I’m only posting these since they’ve been requested because, frankly, I haven’t a clue as to who will win this year. In a way, this means it’s more fun. In another way, it feels strange because I can’t think of a scenario other than a 16 seed making a deep run that would leave me shocked.
Most of the “experts” have played it safe and gone with the odd-on, year-long favorites: Duke, UConn, and Nova. UCLA is getting a lot of respect because they’re hot. Conversely, Memphis and Tenn are not. The Vols have showed a chink in their amour by losing 4 games down the stretch but we shouldn’t forget this team slaughtered Texas a couple of months ago. This, however, didn’t seem to affect anyone with ‘Nova, who were waxed in their conference tourny and are still the media’s darling. Memphis has done nothing wrong other than play in a weak league. And they easily handled UCLA early in the season but, granted, it’s a shadow of the current Bruin squad.
I’m assuming a few things in my picks. First, with an apology to a completely irrational Dicky V, the ACC sucks this year. Check the NIT for confirmation. Virginia is blown out by Stanford; Wake gets pummled by Minnesota. The Big 12 is also down. I mean, Texas lost by 30 to Duke and 20-something to Tenn at home! The Big 10 is tough, and maybe too tough. All this beating each other up has their teams hobbling into the dance. UConn lost in the first round of their tourament, a scenario that no team has overcome to win a title.
So let’s get to it:
Duke, George Washington, Syracuse (uber hot), LSU, West Virginia (tough win), NW State (yep), Cal, and Texas (though I’m not sure about this).
Duke (could lose here, very real), LSU (big, strong and how long can Syr stay hot anyway?), West Virginia (all on whether their shooting comes back around), Texas (who isn’t that good but matches up well against Cal).
LSU (ACC sucks, remember), West Virginia (if they made it this far their touch has come back).
LSU (they’re not great but big and strong and nobody’s that great.)
Memphis (could be tough), Ark (hot), Pitt (also tough), Kansas, Indiana, Zags, Marquette (bama lost to Kentucky, fer chrissakes!), UCLA
Arkansas (hot matters a lot and second rounds are always difficult), Pitt (Kansas is hot, but very young), Zags (very real upset here with Indiana playing inspired, but I want Gonzaga cause their fun), UCLA (tough 2nd round again)
Pitt, UCLA (if just for the cool Howland factor)
UCLA (defense, baby)
UConn, UAB (Ketucky would be more at home in the NIT, sorry Ashley), UDub, Illi, G.Mason (which MSU shows up?), UNC, Witchita St (for real), Tenn
UAB (2nd round thing again. hey, it’s better than they did in their conference), Wash (take the better shooting superstar here), UNC (I guess, the Heels youngsters could fall at any time), Tenn (tough game. toss up. If Tenn wins, look out)
Washington (senoirs n’ stuff, plus a bit o’ revenge), Tenn
Tenn (if just for the next game)
Nova, Arizona (somehow), Nevada, Pacific (BC looks great but remember that conference), Wis-Mil (Okies could win but can always lose too), Fla, G’Town (no picnic and a boring game at that), OSU
Nova, Nevada, Fla, OSU (someone from the Big 10 has to survive)
Nova, Fla (Billy ball is back)
Nova (if just for the next game)
LSU is that kind of team that gives UCLA trouble. Therefore, UCLA wins
Oh, yeah. Two little teams running around pressing with smaller starting line-ups than most high schools. This’ll be fantastic. Go with the seniors… Nova
Trendy pick but, again, going with age of inspiration. UCLA will be back. Could be a while for Nova.