This has probably been one of the toughest years that I have had in filling out a bracket. Every time that you think that you have had a team figured out this season they go and show you another side. I think that Ohio State might be the toughest team in the bracket, but I saw them get beat in person. The first time I filled the bracket out I came up with way too much chalk. I then tried to find a few upsets, and ended up with a bracket that if true would have been a crazy tournament. I think that I have settled on something that is fairly realistic with a few upsets. Of course with the bracket I have always done better when I just trusted my gut. The first chalk bracket was probably the best one I came up with. This morning President Obama released his bracket so I thought I should release mine. Millions of people will see his bracket, and tens of people might see this one. Pretty similar. In fact I would bet that more people were in the room during the taping of his bracket segment then will read this.
I have seen enough coverage on the tourney the last couple of days to know that they are throwing around the term bracket ‘expert’ pretty lightly. I have been wrong enough on this blog all season that I think that I could be considered an ‘expert.’ I can make the bold Tim Doyle predictions, and then just act like nothing happened when I am wrong. If I am right though I will have a weeklong series on this blog about it.
Second Round (Formerly known as the 1st round): Let’s get to the bracket. In the East the first game is an easy pick. I think Ohio State is going to make a run this year so why would they be the first #1 seed to go down? In the second game I think that George Mason will pull off the win over Villanova. Vegas has the Patriots by one, but I have seen a lot of people picking against them. I think the Big East team goes down here. That might just be my bias coming through. I think that West Virginia will take down Clemson, and Kentucky wins easily over Princeton. Xavier will take care of Marquette. For some reason I think that Indiana State will give Syracuse a game, but ultimately lose. Washington will take care of Georgia, and North Carolina will roll.
The west is a bit more interesting. It will start off with Duke winning easily. I think that Michigan is on a roll, and they will take care of Tennessee who has had a rough season. Thankfully it will end early. Arizona will beat Memphis leading up to a very interesting game. I really want to pick Oakland to pull the upset. I have many times in coming up with this bracket. In the end I think that Texas will win, but it will be a great game. I think that Missouri will take out Cincy. Vegas has this as a push. This is a trendy upset pick, but one that I like. UConn wins as well. A game that is very interesting to me the Penn State – Temple game. Being a Big Ten fan I want to pick the Nittany Lions. They used to be the fighting Talor Battles, but they seem to be much more than that right now. They win the minor upset here. San Diego St. rounds out the first round here with the win.
Moving to the southwest. Boston will not make history this year so Kansas takes the first round win. The next game is very intriguing to me. As a Big Ten fan I have seen two distinct Illinois teams. The good one could beat this UNLV team easily. The bad one would get killed by them. I went with Illinois thinking that the good Illinois team would wake up in time for the tourney. Another upset pick comes next with Richmond over Vanderbilt. I have seen the Spiders dismantle Purdue, so I like them here. Not really rocket science, but just a gut feeling. Louisville rolls in the other game in their pod. With things looking up for them I think that Georgetown wins as well. If the games were decided by pregame trash talk Purdue would not have a chance. Thankfully they are decided by play on the court so I think Purdue wins big. To round out the bracket I think that Texas A&M and Notre Dame win.
The southeast portion of the bracket rounds out the first round. Kansas wins to start things off. The second game here is interesting. Butler was the Cinderella team last year. They started off rough this season before getting hot at the end. When the brackets came out I saw a lot of love for Old Dominion. For some reason that has shifted to Butler. I will go with Old Dominion to prevent the slipper from fitting two years in a row. Utah State might be the story this season. I have them beating Kansas State in the first round. Wisconsin is a team that intrigues me as well. I think that they could get beat in the first round, or make a run. I am picking them to beat Belmont here although I think they could get beat. Wisconsin had a terrible game in the Big Ten Tournament so everyone is picking them as an easy first round upset. This reminds me a lot of the #4 seed Purdue team last season. I think that they will prove some people wrong. This must be the upset portion of the bracket because I have Gonzaga taking out St. Johns. I would like to see a run by the Johnnies, but I don’t think it was meant to be this season. Part of me wanted to take Wofford over BYU. I just haven’t been impressed with BYU all season. They are good, but not a national power. Michigan State will continue the upsets by taking down UCLA. I will talk a bit more about them later on. Florida who got extremely lucky with their draw finishes out the first round.
Third Round: Ohio State will end any Cinderella dreams George Mason has, and Kentucky will advance as well. Syracuse will beat Xavier, and North Carolina will beat Washington to all advance to the sweet sixteen. In the west I have Duke beating Michigan. After almost having them lose in the first round I will take Texas over Arizona. UConn takes out Missouri, and San Diego State ends Penn State’s season. In the southwest Kansas beats Illinois and Louisville will beat Richmond. Purdue will continue its run by beating a Georgetown team that is getting healthy at the right time. Notre Dame will beat Texas A&M to set up a great in state matchup in San Antonio. Pitt seems to be the weakest #1 seed, but somehow got a favorable bracket. They will take out Old Dominion to move on. Wisconsin and BYU also advance easily thanks to some upsets. Here is where things get interesting. I think that Michigan State is a very good team. They were the preseason #2 team in the country. They have had a rough season, but for some reason I think they will shine in the tourney. This is where I could look like a genius or a moron. I have them taking out Florida here. I think they are poised to make a run.
Sweet Sixteen: Ohio State continues its march by beating Kentucky. The Syracuse game against North Carolina game should be interesting. I really have had a hard time picking this one. In fact I would have flopped back to Syracuse right here if I hadn’t had my bracket made already. I guess that means I have used careful consideration to chose North Carolina. They win the game with no doubt (buy that?) Texas has a knack for swooning late so I will take Duke here. I might have looked for Duke to get upset in the tourney, but they just looked so damn good in their tourney championship game. Despite everything pointing to the contrary I am taking UConn over San Diego State. I just don’t think the Aztecs will be able to cut it. Although I think it will be close Kansas moves on by beating Louisville. In a game I would love to be at Purdue beats Notre Dame. Growing up in Northern Indiana this is something that you would love to see in the tournament. I would love to pick Wisky over Pitt, but they will just be out of steam by then. Michigan State keeps the good times going by taking out BYU. Like I said this could either be crazy or make me look smart.
Elite Eight: I feel really bad about this, but I am picking all #1 seeds to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. I looked for spots where they could have been tripped up, but anything would have been a stab in the dark. I don’t think they will all make it, but I can’t see which one won’t. If Pitt had been in any other region they would have been out. They got a great draw though so they will march on to Houston. I would love to pick Purdue to march on, but I think that the great careers of JJ and Smooge will end here. I will happily be wrong about that pick.
Final Four: I think that this will be one good game, and one that is not. I think Ohio State will beat Duke, but it will not be easy. If Sullinger can continue to get calls under the basket that will be the difference. On the other side of the bracket I think that Kansas rolls over Pitt. The bracket suddenly got hard for the Panthers.
Championship game: I think that this should be a great way to end the season. In a great game I have Ohio State beating Kansas. I keep thinking of a score of around 73-66. Could that be right? Maybe. The odds are against both teams making it. That is what will make the next few weeks so great. Anything can happen. Even if this is way off I will enjoy this version of the sports fans holiday season.
If you have seen how my predictions usually go then you can totally disregard this bracket. Although I have had good luck picking the Big Ten games this season. That bias may be coming back to haunt me in the tourney. I didn’t pick one of the seven teams to lose in the first round. This is not an unbiased look at the tourney. It is the ramblings of one sports fan with internet access. Take it for what you will.