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Posted on: March 17, 2011 9:39 am
Edited on: March 17, 2011 9:40 am
 

Read This Before Filling Out Your Bracket!

Here you go, my picks.  Feel free to piggyback.

Final Fours + winners:

OSU, Duke, Kansas, Mich. St. - OSU over Kansas
OSU, Duke, Kansas, Florida - Duke over Kansas
OSU, Texas, Kansas, Pitt - Kansas over OSU
OSU, Duke, Notre Dame, Florida - OSU over Florida

A few key notes :
I know Michigan State has had a terrible season, and I really hate this team.  But I picked them preseason to win it all (Mich. St. over Ohio St.) so I had to throw them a bone.  They still have the talent to pull it off.

I am big on resumes when filling out my brackets.  What have you done?  That is why I like Florida, Notre Dame, and Texas.  The evidence:
Florida - 13-3 against the field.  Non-conf wins against Kansas St. and AT Florida St. and Xavier.  Big conf wins against Georgia (twice), Tennessee (3 times), Vanderbilt (3 times), and Kentucky.  That's a heck of a resume.  The only reason I didn't pick them (at least once) to win it all is they have some bad losses .  They lost to 4 teams not in the tourney and got blown out by Kentucky in the SEC Championship.  Still, I think they have a weak draw with BYU as their 3-seed.
Notre Dame - 14-6 against the field.  Big non conf wins against Georgia and AT Wisconsin (nobody wins at Wisconsin).  All six losses came to solid tournament teams (Syracuse, Kentucky, W. Virginia, etc.).  Problem is they got knocked out against Louisville on a neutral floor in the Big East tournament.  Still worth a Final Four look.
Texas - 8-5 against the field.  Big non conf wins against Illinois and AT North Carolina and Mich. St.  Plus a win AT Kansas.  This team is as talented as anyone, but they are YOUNG.  Their best players are freshmen, so what happens when they are matched up against Coach K and Nolan Smith? 

Teams that a lot of people will pick that I don't like:
Kentucky - Calipari has NEVER won against a higher seed.  End of story.
Syracuse - Unless Carmelo Anthony shows up, they will not make the Final Four.
North Carolina - Oh, the ACC... bad, bad, BAD league.  They have ONE non conf win: against Kentucky at home.  Other than that, who have they beaten? Clemson?  Florida State?  I am just not buying it.
Arizona - My goodness, I hope I am in some pools with people picking these chumps.  They are 4-6 against the field with all four wins coming against other Pac 10 schools (UCLA, Wash, and USC twice).  Did you watch USC lose to VCU last night?  Plus, 'Zona has lost every big road game including BYU and Oregon State (that's right, the Beavers).
San Diego State - Best win of the season?  At California, who finished in 5th place in the aforementioned Pac 10. 
UConn - I love Kemba Walker, but one man can only do so much.  I just hope the CAVS are watching when it comes time to make their pick in June.
Purdue - Does anyone remember them losing to Richmond earlier this year?  How about Iowa a couple weeks ago?  Watch out for St. Peters!
Louisville - I like, but don't love, Louisville.  This was the closest team to making the other list.
BYU - Slightly better than SDSU, but not by much.  Plus, they lost their second best player to suspension.
PITT - This is the big one!  They have a nice resume with a 10-5 record against the field and a non conf win against Texas.  BUT, two things: #1 Pitt has won 20 games nine years in a row.  9 years!  What do they have to show for it?  One Elite 8 and that's it.  #2 They lost their first game of their conf tourney.  When is the last time a team did that and then went on to the Final Four?  Answer: NEVER.

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 16, 2011 8:19 am
 

Bold Predictions

Updated on 2/15, collegerpi.com has the following brackets:

East:
1. Pitt
2. Duke
3. Conn
4. Purdue

Southeast:
1. Ohio St.
2. BYU
3. GTown
4. NCarolina

West:
1. SDSU
2. Kansas
3. Villanova
4. Florida

SWest:
1. Texas
2. Notre Dame
3. Wisconsin
4. Syracuse

I honestly cannot see the committee giving SDSU a 1-seed over Kansas or Duke, especially if they win their respective conference tournaments. However, based on this, my Final Four would look like:

East : 2 Duke over 3 Pitt (another Elite Eight Exit for the boys from Pitts-Puke)
SEast : 1 Ohio St. over 3 GTown (I love Jimmer Fredette, but he is this year's version of JJ Redick or Adam Morrison.  I hope he fairs better in the League, but I doubt he will fair better in the tourney.  By the way, has anyone seen Morrison lately?  I heard he was living in France)
West : 2 Kansas over 13 Coastal Carolina (Yep, the 13-seed in a region with SDSU, Florida, Louisville, Illinois, and Florida St. - this is a bracket made for busting)
SWest : 1 Texas over 3 Wisconsin (I am still not 100% sold on Texas, so this could go the other way)

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 16, 2011 8:11 am
 

Upset Specials

If you want some upset specials / bracket busters for your office pool, I have a couple for you.  Keep in mind, I am not considering teams from Conference USA, Atlantic 10, Mountain West, or Missouri Valley.  Not to say they wouldn't be upsets, but these are well-established conferences with the ability to beat anyone .  It wouldn't be much of an upset special to pick Xavier to beat Illinois - know what I mean?  So, here are some true little guys who could win a game or two and become this year's cinderella:

BELMONT :  Will probably be a 14 or 15 seed, but I don't care.  Three of the four games they have lost have come against Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee - all on the road; all close games.  The second loss to Tennessee was by one point.  On a neutral floor against an overconfident, underachieving, big conference team (can you say "Georgetown?"), they could spell trouble and demolish some brackets early.

COASTAL CAROLINA :  One of their two losses was at Georgetown.  They have also beaten Charlotte and LSU - two big conference schools.  I would take them in a heartbeat as a #14 seed to knock off a #3 seed like Texas A&M or Arizona or Wisconsin.  YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 16, 2011 8:05 am
Edited on: February 16, 2011 8:06 am
 

February Madness

Enough with the NBA... What is there left to say?  LeBron and his "sidekick posse" will do what they do: party their way to a great regukar season and a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference.  Yawn.  Its time to talk college hoops! 

Some of you who could not break out of your college football cocoon were shocked at my revelation last October: "Ohio State will play for the National Championship."  The reaction was swift and furious.  "You are crazy."  "The voters hate the Buckeyes!"  "No way a one-loss team plays in the BCS Championship game!" On and on it went until a flicker of light went off in the darkest recess in the mind of one of my compadres: "You are talking about football, right?  Ummm... NO.

My prediction at that juncture was Ohio St., Michigan St., Kansas, and Duke rocking to the Final Four with MSU defeating OSU in an all-Big Ten championship game.  So, how do I feel four months (and the bulk of the regular season) later?  It would be easy to stick with 3 of those four teams, and I still think MSU could be dangerous come tourney time.  However, Tom Izzo's boys may not even make the field. 

So who will replace them in Houston come early April?  Contenders and Pretenders (in terms of the Final Four potential):

CONTENDERS :
OHIO STATE & DUKE - They have done nothing to disappoint or change my mind.  But who are the other two teams to round out the field?  That is a little more murky.
KANSAS - Keep in mind they lost in the 2nd round as a 1-seed last year and then lost Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry in the lottery.  A loss at home to Texas made me re-think.
TEXAS - Speaking of them 'Horns, this team intrigues me.  They lost in the 1st round last year and then lost 3 guys to the NBA draft.  They have re-loaded with a talented group of freshmen and they are the only BCS conference team without a loss in conference play.  Hard to pick againt 'em at this point.
PITTSBURGH - Lost in the 2nd round to Xavier as a 3-seed last year.  This team always finds a away to disappoint in March.  How many times has Pitt been a top 3 seed and never made it past the Sweet 16?  Despite that, you can't argue with the results this year as they have cruised through the Big East so far.
VILLANOVA - This team has been hit or miss over the past several seasons.  In 2009, they made the Final 4 as a 3-seed.  In 2010, they lost as 2-seed in the 2nd round to St. Mary's.  They haven't played great this year, but I have a feeling they will be a force come tournament time.
SYRACUSE - Made the Sweet 16 last year and then lost their best player (Wes Johnson).  But they have a deep, experienced team that runs an efficient system that is tough to deal with when you don't see it on a regular basis.
BAYLOR - Made a run all the way to the Elite 8 last year and replaced 1st rounder Ekpe Udoh with potential #1 pick Perry Jones.  Despite that, they have had an up-and-down season but are still talented enough to make a run depending on the bracket.
KENTUCKY - How does Calipari do it?  He loses FIVE players in the first round of the NBA draft, and then re-loads with another amazing recruiting class.  Unfortunately, this team lacks the leadership of a Patrick Patterson.  I am predicting Sweet 16 and done but there is enough talent to win it all if they stay focused.
MICHIGAN STATE - This team is too talented and deep not to make the Big Dance.  Their problem is strictly psychological.  If they can make a run in the Big Ten tournament, I would not be surprised if they get to the Final 4 as a 9 or 10 seed.

PRETENDERS :
FLORIDA, UCONN, NORTH CAROLINA, ARIZONA - I will never pick a team that didn't make the tournament one year to make the Final 4 the next.
PURDUE - They made the Sweet 16 without Robbie Hummel last year and could do he same but that's it.
WISCONSIN - Lost to Cornell last year, but always a tough out in the tourney.  Problem is, they run that slow-it-down style that keeps every game close, including the ones they lose.
NOTRE DAME - Big surprise they have done so well, considering they lost in the 1st round last year and then graduated Luke Harangody.  Two-and-done.
GEORGETOWN - Perennial tournament underachievers lost to Davidson in '08 and Ohio U. as a 2-seed last year and then lost Greg Monroe.
LOUISVILLE - Rick Pitino seems more motivated this year but another early exit from the Big East.
WEST VIRGINIA - They made a run to Final 4 last year but I can't see a repeat after they lost their two best players and leaders to the NBA in D'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks.
UTEP, SAN DIEGO STATE, UTAH STATE - Same story, different year with these teams.  Always win 25 games, never make it past the first weekend.

So, where does that leave us:
Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, Texas
Championship: Ohio State over Duke


YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST (in October!)

Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com