One time in high school I correctly predicted six of the final eight and three of the Final Four, including both finalists (I was wrong about the outcome, alas). I’m convinced the guy who was running the pool that year was corrupt and claimed I finished second behind him. Ever since then, it’s been all downhill for me. You will do better betting on all of the higher seeds than following what I am picking, I assure you. That is, hypothetically betting, of course. We all know sports betting is illegal and that we should never engage in such tomfoolery.
I’ll go chronologically through the next two days and then hit the later rounds region by region. It’s late and I’m short on pithy comments, though I’ll be sure to chime in during all the action this weekend.
Thursday afternoon, March 15:
#4 Maryland over #13 Davidson (Midwest) — I’m picking all 1-4 seeds to advance initially because the odds of getting a 13, 14 or 15 right are so low.
# 10 Texas Tech over #7 Boston College (East) — BC has looked really bad the last few weeks, and I can’t see them turning it around, even if Tech looked pretty putrid itself in the Big 12 tourney.
#6 Louisville over #11 Stanford (South) — People think Stanford doesn’t belong here, and Louisville nearly made the Big East finals last week and has looked good lately.
#3 Washington State over #14 Oral Roberts (East) — Some like Oral Roberts, I’m assuming based on the memory of these guys beating Kansas back in November.
#12 Old Dominion over #5 Butler (Midwest) — I really have no idea, just feeling the 12 seed upset.
#2 Georgetown over #15 Belmont (East) — Hoyas are a hot pick because they’ve been so hot.
#3 Texas A&M over #14 Penn (South) — Senior guards are key in March, and Acie Law may be the best senior guard in the country, leading many to pick the Aggies to make a run.
#6 Vanderbilt over #11 George Washington (East) — GW only got here because Xavier lost in the A-10 tournament and the Colonials got the automatic bid. Colonials vs. Commodores, baby!
#1 Ohio State over #16 Central Connecticut (South) — I’m guessing Central Conn. lacks a Greg Oden stopper on the roster.
#6 Duke over #11 Virginia Commonwealth — Much as I would like to see the Devils go down like everyone else, they are too disciplined for that to happen.
#2 UCLA over #15 Weber State (West) — UCLA was the #2 in the West last year and they made the final game. I think they liked the rest they got by losing early in the Pac 10 tournament.
#9 Michigan State over #8 Marquette (East) — The Golden Eagles’ defensive stopper is still out injured, and Tom Izzo always gets his guys to overachieve in the tournament.
#3 Pittsburgh over #14 Wright State (West) — Panthers need to get their mojo back after being destroyed by Georgetown on Saturday.
#8 Brigham Young over #9 Xavier (South) — Yeah, this could go either way and I have nothing to say.
#7 Indiana over #10 Gonzaga (West) — The Zags lose in the opening round, for once, because without the mushrooms guy they won’t have enough interior presence to counter the Hoosiers’ inside game, thus preventing a March rematch with UCLA in round two (remember Adam Morrison’s tears of a year ago).
#1 North Carolina over #16 Eastern Kentucky (East) — I wonder if Tyler Hansbrough has gotten used to playing with the mask yet.
Friday Afternoon, March 16:
#4 Virginia over #13 Albany (South) — As long as they’re not too Cavalier about it!
#7 UNLV over #10 Georgia Tech (Midwest) — Flip a coin.
#2 Memphis over #15 North Texas (South) — Absolutely no one seems to be picking Memphis, why not?
#6 Notre Dame over #11 Winthrop (East) — People seem to like this as an upset, which means they must not have watched the Big East semifinals. ND is pretty good.
#12 Long Beach State over #5 Tennessee (South) — Vols are up and down, and they drew a dreaded 5 seed, making them an upset special.
#2 Wisconsin over #15 Texas A&M-CC (Midwest) — Badgers have senior leadership from Alando Tucker, which matters.
#7 Nevada over #10 Creighton (South) — Nick Fazekas has his one shining moment.
#3 Oregon over #14 Miami (Ohio) (Midwest) — Oregon sure looked impressive last weekend.
#1 Kansas over #16 Niagara (West) — Niagara will find this a bit more difficult than the play-in game.
#5 Virginia Tech over #12 Illinois (West) — Despite the 5-12 thing, the Hokies are way better than the Illini.
#9 Purdue over #8 Arizona (Midwest) — I keep hearing about how much talent Arizona has, but I can’t see them suddenly putting it together now.
#4 Texas over #13 New Mexico State (East) — Kevin Durant’s tourney debut.
#9 Villanova over #8 Kentucky (West) — It amazes me that Tubby Smith’s job is on the line, considering he’s won a national championship at Kentucky. This game is Cats vs. Cats, which is always fun.
#4 Southern Illinois over #13 Holy Cross — I got nothin’.
#1 Florida over #16 Jackson State — The title defense begins.
#5 USC over #12 Arkansas — Another team that doesn’t belong in the dance is the Razorbacks.
The Rest of the Tournament…
St. Louis Bracket:
Second round: Florida over Purdue, Maryland over Old Dominion, Notre Dame over Oregon, Wisconsin over UNLV
Sweet Sixteen: Florida over Maryland, Wisconsin over Notre Dame
Regional Final: Florida over Wisconsin
San Jose Bracket:
Second round: Kansas over Villanova,Virginia Tech over Southern Illinois, Duke over Pittsburgh, UCLA over Indiana. (Do they know the way to San Jose?)
Sweet 16: Kansas over Virginia Tech, UCLA over Duke
Regional Final: UCLA over Kansas
East Rutherford Bracket:
Second Round: North Carolina over Michigan State, Texas over USC, Vanderbilt over Washington State, Georgetown over Texas Tech
Sweet 16: Texas over North Carolina, Georgetown over Vanderbilt
Regional Final: Texas over Georgetown
San Antonio Bracket:
Second Round: Ohio State over BYU, Virginia over Long Beach State, Louisville over Texas A&M, Memphis over Nevada
Sweet 16: Ohio State over Virginia, Memphis over Louisville
Regional Final: Ohio State over Memphis
Final Four: Florida over UCLA, Ohio State over Texas
Championship: Florida over Ohio State