Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Pick time

I was out watching the Syracuse NIT game last night, since my cable company still deprives us of four-letter U. Thankfully, the Gator game tonight is on a station I actually get.

Well, tomorrow is the big day. It's time to look at my picks for this year's bracket. The hope is I can do as well with my game picks as I did with selecting the field. (Ha ha) I don't think lightning will strike twice, but I'm going to give it a go. Here's a link to the completed bracket.

However, before we take a look at 2008, let's take a look back at 2007.

First round: 22-10 (.688 - marginally better than 2006)
Second round: 12-4 (.750 - a game better than 2006)
Regional Semis: 7-1 (.875 far better than 2006's .250. I only missed Texas A&M.)
Regional Finals: 3-1 (.750 - far better again than 2006's .250)
Rest of the way: 2-1 (.667 - I needed a Gators-Georgetown final. Let that be a lesson to you readers, never pick a team you despise when you need them to win.)
Total tournament: 46-17 (.730, much better than the .540 I posted in 2006)

Let's move on to 2008.

Round One
North Carolina
Indiana over Arkansas. In a battle of two teams who's mental state can be questioned at the moment, take the team with superior talent.
George Mason over Notre Dame, in a close one. Luke Harangody will have his hands full with Will Thomas. Patriots need to make sure they put a body on Kyle McAlarney, however.
Washington State over Winthrop, also in a close one.
Oklahoma over St. Joseph's This game could go either way, but I like the Sooners since they're healthy, especially inside.
Butler over South Alabama Everyone is making a big deal about the Jaguars having a home court advantage in this one, but I think that's overblown. Butler is too good of a team to let that get into their heads.

Round Two
North Carolina again
Washington State ensures it won't be a repeat of 2006 for the Patriots
Butler over Tennessee, as the Vols lack of fundamentals will be exposed by a Bulldog team that's better than the one that played UF close last year.

Regional Semifinals
North Carolina over Wazzu
Louisville ends Butler's run, gaining revenge for 2003 in Birmingham.

Regional Final
North Carolina
over Louisville, though I'd be tempted to take the Cardinals if it wasn't in Charlotte.

Round One
Kent State over UNLV in one of the most intriguing matchups in the tournament.
Clemson over Villanova in a game that can go either way.
Vanderbilt will get a scare out of Siena, but survive.
USC over Kansas State in the battle of Mayo vs. Beasley. O.J. has too much healthy talent surrounding him.
Wisconsin will survive Fullerton.
Davidson over Gonzaga. The fact it's a 9:25 Pacific time start in the Wildcats backyard is bound to throw the Bulldogs.

Round Two
Kansas since they've done well against the MAC this year.
Clemson will have too much for a Vandy team that doesn't do well away from Memorial Gym.
Southern Cal's talent is too much for Wisconsin.
Georgetown ends Davidson's hopes.

Regional Semifinals
Kansas over Clemson
Georgetown over USC based on their experience.

Regional Final
over Kansas. I'm picking against the Jayhawks until a Bill Self-coached team wins a game that matters.

Round One
BYU over a very inconsistent Texas A&M team.
Western Kentucky uses the best player on the court, Courtney Lee, to get by Drake.
Connecticut over San Diego
Baylor over Purdue, even though the Boilers do pretty well against guard-oriented teams. The Bears guards are just speedier than anything they've seen.
Xavier ends Georgia's miracle run
Arizona has something to prove and a ton of talent, so they dispatch overseeded WVU.

Round Two
UCLA as the Bruins are sick of seeing the Cougars after two football meetings this year.
Xavier gets by Baylor
Duke wins an epic battle with Arizona.

Regional Semifinals
UCLA over Connecticut
Duke over Xavier

Regional Final
beats Duke based on their interior play.

Round One
Mississippi State over the overseeded Oregon Ducks.
Temple knocks an inconsistent Michigan State team out.
Pitt survives Oral Roberts' inside-outside game.
Marquette over Kentucky, provided they shoot better than they did at this stage last year.
Stanford over Cornell in the SAT Bowl
St. Mary's over a seriously overseeded Miami squad, the same way Winthrop beat the Canes, from the perimeter. Makes me glad Syracuse doesn't play the Gaels.

Round Two
Memphis struggles with Miss. State, but advances.
Pitt barely over Temple.
Marquette's guards mean a win over Stanford. (Think the Louisville game last year, only not as much of a blowout.)
Texas over St. Mary's in the teams' second meeting of the year.

Regional Semifinals
Memphis over Pitt. See my comments on Kansas above. The Panthers have yet to prove to me they can get past this stage.
Texas over Marquette.

Regional Final
uses their de facto home court advantage to get by Memphis.

National Semifinals
UNC over Georgetown
Texas over UCLA. The Longhorns beat them once, and that was at Pauley. Just think what they could do in San Antonio.

National Final
Texas over UNC. The Tar Heels just are missing something defensively. The Longhorns already own wins over 2 one seeds and a two this season. Their experience from those matchups and the San Antonio crowd will push them to victory.

E-mail me with your comments and questions.

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