JB and I will collaborate on a LezBeHonest NCAA Bracket before Thursday, but with the brackets being revealed today, here are my initial thoughts on the tournament this year. You won’t here much argument from me in terms of the tournament “snubs”; honestly, the committee who created the bracket this year were right on the money. The only possible problem I have is with Drexel, Washington, and Seton Hall not being in the field of 68. However, it is hard for me to decide which team I would take out in place of one of the three above teams into the tournament. Iona, BYU, and South Florida are the three teams that are questionable ones, but they are so closely comparable to the top three “snubs” that it is hard to find fault with the tournament picking committee. As poorly as I think of the NCAA and its governing committee’s, I do applaud their efforts in picking truly the best 68 teams this year.
Looking at the Bracket itself, Kentucky wasn’t given any favors with their Southern part of the bracket. To get to the final four, which I think Kentucky will, they have to play some very high quality opponents. The Wildcats will ultimately have to beat a great mid-major team in Wichita State relatively early in the tournament, and will eventually have to go through the Dukies to get to Bourbon Street. They will definitely be tested, like all the teams in the tournament will, but I see Kentucky moving on and getting very far in this tournament. The Wildcats are the odds on favorites to win this thing this year after all.
In the Western part of the bracket the favorites are Missouri and Michigan State who own the top two seeds. As good as Michigan State are, they were the Big Ten Champs, but I’m a believer in this Missouri Tigers team. They play such an up-tempo and different style of basketball that they are a tough matchup for any team, even Michigan State. I know this will kill my counter-part JB, but I think Missouri may be a sleeper team to win it all. The rest of the region has other dark horses such as: Louisville, Murray State, and Marquette. This will be an interesting region as well, I see Murray State making a run, but Missouri and Michigan State are the front-runners in the West.
Out in the Eastern region Syracuse and Ohio State are the top seeds, this is a very difficult region as well. Clearly I’m a biased Buckeyes fan, but this region really sets up nicely for the Bucks. West Virginia and Florida State are both going to be tough outs, but as long as DeShaun Thomas and William Buford are making their shots, OSU is the team to beat. I’m not writing off Syracuse at all, I actually think they have the easiest pathway to the Elite Eight, but a matchup with Wisconsin or possibly Vanderbilt could deter the Orange’s chances. To me, this region is the most wide-open because of all the inconsistent teams within the region, but once again I will take the chalk, it’s either Syracuse’s or Ohio State’s for the taking. However, I don’t think counting out Florida State would be a very good idea.
The Midwest region in my opinion may be the easiest bracket for the chalk: Kansas and North Carolina. However, the teams in the bracket are relatively unknown so this region will involve the most amount of research for the hardcore bracketologists. Admittedly, I haven’t watched much of the teams in this bracket like Saint Mary’s, San Diego State, Creighton, Ohio, and Temple who very well could make deep runs in the Midwest region. However, I am going to take the chalk again, but that may just be because I really want to see Kansas and UNC play each other. The story line of Roy Williams coaching against his old team in the Elite Eight would be every sports writers dream.
Much more to come about March Madness, so stay tuned, it’s going to be a crazy ride.