Bracket talk and My Predictions
Its tourney time and here come the predictions hard and fast. But first, lets get a couple things off my chest.
Lavar Ball, shut the hell up.
The NCAA committee really screwed this up. The seeding is so far off its crazy. And there are two ridiculously loaded brackets and two brackets that are a joke. They need to stop trying to keep it regional and seed teams the proper way. What is the difference in cost for a team to fly 400 miles or 1000 miles? Not enough to mess up the tournament. Also, I have said this in years past, the NCAA wants compelling games. So what do they do? They put Kentucky vs Northern Kentucky. What a coincidence that two schools from the same state play each other in the first round. Except is not a coincidence, its a story line to get people to tune in. They put North Carolina, UCLA, and Kentucky into the same bracket so that the biggest schools are forced to play each other. Its stupid and it ruins the purity of the tournament. And then the seeding is wrong. Ken Pom has Wichita State as the 8th best team in the country. They are a 10 seed? Are you kidding me? They are 30-4 overall, won their conference and their conference tournament. They are ranked #20 in the country. And they are a 10 seed? That means the committee had them between #37-#40. Thats ridiculous.
So lets break down the brackets.
Before I start, I hate my bracket and have no confidence in it. Some years I feel confident, this year I definitely do not.
As a Duke fan I hate this bracket. This is one of the two hard brackets. Villanova, Wisconsin, Virginia, Florida, SMU, Baylor, and Duke. And South Carolina is a good team as well. Its crazy. Wisconsin tied for second in Big 10, lost in the final of the Big 10 tournament and is an 8 seed? Are you kidding me? The other 8 seeds are Northwestern who they just boat raced and who finished 6th in the same conference, Arkansas who is terrible and Miami who finished 9th in the ACC! Its crazy how bad the committee rated the Big 10. I know it was a down year, but this is too much. And if they lose in the second round to Villanova, then the committee will think they were right, but Villanova could easily be the best team in the country. Then you have Virginia and Florida, who I believe are the two strongest 4 and 5 seeds in the tournament, SMU who is a really good team, and then Baylor and Duke. Duke is arguably the hottest team in the country and Baylor is long and athletic and can beat anyone on any given night. I think Baylor will be too long and athletic for Duke, and I think Villanova will win the whole thing. Its crazy to have defending champ to fly under the radar but I think they repeat.
Vill, Wisky, Virg, Flor, SMU, Bay, SCar, Duke
Vill, Flor, Bay, Duke
This is one of the trash brackets. I seriously don't understand how they did this. They gave Gonzaga two free wins. They gave AZ two free wins. Its like the committee wants a rematch between Gonzaga and Arizona since they played earlier this year. The Northwestern Vandy game is an utter joke. Both teams are terrible and should have played a play in game for the 12 seed not an 8/9 game. Its embarrassing that one of these teams has to get to the second round. The last time we saw Vandy, they were being destroyed by Arkansas in the semis of the SEC tournament. Lost by 30 to Arkansas who finished 3rd in a really weak SEC tournament. And they get a 9 seed. They finished 7th in their own conference! Moving on, Notre Dame is a dangerous team and so is West Virginia. But Notre Dame is very beatable and West Virginia struggles with disciplined teams. Thats why Iowa State hurt them and why I think they won't fare well against Gonzaga or Arizona. Maryland could be tough but they are down a little from last year. And they tied with Wisconsin for second in the Big 10, Wisconsin made it further in the Big 10 tournament, and yet Maryland is 2 seeds higher. I dont get it. Florida St. to me is a lot like Baylor and West VIrginia. Long and athletic and dangerous, but also undisciplined and can lose to anyone just as easily as beating anyone. I have Notre Dame beating Gonzaga and Arizona beating Florida State. And I think Arizona is on a mission and gets to the Final Four.
Zags, Vandy, ND, WVU, MD, FSU, VCU, AZ
Zags, ND, FSU, AZ
This is the other weak bracket in my opinion. Not as weak as the west but pretty bad. I think Louisville is a really weak 2 seed (Jay Bilas has them winning the whole tournament), and Oregon is the weakest 3 seed by a mile. Did the committee not watch the Pac 12 championship game? They aren't near the team they were without Boucher. And you can't count what they have done with him because he won't be with them in the tournament. And without him they were a team who wasn't even in the game against Arizona. I think they should have fallen to a 4 or 5 seed after the injury. Then we have Michigan as a 7 seed. Wow. They went from a bubble team who finished 7th in their conference to a 7 Seed??? Are you kidding me? They should a 10 seed at most. Michigan State is ranked too high based on their past and their coach. I do like Creighton and Iowa State but I don't think either can make deep runs. I don't think Louisville is good, but because of how weak the bracket is, they will face Kansas in the elite 8 and the committee will think they got it right. They didn't. I have a Kansas team who is getting cold at the wrong time advancing because of how weak their competition will be in the bracket. If they use these first four games to right the ship, they could win it all.
KU, Mia, ISU, Per, Crei, Ore, Mich, Louis
KU, ISU, Crei, Louis,
This is the other loaded bracket and again, the committee screws over good teams by making them play each other early in the tournament. Lets go down the list. UNC some people think will win it all. Kentucky, won the SEC, UCLA is quite possibly the scariest team in the tournament, Wichita State is a quality 30 win team, Cincinnati is really good. You probably don't know but they finished second in the American Athletic Conference, one game behind SMU, and 29-5 overall. and they are a 6 seed. Butler is a quality team, they beat Villanova twice. I have less confidence about this bracket than any other. But I have to pick. So I'm taking Wichita State to upset Kentucky, which I have then losing to UCLA. But UCLA could easily lose to Cincinnati. I have Butler beating Minnesota who also lost a key player to injury. And when I say key player, I mean I don't know his name and don't care enough to look it up. If I had any balls I would have Minnesota losing in the first round. I have UNC beating Butler and then UNC beating UCLA. Its so funny because as you pick your bracket, the match-up means everything. So if you get one wrong, then that match-up doesn't exist and maybe the team you had losing has a favorable match-up against the other team. So I think that UNC is a bad match-up for UCLA. UNC is just a little bigger and more athletic than UCLA at every position and UNC shoots a little better as well. I think they beat UCLA by 10 or so.
UNC, SH, Minn, But, Cinci, UCLA, Wich, Kent
UNC, But, UCLA, Wich
Villanova, Arizona, Kansas, UNC
Again, I think Villanova and UNC are bad match-ups for Arizona and Kansas. And I think Villanova repeats. I think UNC is a little overrated, but has match-ups that they can win against.
Oh and if I win the billion, I will give a million to whoever read my blog. My money is safe.