Bracket Time…Here’s My Two Cents

So when it comes to NCAA Tournament time everybody is always looking for input on how to fill out their brackets.  In my family I’m always the go-to guy because I work in sports.  That system led to me texting my brother things in all caps yesterday as he told me he had Louisville in the Final Four.  It was a typo….thank goodness.  Below is a rundown of my NCAA Tournament bracket.  Take it for what it’s worth.  Yes, I am a college basketball broadcaster in addition to what I do with the Pelicans, BUT (there’s always a but) I worked for a team in the Northeast Conference this year and thusly have been exposed mostly to teams not in the field.  That exposure also makes me think LIU could upset Michigan State in the first round in an historic upset…so just keep that all in mind here.  Anyways – here we go.

SOUTH REGION

Round of 64 Winners

Kentucky, Iowa St, Wichita St, Indiana, UNLV, Baylor, Notre Dame, Duke

– Yeah, I know, it’s all chalk.  I did seriously consider UConn here based on the fact that Jim Calhoun is back, but the Big-12 is a seriously good conference and Iowa St had some big win, plus I like the fact that they’ve got a hodgepdge of transfers from different schools.  Take it or leave it.

ROUND of 32 WINNERS

Kentucky, Wichita St, Baylor, Notre Dame

– I took Wichita over Indiana.  Big 10 teams never seem to do well in this thing and the Hoosiers are young.  I took Notre Dame over Duke because I’ve just never liked Duke.  I love Mike Brey and the BIG EAST and we don’t know about Ryan Kelly’s health.

SWEET 16 WINNERS

Kentucky and Baylor

Notre Dame’s run ends here.  Baylor is too good…again, the Big-12 thing.  Kentucky is Kentucky.  Wichita St’s mini-run is cute, but not good enough to shock the top team.

ELITE EIGHT WINNER

Kentucky

I thought long and hard about taking Baylor…and I may still before the final deadline, but how can you not put UK through…they’re just that good.  That and I do have lingering reservations about Baylor and how good they really are…remember they stumbled after starting 45-0 (or something like that).

WEST REGION

Round of 64 Winners

Michigan St, Memphis, Long Beach, Louisville, Murray St., Marquette, Florida, Mizzou

– Again I considered taking LIU over Michigan St.  Then I woke up.  I like St. Louis over Memphis and the A-10 is a better league than Confernece-USA, but I think Memphis is underseeded and could actually take out MSU in the next round.  The Beach provides our first big upset.  In Casper Ware, they’ll have the best player on the court and I’m not on the New Mexico bandwagon.  Also, I was on that wagon last year and got very disappointed.  Everything else is as you’d expect.  I thought about taking Iona over Marquette…then Iona forgot about the second half last night.

ROUND of 32 WINNERS

Michigan St, Louisville, Murray St., Mizzou

– Michigan St. ALWAYS goes to the Final Four….ALWAYS.  So I put them through despite my reservations.  Also – the last two times MSU was a No. 1 seed the Spartans went to the Final Four and in ’00 won it all.  I am concerned with Murray St.  They are 30-1 but have beaten NOBODY.  There was a time when you could look at the last two months of the Racer’s schedule see one, count it, one above .500 team.  But they’re stll 30-1.  So they’re through.  I like Mizzou.  The Tigers advance.

SWEET 16 WINNERS

Michigan St and Mizzou

1 vs. 2.  Sorry upset lovers.

ELITE EIGHT WINNER

Michigan St.

I have learned to never pick against Tom Izzo.

EAST REGION

Round of 64 Winners

Syracuse, K-State, Vandy, Wisky, Cincinnati, Florida St, West Virginia, Ohio St.

– Really tempted to take Asheville over Syracuse. Then I woke up again.  I thought long and hard about Harvard over Vandy.  Vandy is the darling of all after winning the SEC….and I never feel comfortable with that pick.  West Virginia pulls an upset over the Zags here too.  Fear the Beard….and they have a guy named Truck and Kevin Jones.

ROUND of 32 WINNERS

Syracuse, Vandy, Florida St., OSU

– Could Syracuse lose here?  Yes, in Fab-ulous fashion.  BUT, you have to consider this — Even without Fab Melo, Syracuse is still better than 55 teams in this bracket.  In fact they could still win a title.  Vegas dropped their odds from 10-1 to 12-1, so lets be real here.  I’m taking my hometown Orange.  Vandy wins because I hate the B10 in this tournament.  Cincinnati is playing great and Yancy Gates is the size of four people, too bad FSU has four people his size.  Ohio State gets a hard battle and beats WVU in overtime.

SWEET 16 WINNERS

Syracuse and Florida St

– Again, call me crazy..but Syracuse is still a good team.  That and Vandy is the hot team — too hot for my blood.  It’s one thing to be the hot team, it’s another to be the trendy hot team.  Also, let’s play bracket strategy.  Vandy I think loses to FSU so this pick, if wrong, wont cost you too many points down the road…if you’re right, nobody else will have Syracuse here because they’re all haters.  Play the numbers game and take the risk with me!

ELITE EIGHT WINNER

Florida St.

I really want to still pick SU here….and I may.  But how long can it last?  FSU is just too big in the middle and beat down UNC, which is full of trees.  The Orange dream dies here…while Fab Melo watches from home.  Actually, hopefully he’s studying and only catches the hilites on SportsCenter….but only after he’s done studying.

MIDWEST REGION

Round of 64 Winners

UNC, Creighton, USF, Michigan, SD State, Georgetown, St. Mary’s, Rock Chalk Jayhawk

– Only surprise here is USF.  I like the Bulls.  They’re won a lot more than they should have this season and there’s got to be a reason for it.  Anybody who wins 20 games in the BIG EAST is okay in my book.

ROUND of 32 WINNERS

UNC, Michigan, SD State, Kansas

– Only shock here is SD State.  Georgetown just doesn’t do much for me.  They’re not that sexy.  I really think it’s a bad year for 3-6 seeds making deep runs overall.  Just don’t have a good feeling around them.

SWEET 16 WINNERS

UNC, Kansas

– UNC beats Michigan because of my Non-MSU Big10 rule.

ELITE EIGHT WINNER

Kansas

Thomas Robinson talks like a man possessed.  I like Kansas and I don’t like that John Henson might not be totally healthy.

FINAL FOUR

I’ve got two No. 1’s, a No. 2 and a No. 3.  I have Kentucky and Kansas in the final.  Kentucky is just better than MSU I think and Florida State in a national title game, no really?  KU is my national champion.  Kentucky is everybody’s pick and I’m a firm believer that everybody’s pick never wins and that the best team also never wins.  Sorry Kentucky.  Rock Chalk K-U…Wooo!

—-

Notes here:  I know I don’t have a ton of upsets or a deep running cinderella….but in all honesty, it’s actually not that common for crazy things to happen deep in the tournament.  I did some digging and have a feeling that George Mason and VCU are the exception…not the rule.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it makes me feel better about picking a mostly chalk Sweet 16.

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