March Madness is Here. Are You Ready?

Alright… You got me. NCAA Basketball is the best thing on earth. I am a huge College Basketball buff, and while I enjoy watching the NBA a lot, nothing is as exciting as College Basketball. There is no money involved, and players play for pride which is what it’s all about. The College Basketball season is very exciting, but when it comes down to crunch time in the NCAA tournament, there is nothing like it. This year we have a very competitive tournament with teams like Duke, UConn, Villanova and Syracuse making it’s big run into the Dance, it’s sure to be a ride you won’t want to miss. I know many people that are in pools, etc and without information, pools are useless. They might be easy to fill out, but the outcome can be totally against you, so why not read this article and find out some critical information about some of the teams competing in this years NCAA tournament.

One word. Duke. We all know they are the big favorite to win the tournament obviously. They have been a powerhouse basketball school for ages, and they still are. The Atlantic Regional is a fairly stocked bracket. Duke enters the tournament very motivated as they beat a very aggressive Boston College team for the ACC Championship. It really was wire to wire the whole game, while Redick was playing on a lightly bruised knee. He still however managed to score 26 points which is typical JJ Redick. Duke enters this contest as the Number 1 seed. What a surprise huh? While we’ve been talking about Duke a lot, we need to get some information about other teams in this bracket. Teams such as Texas and Iowa are fairly elite teams. Even though they enter as the 2nd and 3rd seeds I don’t feel the intensity as much as I do with some of the higher seeds. Although Iowa did defeat # 7th ranked Ohio State last game. Texas lost to Kansas by 12 in there championship game, and really isn’t as strong as the picks say they are. We’ll see how they do though. The team I’m most looking forward to seeing in this bracket besides Duke is Syracuse. They really showed me something in the Big East Tournament, probably the hardest conference in America. McNamara never quit, and he’s all heart. Even though they will be running on a low gas tank, they still have the momentum to go far. How far will they go? That is the question everyone is wondering. My guess isn’t all the way, but we could see them in the Elite 8, that is of course if they could beat Duke, which is most likely who they would play. West Virginia is another tough team that will play very competitive, but they just don’t have the inside presence that some of the other teams have. If they struggle shooting, it can be a very long game for them. Obviously my pick to win the Atlantic Regional is Duke. No doubt about it, with Williams and Redick leading the way and cast of other very talented players, they will be hard to go against. Duke takes it.

In a fairly tough bracket the Oakland Regional is one to look at. Number 1 seeded Memphis enters the tournament with an 11 point victory over # 24 ranked UAB. While the score looks to be definitely in Memphis’s favor, the game was fought hard to the end. Memphis also enters the tournament with a superior 30-3 record and while there conference is fairly weak, they still have the manpower to push them to the Final Four. Do I think they will go that far? Well it’s hard to say with teams like UCLA, Kansas and Pittsburgh, but it’s anyones game. I really do like Pittsburgh in this bracket. Why? Well they put up a heck of a fight against a determined Syracuse squad that never gave up, and probably played harder then any team in any tournament this year. They only lost by 4, and entered as the # 15 seed in the country. Remember that Pittsburgh is in the toughest conference in the USA. The Big East powers over the other competition with teams such as UConn, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown and Syracuse. It just isn’t that easy, and they still contest every game to the end. I have a feeling we might see these guys in the Final Four. Memphis is a sure favorite to enter it, but Pitt might just take em. Gonzaga who really didn’t show me too much in there conference, being as weak as it is, enters the tournament as a # 3 seed. They played a scrappy yet competitive Loyola Maramount team in there championship game, and they entered as the # 4 seed winning by only a point. Loyola Maramount isn’t even ranked and played there hearts out. Gonzaga can’t do it with one man, and that man being Adam Morrison. He is NBA material, but the rest of there team are just average, and they can’t do it with one man. Sure it’s definitely possible, but I don’t see it. Gonzaga knocked out in the second round. It’s a tough one to call who will win the Oakland Regional, but I’d have to say Pittsburgh is my pick to win this bracket.

Now we enter a very tough Washington Bracket. It doesn’t get much tougher than this. With teams such as Connecticut, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Illinois, it’s hard to see really who has the upper edge here. UConn enters as the # 1 seed and comes off a defeat in the Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden. It was a very highly intensed game and Syracuse played there behinds off. UConn only lost by 2 and entered as the # 1 seed. I guess you could say it was an upset, but Syracuse is no picnic, they will play you harder than anyone else. Does this change the way I feel about them in the tournament? No, of course not, because they played a high calibur team with a high calibur player in McNamara, so I do have them going far, but not all the way. I have them going to the Elite 8 losing to UNC. Why? UNC is a very competitive team. At the beginning of the season, I would have said no chance, but towards the end they really showed me something. They did beat Duke and that was coming off of a 2 day clunker over Virginia 99-54. They really have heart when it comes to the big games and I think they will show it more than anything in the Dance. Obviously we have other teams like Illinois and Tennessee, but how strong are they compared to UConn and North Carolina? They really aren’t, even though Tennessee enters a better seed than UNC. My pick is UNC, but UConn will give them a run for there money in the Elite 8.

Now for the final bracket. Remember Villanova is in this one and they have 4 of the best guards in the country. It will be very hard to take them out. Allen Ray is alright as he suffered a scary eye injury in there loss to Pittsburgh. Normally I would say without a solid big man, a team has no shot at winning a big tournament like this, but very seldom do you see all 4 guards off in a game. They are all ultra fast, can shoot the jumper, and play massive defense. They are going to be a very tough team to beat and I have them winning the Minneapolis Regional. Other teams in this bracket include Ohio State, Boston College and Georgetown to name a few. They are all strong teams and have great potential to take out Villanova, but I just don’t see it happening, even though Nova got dismantled by Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh as I said earlier is no force to play around with, they are very tough, but in this bracket, Nova comes out on top.

Now we’re finally down to the Final 4 teams. Normally I’d like to see an upset team get in here even lower than I have in Pittsburgh, but they aren’t an upset team. Duke, Pittsburgh, UNC and Villanova will most likely be the 4 teams in the Final Four. That is unless a no name team knocks one of them out, which I find to be very unlikely. Too bad Pitt gets to play Duke because that is how it would shape up. I don’t see them beating Duke, but playing them very hard. If it was Nova, they’d have a much better shot, all because of there offense. Certain teams play better against one another and Pitt and Nova are no different. Duke goes to the finals. UNC and Villanova shapes up to be a very strong game, but UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough has a great game and takes out Nova to go to the finals. Now to win it all I choose UNC. Mainly because Duke is going to come out thinking they got lucky the other game. UNC played Duke tough and always does. It will however be closer than it was before. UNC is my pick to win the tournament.

I enjoy giving out information like this to people interested in competing in pools, or just looking to see what I have to say about the NCAA tournament. Of course this information is just my opinion, I can’t look into the future and predict what is exactly going to happen. This does calculate how I feel the tournament will end as though. Thank you and enjoy this article.

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