earned a #1 seed.  They beat Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament after Oregon beat UCLA impressively.

 

So Louisville, Arizona, Duke, and UNC make my Final Four.  I know so many ACC teams make it.  But Duke is bouncing back, UNC has had a great season, and I believe in Louisville.  Hope you enjoy the tourney, and check back before the Sweet 16 for more.

 

 

March Madness 2017: Previewing the East Region

Welcome to Part 3 of my March Madness preview.  Last time, we looked at the Midwest region.  There were some potential upsets there but in the end, the top seeds rule that conference.  Now, we move on to the East Region, one of two regions that will truly define March Madness.  Yes, there will be some pretty hardcore madness in both the East and West.  Now let’s get to it.
Missed a previous article?  Check here:
 If you were also wondering about my full bracket, here it is.
image1.JPG

#5 Virginia Image result for virginia logo colored background vs. Image result for unc wilmington logo colored background #12 UNC Wilmington

Thursday 3/16 @12:40 PM EST on truTV

Virginia is a pretty good team, but I just don’t see them as a contender.  Sure, they had tough competition but they were very streaky and looked terrible at times.  UNC Wilmington didn’t play in as big a conference, but they were a much more consistent team.  They nearly upset the Duke Blue Devils last year in the first round.  UNC Wilmington has four players that average 12 PPG or more.  The Cavaliers only have one.  UNC Wilmington is the better team based on consistency and scoring and will pull the upset here.

The Pick: UNC Wilmington

 

#4 Florida Image result for florida gators logo colored background vs. Related image #13 ETSU

Thursday 3/16 @3:10 PM EST on truTV

Eastern Tennessee State was not even the favorite to win the Southern conference, a small conference.  I think you can trust the Gators here, at least in this round.  Sure, they’re an upset target after their SEC tourney performance.  But I think they can beat a team like ETSU, a team that wouldn’t be here without their conference tournament win.  Gators win easily in this round, but could the UNC Wilmington Seahawks give them trouble?

The Pick: Florida

 

#1 Villanova Related image vs. Image result for mount st mary's logo colored background  #16 Mount St. Mary’s

Thursday 3/16 @7:10 PM EST on CBS

Mount St. Mary’s just beat New Orleans in their First Four game, but beating Villanova, the defending champion and number one overall seed will be a much tougher challenge.  Villanova will have it easy here.  There’s no way the #1 seed will be beaten by the #16 seed, especially when it’s the #1 overall seed.  This game is going to the Wildcats in a clear blowout.

The Pick: Villanova

 

#8 Wisconsin Image result for wisconsin badgers logo colored background vs. Related image #9 Virginia Tech

Thursday 3/16 @9:40 PM on CBS

Virginia Tech has had a good season, but the Badgers are an underrated team that should be higher.  They were runner-up in the Big Ten tourney and regular season play.  Wisconsin should’ve been seeded higher, but even in the #8 seed, they could be a serious contender and sneaky dark horse team, especially if they face Villanova in the Round of 32.  That game could go either way.  Yes, I think Wisconsin is good enough to potentially beat the Wildcats.  They should be able to top the Hokies.

The Pick: Wisconsin

 

#3 Baylor Image result for baylor logo colored background vs. Image result for new mexico state aggies logo colored background #14 New Mexico State

Friday 3/17 @12:40 PM on truTV

Baylor started off the season very strongly.  They looked like a #1 seed.  However, towards the end of the season, they quietly collapsed.  They eventually started losing to teams like Iowa State and ended up far from the regular season Big 12 title.  The Aggies have found their way to pull some upsets in this tourney before, and they might have a chance to shock Baylor here while they’re on a downward track.  This game could actually go either way.

The Pick: New Mexico State

 

#6 SMU Related image vs. Image result for usc logo red background Image result for providence logo black background #11 USC/Providence

Friday 3/17 @3:10 PM EST on truTV

I know, SMU is one of the highest trending teams in the league and a serious sleeper, but their fate depends on this First Four game.  If Providence wins, SMU could move on to be a serious sleeper.  If USC wins, they could have the power to upset SMU before they can upset other teams.  USC just barely made it, but they weren’t so bad in a tough Pac-12.  Now that they’re here, USC could be very sneaky and dangerous for other teams.  They just have to beat Providence, which I think they’ll do.

The Pick: USC

 

#2 Duke Related image vs. Related image #15 Troy

Friday 3/17 @7:20 PM EST on TBS

Troy wouldn’t be here if they didn’t win their conference, and they weren’t even close to being the favorite to win it.  They were not even in the Top 5 in the Sun Belt Conference,  and they don’t have that hard a conference to play in.  Duke will surely be able to top them.  You can never count out Duke.  They had some inconsistencies this season, but this game is clearly in their favor.  They will at least make it far.

The Pick: Duke

 

#7 South Carolina Image result for south carolina logo colored background vs. Related image #10 Marquette

Friday 3/17 @9:50 PM EST on TBS

The Gamecocks finished the season poorly, but Marquette should not be here.  They’re 19-12 in the Big East and they made it to the NCAA Tournament.  South Carolina may have it easier than you think in the first round.  This could be anybody’s game, but this will be painful to watch.  The winner will go on to play Duke and likely be annihilated.  But in this game, I think South Carolina will edge out the victory.

The Pick: South Carolina

 

Round of 32 Preview

Here’s a look at what the Round of 32 may look like:

#1 Villanova Related image vs. Image result for wisconsin badgers logo colored background #8 Wisconsin

#4 Florida Image result for florida gators logo colored background vs. Image result for unc wilmington logo colored background #12 UNC Wilmington

#14 New Mexico State Image result for new mexico state aggies logo colored background vs. Image result for usc logo red background #11 USC

#2 Duke Related image vs. Image result for south carolina logo colored background #7 South Carolina

Like I said, Duke will annihilate South Carolina, or Marquette if they win.  Now for the true meaning of March Madness.  First off, it’s tough to pick between NM State and USC, but one of them will face Duke in the Sweet 16.  They probably won’t get much farther than that, though.  Now, the two upsets I will predict in this round are UNC Wilmington over Florida and Wisconsin over Villanova.  Despite Villanova being the #1 overall seed, it’s hard to win two years in a row.  Villanova has struggled as a #1 seed, and Wisconsin could be a very sneaky sleeper.  I also think UNC Wilmington is capable of making the Sweet 16.  Florida did not do well in the SEC tourney and UNC Wilmington is a serious dark horse.  That would send Wisconsin, UNC Wilmington, New Mexico State or USC, and Duke to the Sweet 16,

 

And the projected East champion is…

#2 Duke Related image

You can never count out Duke.  Still, the Blue Devils have been inconsistent, so they will make it far, but I don’t think they’ll win the championship.  However, the trio of Grayson Allen, Jayson Tatum and Amile Jefferson should allow Duke to come out of this region.  Especially if Villanova is upset like I think they will be, Duke could become a serious threat in this region.  Like I said, I trust all the #2 seeds to go far.

 

That’s all for Part 3.  In Part 4, the final part, we will look at the West Region, and I will share my reason behind my Final Four predictions.  Part 4 will be coming before the tourney starts on Thursday.

March Madness 2017: Previewing the Midwest Region

Welcome to Part Two of my March Madness bracket preview.  Last time, we took a look at the South Region I shared my South predictions.  Let’s get going on the next region. Today, we will look at the Midwest region.

Missed a previous post?  Check here.

March Madness 2017: Previewing the South Region

Curious about my whole bracket?  Here it is.

image1.JPG

 

Now let’s take a closer look at the Midwest portion of the field of 68.

 

#4 Purdue Related image vs. Image result for vermont catamounts logo colored background #13 Vermont

Thursday 3/16 @7:27 PM EST on truTV

Purdue has had a very good season, led by superstar player Caleb Swanigan.  They won the Big Ten in regular season play, Swanigan leading them to their best season in a while.  He led them to be a significant contender.  The Catamounts could be out to stop them though.  They have won so many games in a row, and it would be disappointing to see them lose.  Can they top Purdue though?  This could come down to the final minutes, and I could see Vermont upsetting Purdue, but there’s a good case for either team in this crucial match-up.

The Pick: Purdue

 

#5 Iowa State Related image vs. Image result for nevada wolf pack logo colored background #12 Nevada

Thursday 3/16 @9:57 PM EST on truTV

Iowa State really put on a show to end the season.  After Kansas was upset, they breezed through the Big 12 tournament and beat West Virginia in the finals.  Iowa State deserves some credit over West Virginia for that.  Nevada is in an overrated conference, so their win is not that big an accomplishment.  ISU is the better pick in my opinion, I think they will do well in this toruney.

The Pick: Iowa State

 

#7 Michigan Related image vs. osu.png #10 Oklahoma State

Friday 3/17 @12:15 PM EST on CBS

This is definitely one game I’ll be watching on Friday if I can before my ski trip this weekend.  The Wolverines are coming off an amazing tournament performance.  They are the lowest seed to win the Big Ten tourney.  Michigan could do very well in this tournament after a strong finish to the season.  However, Oklahoma State has struggled of late, but started the season very strongly.  Can Oklahoma State turn it around?  With how good Michigan’s been, it’ll be tough.

The Pick: Michigan

 

#3 Oregon Image result for oregon  logo colored background vs. Image result for iona gaels logo colored background #14 Iona

Friday 3/17 @2:00 PM EST on TBS

Iona is an interesting team and is always a challenge to play in the NCAA Tournament.  Can Oregon hold them off?  They recently lost Chris Boucher for the season to injury.  This banged up Oregon team could not beat Arizona in the Pac-12 championship.  I think Iona has a chance here.  Oregon is not at their best, and Iona will take advantage of that.  The fact that Oregon hasn’t won a game without Chris Boucher is a scary thought, and they are already an upset target with that.  Add in the fact that they’re playing Iona, a team that’s almost always been here lately and has pulled a couple upsets before and this game’s odds look a lot different.

The Pick: Iona

 

#2 Louisville Image result for louisville cardinals logo colored background vs. Image result for jacksonville state logo colored background #15 Jacksonville State

Friday 3/17 @2:45 PM EST on CBS

Jacksonville State is definitely a sleeper to watch, but come on.  The only reason they’re here is because of a good conference tourney run.  The Cardinals are one of the best teams in this year’s tourney.  They will not be stopped by a #15 seed.  Louisville is a serious contender.  Losing here would devastate them, but it won’t happen.  If you’re looking for a 15 seed to pull an upset, it won’t be in this year’s tourney, because I believe in all of the two seeds in this tournament.

The Pick: Louisville

 

#6 Creighton Image result for creighton logo colored background vs. Image result for rhode island rams logo blue background #11 Rhode Island

Friday 3/17 @4:30 PM EST on TBS

I watched Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 championship, and even against a strong team VCU, they looked really good.  They are a serious upset candidate.  I think they have a chance against Creighton.  Creighton started the season well, but struggled in conference play.  They kind of fell apart, just not enough to lose their at-large spot.  Rhode Island is one of the highest trending teams right now, and they started this season ranked in the AP Poll.  Can they beat Creighton, a number 6 seed?  I think so.

The Pick: Rhode Island

 

#1 Kansas Image result for kansas jayhawks logo blue background vs. Image result for nc central eagles logo colored background Related image #16 NC Central/UC Davis

Friday 3/17 @6:50 PM EST on TNT

The Jayhawks are sure to beat NC Central or UC Davis.  No #16 seed has ever beaten a number one seed.  Both of these teams play in easy conferences and you can cut Kansas slack even after being upset in the conference tourney, they play in the Big 12!  The Jayhawks will definitely beat these teams, but could the Round of 32 be tougher for them?

The Pick: Kansas

 

#8 Miami Image result for miami fl hurricanes logo colored background vs. Image result for michigan state logo colored background #9 Michigan State

Friday 3/17 @9:20 PM EST on TNT

Both these teams have a chance to win, and both these teams are underrated.  The Spartans haven’t had the best season, but you never know with them.  It’s March Madness.  This is the same team that went to the Final Four as a #7 seed, but lost in Round 1 as the #2 seed.  However, Michigan State hasn’t done well since that 2016 upset.  The Hurricanes are good, but are also trending downwards, and that’s also been happening since the 2016 tourney.  I think despite their decline, the Spartans will come through this March.

The Pick: Michigan State

 

Round of 32 Preview

Here’s what the Round of 32 could look like:

#1 Kansas Image result for kansas jayhawks logo blue background vs. Image result for michigan state logo colored background #9 Michigan State

#4 Purdue Related image vs. Related image #5 Iowa State

#14 Iona Image result for iona gaels logo colored background vs. Image result for rhode island rams logo blue background #11 Rhode Island

#2 Louisville Image result for louisville cardinals logo colored background vs. Related image #7 Michigan

 

This would make for a very interesting and hard to pick Round of 32.  I like the potential URI has, so I’d put them in the Sweet 16.  Michigan and Michigan State will be a challenge for their opponents, but Kansas and Louisville are just too talented to be upset here, in the Second Round of the Big Dance.  Purdue and ISU would come down to the final seconds as well, but despite the potential the Cyclones have, I like Caleb Swanigan’s Boilermakers to win this game and advance to play Kansas in the Sweet 16.  Louisville and Rhode Island would play in the other Sweet 16 game.

 

And the projected Midwest champion is…

#2 Louisville Image result for louisville cardinals logo colored background

Louisville is a serious contender this year.  Why do I have them beating Kansas?  They have depth that really impresses me.  Quentin Snider, Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel have helped make the Cardinals offense amazing, and Mangok Mathiang is always there on the rebound.  This is a very well rounded team that will go far, and has a serious chance to win it all.

 

 

That’s all for Part 2 of my March Madness preview.  Next stop, the East Region.

 

 

March Madness 2017: Previewing the South Region

Welcome to Part 1 of my Round of 64 and Round of 32 previews.  This week I will be taking a look at each region and providing analysis up to the Sweet 16.  Last year, my bracket was horrendous.  My champion, Michigan State, was upset my Middle Tennessee on Day 2.  This year, I’m hoping to at least break the ASN record for the longest lasting perfect bracket, I would have to have a perfect bracket for the first 21 games.  That’s exactly one-third of the entire tournament.  It would be tough.  Now let’s get to breaking down the South Region.

If you were curious about my full bracket, here it is.  It’s full of upsets.

image1.JPG

I know, the last time I picked Louisville, I was so wrong, and I know I’ve picked them almost every year that they make it.  But this time around, they really are a talented team.  The trio of Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, and Mangok Mathiang could take this team far.  Quentin Snider has also helped this team do as well as they did.  Now, let’s take a closer look at the South.

 #4 Butler Image result for butler logo colored background vs. Image result for winthrop eagles logo colored background #13 Winthrop

Thursday 3/16 @1:30 PM EST on TNT

The Bulldogs come from a conference that I wouldn’t consider an amazing conference, at least not this year.  Villanova, Butler, and Creighton were the only NCAA Tournament locks in the Big East, and Xavier had to play their butts off in the conference tourney to grab a spot.  Meanwhile, the Eagles won their conference, but are the only team from that conference to make it.  Winthrop had an easy schedule, and I don’t see them as a team that pulls upsets, even against a mediocre and overrated contender like Butler.

The Pick: Butler

#5 Minnesota Image result for minnesota logo colored background vs. Image result for middle tennessee  logo colored background #12 Middle Tennessee

Thursday 3/16 @4:00 PM EST on TNT

Remember Middle Tennessee?  The team who absolutely shocked Michigan State last year.  They are, like Winthrop, from a small conference but they had some decent teams for their competition like Marshall (who did not make it after losing to Middle Tennessee).  The Blue Raiders also finished with an impressive 30-4 overall record including their conference tourney.  They have the potential to upset Minnesota, an overrated Big Ten team that was upset in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tourney by Michigan, who got in as just a #7 seed despite going on to win the Big Ten.

The Pick: Middle Tennessee

 

#8 Arkansas Image result for arkansas  logo vs. Image result for seton hall logo #9 Seton Hall

Friday 3/17 @1:30 PM EST on TNT

The Razorbacks really impressed me in the SEC tournament.  I did not expect them to advance to the championship.  Meanwhile, Seton Hall was a bubble team in my opinion, and I don’t know how the committee could put them as high as they are.  If they made the tournament, I thought they’d be an 11 or 12 seed.  After what Arkansas did, I don’t know if Seton Hall can beat them.  The Pirates are a notable sleeper, but this will be a tough game for them to win.

The Pick: Arkansas

 

#1 North Carolina Related image vs. Image result for texas southern logo #16 Texas Southern

Friday 3/17 @4:00 PM EST on TNT

This is a pretty obvious pick.  How often does a #16 seed beat the #1?  UNC has an especially good team this year, one of the best in the league.  They are a serious championship contender.  Meanwhile, Texas Southern rarely makes it here and wouldn’t be here if they didn’t win their conference.  They’re 23-11 in a small conference.  That is not the kind of performance that makes you an upset candidate in the NCAA Tournament.

The Pick: North Carolina

 

#7 Dayton Image result for dayton logo vs. Image result for wichita state logo #10 Wichita State

Friday 3/17 @7:10 PM EST on CBS

The Flyers have done well this year, but they got beaten by Davidson in the conference tourney’s quarterfinals, in a conference with only 3 major contenders.  The Shockers don’t have it much more difficult, but they’ve done so well in previous years.  Year after year, they are the dark horse of this tournament.  This year, they have a chance to pull an upset again.  The Shockers are always that team that upsets the top seeds.  I don’t know if they’ll get much further than the Sweet 16 or Round of 32 this year, but you never know with Wichita State.

The Pick: Wichita State

 

#6 Cincinnati Image result for cincinnati bearcats logo colored background vs. Image result for kansas state logo Related image #11 Kansas State/Wake Forest

Friday 3/17 @7:27 PM EST on truTV

Kansas State and Wake Forest are two teams that I wouldn’t have placed on my bracket this year if I was part of the selection committee.  That First Four game will be painful to watch, that’s for sure.  But I’ve made up my mind that Kansas State will advance to play Cincinnati more likely than not.  Okay, Kansas State has had a decent year, but not a year that would get them much farther than this.  The Bearcats have been very good, just barely losing to SMU in the Conference Final.  They should definitely beat whatever team they play in this round.

The Pick: Cincinnati

 

#2 Kentucky Image result for kentucky logo blue vs. Image result for northern kentucky logo #15 Northern Kentucky

Friday 3/17 @9:40 PM EST on CBS

The Wildcats seem to be in it to win it year after year in the NCAA Tournament.  A team like the Northern Kentucky Norse, who is in this tourney for the first time, is not out to get Kentucky.  If there’s any 15 over 2 seed upset that happens, it will not be this game.  In fact, I am a strong believer that this year’s 2 seeds will do very well.  Kentucky will move on to at least the Round of 32, if not further.

The Pick: Kentucky

 

#3 UCLA Image result for ucla logo colored background vs. Image result for kent state logo colored background #14 Kent State

Friday 3/17 @9:57 PM EST on truTV

UCLA has won this tourney so many times.  I’ve got to trust them to win in this round, but this year I don’t see them as a contender.  It’s just that Kent State isn’t the team to pull a mega-upset against UCLA, a good overall team with high upside.  However, if they’re not careful, they could be upset in the next round unexpectedly.

The Pick: UCLA

 

 

A Look At Later Rounds

The Round of 32 will look something like this

#1 North Carolina Related image vs. Image result for arkansas  logo #8 Arkansas

#4 Butler Image result for butler logo colored background vs. Image result for middle tennessee  logo colored background #12 Middle Tennessee

#3 UCLA Image result for ucla logo colored background vs. Image result for cincinnati bearcats logo colored background #6 Cincinnati

#2 Kentucky Image result for kentucky logo blue vs. Image result for wichita state logo #10 Wichita State

Let’s take a deeper look at these games.  I think Middle Tennessee could pull another upset here.  The Bulldogs are a team that could easily get upset.  I feel the same way about UCLA, and Cincinnati is a #6 seed that could easily make it to the Sweet 16 with a win.  Meanwhile, despite Wichita State’s chances being higher than you might think, UNC and Kentucky are too good to be upset in this round.

That would bring UNC, Kentucky, Cincinnati, and Middle Tennessee to the Sweet 16.

And the South’s projected winner is…

Related image #1 North Carolina

I’m not going to pick all #1 seeds.  But this is one conference where UNC is the dominant team, and they will advance to the final four.  I do have a lot of 2 seeds going far, but the Kentucky Wildcats will likely lose to UNC or Cincinnati before making it to the finals.  Their position on the bracket gives them a very tough schedule, which could really tire out Kentucky.

 

Next time, we’ll take a look at the Midwest.  Also be on the lookout for my next Baseball Bits this month.

 

 

March Madness Bracketology 2.0: Where We Stand As the Conference Tourneys End

It’s almost here.  Selection Sunday is tomorrow.   Conference tournaments are almost over.  Before the regular season closes, I want to share my post-regular season bracketology.  There’s still a lot to be decided, with major conferences still playing out tourneys this week, but here’s my best guess at what will happen.

Note: This bracketology is partially based on what I think will happen, and partially based on what has happened.  I abided by 3 major NCAA bracket-making rules:

  1. Conferences should be as even as possible
  2. No teams from the same conference that have played twice in the regular season/conference tournament should not face off until the Sweet Sixteen.  If they have played 3 or more times, they should not face off until the Elite Eight.
  3. The higher seeded First Four games consist of the four worst at-large teams, while the lower seeded First Four games consist of the 65-68 overall seeds.

East Region

  1. Image result for villanova logo blue Villanova
  2. Image result for kentucky logo blue Kentucky
  3. Image result for duke logo blue background Duke
  4. Image result for virginia logo Virginia
  5.  Wisconsin
  6. Related image Maryland
  7. Related image Dayton
  8. Image result for michigan wolverines logo  colored background  Michigan
  9. Image result for vcu logo  colored background VCU
  10. Image result for Virginia Tech logo Virginia Tech
  11. Image result for Syracuse logo Syracuse
  12. Image result for UNC Asheville logo colored background Image result for houston logo UNC Asheville/Houston
  13. Image result for vermont catamounts logo Vermont
  14. Image result for akron zips logo Akron
  15. Image result for bucknell logo Bucknell
  16. Related image Georgia State

Villanova and Kentucky have both been really good this year, but the competition is tougher than that here in the East.  Duke hasn’t been as good but will compete in the 3 seed they will be pushed down to.  I’m beginning to question why I even put UVA in a Top 4 seed, though.  They’ve really fallen apart, and Wisconsin has gotten better.  Below those 5 teams, there are plenty more contenders too.

I think even though Syracuse is a bubble team, they could make it pretty far if they get in.  VCU is another big sleeper, and I think they may have the capacity to beat Villanova.   Their conference rival Dayton could be another sleeper to go far, but their chances of facing off are very low because it wouldn’t happen until the Elite Eight, and it’s more likely that one or both of these teams will lose before then.  So, this conference could go in many different directions.

South Region

  1. Image result for north carolina logo  North Carolina
  2. Image result for baylor logo colored background Baylor
  3. Image result for arizona logo Arizona
  4. Image result for florida state logo red background Florida State
  5. Related image Florida
  6. Image result for cincinnati bearcats logo colored background Cincinnati
  7. Related image Miami
  8. Image result for michigan state logo colored background Michigan State
  9. Related image California
  10. Related image Arkansas
  11. Image result for utah utes logo colored background Related image Utah/Oakland
  12. Image result for florida gulf coast logo green background Florida Gulf Coast
  13.  Image result for princeton logo Princeton
  14. Image result for stpehen f austin logo colored background Stephen F. Austin
  15.  Image result for jacksonville state gamecocks logo red background Jacksonville State
  16. Image result for uc irvine logo colored background  UC Irvine

This is a decent conference.  It lacks sleeper teams.  Utah could go farther than you think, though, and Jacksonville State has a shot to go far.  At the top, North Carolina definitely earns the 1 seed after last night’s win.  Baylor and Arizona are interchangeable, but will both get high seeds and go far.  FSU, Florida, and Cincinnati aren’t major contenders but will also be tough to beat.

If there are upsets, it’s either going to be barely any or a lot.  Jacksonville State, FGCU, and Princeton are all in the position to pull an upset, but they may not be able to pull it off.  I like the potential this conference has to surprise us, but realistically this conference is probably going to a high seed.

Midwest Region

  1. Image result for kansas logo Kansas
  2. Image result for louisville logo  Louisville
  3. Related image Purdue
  4. Image result for west virginia logo colored background West Virginia
  5. Image result for notre dame logo colored background Notre Dame
  6. Related image Iowa State
  7. Related image Wichita State
  8. Image result for south carolina gamecocks logo colored background South Carolina
  9. Image result for minnesota logo colored background Minnesota
  10. Image result for xavier logo blue background Xavier
  11. Related image Middle Tennessee
  12. Image result for unc wilmington logo green background UNC Wilmington
  13. Image result for boise state logo colored background Boise State
  14. Image result for iona logo colored background Iona
  15. Image result for winthrop eagles logo colored background Winthrop
  16. Image result for eastern tennessee state logo Image result for northern kentucky logo ETSU/Northern Kentucky

This conference isn’t as good as the Midwest, and there aren’t too many sleepers in this conference, but there are a couple notable teams.  Kansas was upset, but will still dominate in a number one seed.  Louisville is also a major contender, and I’m pretty high on them.  There are no other teams that I can guarantee will go far, but a lot of teams will have a chance.

Watch out for Wichita State, Middle Tennessee, and UNC Wilmington too.  They could all pull some unexpected upsets.  Wichita State has surprised many teams before, and Middle Tennessee pulled the biggest upset of the entire 2016 tournament.  UNC Wilmington almost upset Duke last year good.

West Region

  1. Image result for gonzaga logo Gonzaga
  2. Image result for oregon logo Oregon
  3. Image result for ucla logo UCLA
  4. Image result for butler logo Butler
  5. Related image Creighton
  6.   Saint Mary’s
  7.  SMU
  8.  USC
  9.  Northwestern
  10.  Oklahoma State
  11.  New Mexico State
  12.  Valparaiso
  13.  Weber State
  14.   South Dakota State
  15.  Texas Southern
  16.  NC Central/Mount St. Mary’s

This region is a breeding ground for upsets.  Northwestern, New Mexico State,  Valparaiso and Weber State are the four biggest March Madness sleepers in my opinion.  The other reason I think this is that Gonzaga can’t stay good forever, UCLA has won more than anyone, but they haven’t had March Madness success lately.  Butler, Creighton, SMU and Saint Mary’s are in smaller conferences and don’t have as much experience in the tourney.  I can’t really say who the favorite is here.  All I can say is nearly everyone has a chance here.
So, that’s all for this Bracketology.  Comment your thoughts and stay tuned tomorrow for Selection Sunday.

Post February Frenzy Bracketology: NC Takes 1 Seed, Florida Will Plummet

 

Related imageYesterday on CBS, the March Madness bracket committee released their current Top 16, and divided them into the 4 regions.  Here’s what it looked like:

East

  1. Image result for villanova Villanova
  2. Image result for louisville university Louisville
  3. Image result for kentucky university Kentucky
  4. Image result for ucla UCLA

 

Midwest

  1. Image result for kansas jayhawks Kansas
  2. Image result for fsu logo Florida State
  3. Image result for arizona wildcats basketball logo  Arizona
  4. Image result for duke  Duke

 

South

  1. Related image Baylor
  2. Image result for north carolina logo North Carolina
  3. Related image Florida
  4. Image result for butler logo Butler

 

West

  1. Image result for gonzaga logo Gonzaga
  2. Image result for oregon logo Oregon
  3. Image result for virginia logo Virginia
  4. Image result for west virginia logo West Virginia

That’s how things are right now, but things can change.  That’s why I’m doing a bracketology, to show how the committee will change their opinion by March.

Here it is.

East Region

Top 4

  1. Image result for villanova Villanova
  2. Image result for duke  Duke
  3. Image result for virginia logo Virginia
  4. Image result for west virginia logo West Virginia

Villanova is having a great season, so they’ll stay on top in the East.  I moved Duke to the East, mainly because they deserve a number 2 seed.  They somehow find a way to do it every year.  Then since I have Kentucky, UCLA and Louisville in other regions, I moved Virginia and West Virginia into the 3 and 4.  These are trustworthy teams that should keep their position seed-wise.

 

The Rest

 

5. Purdue

6. Michigan

7. Michigan State

8. California

9. Maryland

10. VCU

11. Ohio State

12. UNC Wilmington

13. Princeton/Penn State

14. Vermont

15. Bucknell

16. Monmouth

 

Michigan State is an intriguing sleeper, so are many of the teams in the East such as California, Maryland, Michigan and VCU.  However, the top 4 are pretty good, and I don’t know if these teams will be able to beat them to advance to the Final Four.

 

Midwest Region

The Top 4

  1. Image result for kansas jayhawks Kansas
  2. Image result for louisville university Louisville
  3. Image result for wisconsin logo Wisconsin
  4. Image result for notre dame logo Notre Dame

Kansas will stay on top as they are by far one of the best in NCAA Basketball.  Louisville comes in at Number 2 because they could be a huge sleeper to win the championship.  Wisconsin and Notre Dame have also had really good seeds, and I think the selection committee will give each of them a second look when making the final rankings.  Wisconsin has a good schedule ahead of them, and Notre Dame has at least been good enough for a low end 4 or 5 seed.

 

The Rest

 

5. Butler

6. Iowa State

7. Saint Mary’s

8. Indiana

9. Xavier

10. Northwestern

11. Valparaiso

12. Florida Gulf Coast/Utah

13. Syracuse

14. Akron

15. North Dakota State

16. Georgia State

 

There are a lot of good teams in this region.  Butler is a snub for a higher seed, and there are plenty of other talented teams in the region.  Valparaiso is one team that didn’t make March Madness last year, but has had a much better season in 2016-17 and could thrive in this year’s tournament.  Northwestern, Xavier and Indiana have also looked pretty good.  If someone can beat Kansas, it could be anyone moving on to the Final Four.

 

South Region

The Top 4

  1. Image result for north carolina logo North Carolina
  2. Image result for kentucky university Kentucky
  3. Image result for fsu logo Florida State
  4. Image result for arizona wildcats basketball logo  Arizona

I think North Carolina has a really good season ahead of them and will take over the Number 1 seed.  They will be hard to beat, but Kentucky will also be a contender as they move up to the 2 seed.  Florida State and Arizona will stay in the Top 16 overall, but the success they’ve had this season won’t continue, and they were a little overrated in the Bracket Preview.

 

The Rest

 

5. Florida

6. Cincinnati

7. Dayton

8. South Carolina

9. Miami

10. SMU

11. Middle Tennessee

12. Jacksonville State

13. Texas Southern

14. Belmont

15. New Orleans

16. NC Central/Furman

 

After shocking Michigan State in the 2016 first round, Middle Tennessee could be a sleeper to go pretty far.  This region will also boast some of the better high seeds.  Florida, Cincinnati and Dayton could be tough competitors for teams like Florida State and Arizona.  This region is really anybody’s to win, but North Carolina is looking like the favorite.

 

West Region

The Top 4

  1. Image result for gonzaga logo Gonzaga
  2. Related image    Baylor
  3. Image result for ucla UCLA
  4. Image result for oregon logo Oregon

Gonzaga is undefeated and should stay on top unless disaster occurs.  I think Baylor may fall a little bit but they get the Number 2 here easily.  I also think UCLA will move up to the Number 3.  You can’t underestimate a good season from the all time leaders in national championships.  They will bounce back from missing last year’s tourney.  With all these teams rising, Oregon will lose a little steam, but they will still be in the Top 4 of the West.

 

The Rest

 

5. Creighton

6. USC

7. Wichita State

8. Arkansas

9. Minnesota

10. New Mexico State

11. Boise State

12. UNC Asheville

13. TCU

14. Weber State

15. UC Davis

16. Nevada/Mount St. Mary’s

I’m surprised Creighton wasn’t in the Top 16.  Creighton has had a great come back season and will get a Top 5 seed.  Remember when Wichita State was good?  I sure do, and they may show some of that if they can make their way to the Sweet 16. However, they would play New Mexico State, who i value as a big sleeper to go far as well.  The Shockers were in a similar case in last year’s match-up against Arizona, but shocked them like they used to do, and went to the Round of 32.  This could be the place where a lot of upsets happen.

 

So, there you have it.  After Selection Sunday, be on the lookout for my March Madness preview.  It will take a look at some of the best potential and set match-ups.

March Madness:Recap So Far

March Madness.  The upsets, the big wins, and the amazing comebacks.  The sweet 16 approaches today.  I’ll be recapping everything leading up to today.  I’m not rooting for any team, so my predicted winners are the teams I want to win.  See my ESPN bracket at http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/2015/en/entry?entryID=4442153                      

So it started with 68 teams, ant the first four.  I was off to a good start picking Ole Miss over BYU and Dayton over Boise State.  I did not however pick Hampton or Robert Morris in the first four.  Well, the real madness starts in the round of 64.  For the most part, things went as planned.  But a few upsets that didn’t happen and a few that did should be noted.  Butler defeated Texas, I predicted Texas in a big upset there.  Another busted upset was Ole Miss beating Xavier.  Xavier won, going on to play a team you wouldn’t believe.  Baylor suffered a big round of 64 upset to Georgia State.  I predicted the upset of Ohio State beating VCU correctly, and the UCLA upset over SMU.  But, I didn’t see UAB over Iowa State coming.  That was a big surprise, losing me the first of my elite eight.  Two more upsets to go.  I successfully picked Dayton over Providence.  But, I also predicted Wyoming over Northern Iowa, which was so far from actually happening.  I had done very well as we moved on to the round of 32.  Early on, I lost one of my final four as Wichita State upset Kansas.  I also predicted an upset which didn’t happen, Iowa over Gonzaga.  Then, I predicted a huge upset correctly.  Michigan State, who would supposedly be my alternate champion for Louisville if they win the elite eight match between them if it happens, which at this point it probably will, unless Oklahoma beats Michigan State, because North Carolina State cannot beat Louisville.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention, i couldn’t predict Villanova suffering an upset to North Carolina State.  Maybe they have another big upset knocking some of my best teams out.  Otherwise, any other matches where two teams I predicted to play played went as planned for the second time.  The Sweet 16 will consist of eight more match ups for me to hope my predicted winner will win.  Want to share your bracket?  Leave the link in comments, and I’ll be sure to check it out.  I’m expecting unlike myself, at least one third of the people I’ll see have picked Kentucky to win.  I think Kentucky has its weaknesses though, just like any other NCAA team.