Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bumpy ride

This is going to be a crazy tournament. It is recognized that there are only a handful of teams that can win the tournament. In no particular order they are Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke and West Virginia. I think I agree with this; however that does not mean I think these teams will make it to the Final Four. I do think the National Champion will come from this five, but I absolutely believe we won’t see all four number one seeds make the Final Four. No way, that is going to happen, yet that is what all the experts are predicting.

Check out these predictions when the brackets first came out:

Jay Bilas – Kansas, Syracuse, West Va, and Villanova
Digger Phelps – Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky and Villanova
Hubert Davis – Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, and Duke
Dickie V – Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Villanova

We would all be so lucky if this final four was all 1’s and 2’s. This simply won’t happen. There is really no dominant team and they all have flaws. One or two or possibly three of these top five teams will stumble along the way and brackets across America will be destroyed.

If there is one bracket to go out on a limb and predict destruction it is the South. They have the weakest #1 in Duke. Villanova is in a free fall right now losing 5 of their last 7. I like Baylor, but are they really a final four team? They might be. Purdue is done! They are a different team without Hummel and would be lucky to get the sweet 16. I think they lose their first round game. Texas A&M could surprise some teams and make a nice run. Louisville or Cal could win a few games too. You could throw in Richmond for good measure as well. This bracket is weak and will shake up the whole tournament. I think the South could possibly ruin the tournament. We all like a good Cinderella, but just make sure that Cinderella is eliminated prior to the final four. George Mason made the final four awful and non-competitive. It gives a free pass to the Finals for one team. I think that will happen again this year.

Don’t assume that this free pass will be delivered to Kentucky or West Virginia. They could get tripped up as well. Kentucky has been tested all year and they have passed all tests. They don’t panic. But, they are very young. Did you see John Wall celebrate and tackle Cousins after he made the basket to “tie” the SEC championship game? Wall had a mental lapse and thought they won the game. He is young and a “Chris Webber” moment is coming. West Virginia is plagued by poor point guard play. In addition, their best offense is to throw the ball up and go get it. They are a force on the offensive boards. They play like me. Nobody wins a championship that plays like me. Watch out for Wisconsin in the East.

The Midwest has the most talented teams, but that really does not affect Kansas until they play one in the Great 8. The bottom part of this bracket is tough. It is a real shame because I like Georgetown and Ohio State. The Hoyas should have been a #2 seed in another bracket. Put them in the South and they are everyone’s final four team. Good teams will go home early in the Midwest bracket. The one left standing that plays Kansas should be commended, but they will have paid the price to get there.

Watch out for BYU in the West. I think they get by Florida and will give KSU a run for their money. Xavier, Murray State and UTEP are good bets for the sweet 16. Syracuse should get to the final four here, assuming they are healthy. Their zone will be tough to prepare for in a short tournament. They likely won’t run into any Big East teams familiar with their zone until the Final four, if at all.

Ultimately we have to put someone in the brackets, so here is mine.
Midwest: Kansas over Ohio State
West: Syracuse over Kansas State
East: West Virginia over Wisconsin
South: Baylor over Texas A&M

I think Syracuse and Kansas are the two best teams in the country and since everyone likes Kansas, I will go with Syracuse to cut down the nets over West Virginia.

Good luck!


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