Bracket'd -- South Region
- (1) Duke vs. (16) Delaware St. -- Friday - Charlotte, NC
I know Delaware is the Blue Hens, but I have no clue what the mascot for Delaware is. That's about the extent of analysis that's required to pick Duke in the 1 vs. 16 match up.
- (8) Stanford vs. (9) Mississippi St. -- Friday - Charlotte, NC
The Bulldogs were a pre-season national title contender who got absolutely embarrassed by Alabama early in SEC play. They've played a much tougher schedule than the Cardinal, and only have one "bad loss." Stanford took a while to find their identity after their magical season last year. They'll still be looking on Friday.
Prediction: Mississippi St.
- (5) Michigan St. vs. (12) Old Dominion -- Friday - Worcester, MA
The Spartans looked terrible in their loss to Iowa in the Big Ten tourney, but that's good news. They still almost won, despite being 15 of 30 at the free throw line against an opponent who's better than ODU. ODU's best victory came at the hands of last year's #1 seed, St. Joe's. They haven't faced anyone the caliber of MSU.
Prediction: Michigan St.
- (4) Syracuse vs. (13) Vermont -- Friday - Worcester, MA
The Orange are on a lot of experts lists as a sleeper team to make the Final Four. The tandem of McNamara and Hakim Warrick is a good one, but when a team relies on so much of their offense to got through just two players they are asking for trouble. The Mounties have one helluva player on their side in Taylor Coppenrath. Mid-Majors with a dominant player usually do fairly well in the tourney. If Vermont can figure out the 2-3 zone of Cuse, they'll take 'em out.
Prediction: Syracuse, but I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them go down.
- (6) Utah vs. (11) UTEP -- Thursday - Tucson, AZ
Andrew Bogut is being touted as the probable #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Utah, understandably, likes to work their offense through him. UTEP likes to keep an up tempo pace, and force you to play their game. This should be a good match up of contrasting styles. If Bogut gets in early foul trouble UTEP could romp.
- (3) Oklahoma vs. (14) Niagara -- Thursday - Tucson, AZ
Bah, Blogger just ate the whole rest of this write-up. I don't wanna re-write everything. Oklahoma>Niagara, How's that for concise analysis.
- (7)Cincinnati vs. (10) Iowa -- Thursday - Indianapolis, IN
I believe, I can't find anything to back me up on this, that in my lifetime, Iowa has only lost one opening round NCAA game. Cincinnati has a history of underachieving come March.
- (2) Kentucky vs. (15) E. Kentucky -- Thursday - Indianapolis, IN
The tourney committee had to have a sly little smile on their face when they made this pairing. This pod should have a great turnout with Illinois, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Iowa and E. Kentucky all well within driving distance
- (1) Duke vs. (9) Mississippi St. -- Sunday - Charlotte, NC
This is why I like the pod system. Overall there are more things I like about it than hate about it, but that's a whole separate issue. Duke gets practically a home game with one catch. Carolina is playing the game immediately before or after. Usually the tournament crowds root for the underdog, but usually they don't have the voice of 1/4 of the stadium filled with fans of your worst rival. It's gonna be a fun environment
- (5) Michigan St vs. (4) Syracuse -- Sunday - Worcester, MA
A few keys to this game
Prediction: Michigan St.
- Which Paul Davis will show up?
- Can MSU shoot 'Cuse out of the 2-3 zone?
- Can they contain Hakim Warrick?
- Can MSU actually win versus a good team
- (3) Oklahoma vs. (6) Utah -- Saturday - Tucson, AZ
I'll give a little more analysis on this one. Bogut will likely match up with Bookout in one of the most intriguing battles of the second round. Oklahoma has benefited from playing tough competition all year long. I think they're one year off from competing for the title.
- (2) Kentucky vs. (10) Iowa -- Saturday - Indianapolis, IN
Iowa has shown that they can play with anyone in the nation. I'd like to pick them over Kentucky here, but I don't have enough confidence that they'll actually make it out of the first round.
- (1) Duke vs. (5) Michigan State -- Austin, TX
This is a rematch of a game played back in November, during which MSU was playing their worst stretch of basketball. MSU hasn't beaten anyone all year. I've got 'em beating 'cuse, I don't see them making it two in a row.
- (2) Kentucky vs. (3) Oklahoma -- Austin, TX
I'd love to put Kentucky through here, and set up a rematch of the fabulous 1992 regional final at the Meadowlands, but I just can't. Oklahoma is a little more experienced than Kentucky, and it should show in this game.
- (1) Duke vs. (3) Oklahoma -- Austin, TX
I hate Dook. I'm not putting them in the Final Four. It's that simple.