Another year, another public bracket to humiliate myself. Granted last year if you tailed my bracket you likely finished in the money in your pool – shout out Villanova for winning it and that 25/1 ticket last year. Also shout out Texas Tech for making the Elite Eight. That helped too. I’ll say this. I have ZERO faith in the bracket this year.
Quick breakdown of the regions:
– I don’t think anyone really matches up well against Duke in this region. LSU can possibly be a unique matchup because of Emmitt Williams and Naz Reid – guys like that on the glass vs a Zion. They also have bigger wings. At the same time Yale can give LSU troubles in the 1st round.
– I’m going with the Louisville upset over Michigan State for a few reasons. First, I’m just trying to find spots for upsets. Second, Michigan State is still just injured. That has to come into play at some point, right? Third, Chris Mack already has a gameplan on how to beat Michigan State. I’ll trust Mack in this scenario again.
– I’m going Belmont over Maryland. That was my fear with the First Four game for a Maryland matchup. Belmont can spread them out and make Turg work defensively. Yes, Fernando is a monster, but you now have to bring Jalen Smith away from the bucket. You have to guard Windler.
– By far the toughest region for me to figure out. Before the brackets were released I assumed I’d have Texas Tech, Florida State and Gonzaga all in my Elite Eight no matter what. Well, now I can’t do that. Just an absolutely loaded bracket.
– I’m going Texas Tech to come out of here for a few reasons. First, I trust the offense we saw the last 6 weeks, not the one we saw against West Virginia. They have a guy who can go get a bucket when needed in Jarrett Culver, he’s been excellent in PnR sets. Oh, Chris Beard is a top-10 coach in the country. That helps.
– Texas Tech can also lose to Buffalo in the 2nd round.
– Nevada over Michigan for similar reasons for Louisville over Michigan State. Michigan’s offense is so inconsistent – Nevada has a strong defensive team this year actually. Jordan Caroline is a difference maker. As good as Zavier Simpson is how does he do against a much bigger Caleb Martin? I love Beilein though.
– I’m not overly worried about Gonzaga going up against the Syracuse 2-3 zone in March. The fact they can flash a guy like Rui in the middle and surround him with Perkins/Tillie/Norvell/Kispert or flash Clarke and have the same. That’s how you beat this zone.
– Pick your Final Four team out of Gonzaga, Michigan, Texas Tech, Florida State and Buffalo. They all can get there and I won’t be surprised. This region makes or breaks your pool.
– By far the most boring region for me. A lot of great defensive teams. A lot of slower pace games.
– I’m going with UC-Irvine as the upset to the Sweet 16. Kansas State not having Dean Wade is a massive loss. Yes, I know Kansas State made the Elite 8 last year without him. But, they also beat a Creighton team with injuries and then UMBC to get to the Sweet 16. So while it’s still impressive it’s a bit different. UC-Irvine has a guy in Max Hazzard that can disrupt Kansas State’s defense.
– Everyone seems to be picking Oregon, so I’ll go Wisconsin. I hate that game.
-The bottom half of the pod can get some chaos. St. Mary’s can beat Villanova with its style of play. Nova can beat Purdue because of its shooting. Tennessee can advance. Cincinnati can beat Tennessee in Columbus with the way it defends in the post.
– Yes, I have Kentucky advancing to the Final Four. Mostly because I think if they get out of the first weekend I love their matchups to get there. I say that despite UNC playing really well lately. They just match up well against UNC – see the game in Chicago.
– Please give us UNC vs Auburn. Kansas in Kansas City doesn’t need to happen and UNC vs Auburn will be one of the more entertaining games with how they play. That said, Auburn can come out of this region with its ability to dictate tempo and get up threes. Good luck consistently guarding that.
– Seton Hall over Wofford is an upset. Vegas says so.
– I’m going Northeastern over Kansas in the first round. Shout out OMB. But, really it’s the fact that Bill Coen is that goddamn good of a coach combined with Pusica’s ability to shoot the ball. He can be a difference maker against Kansas. I also think Occeus is a good enough defender to annoy Kansas.
– I’m sticking with Virginia no real reason other than they were my preseason pick (18/1). Well, I guess you can also say the fact that it’s the best offense under Tony Bennett. The fact they have a top-5 NBA talent in Hunter. The fact that they can shoot the ball with Guy and Jerome. The fact that they still defend their ass off. The fact that they remind me of the 2015-16 Villanova team. Yeah, those are good too. Also, we’re just going to hope Duke doesn’t win it.
– There is a huge gap in what I see as title contenders vs others. So that’s why I don’t have a bunch of crazy upsets. I think we see chalk late. Now, I could be dead wrong, but this happens from time to time. I’ll trust what I’ve seen so far.
– Now we hope we win all the pools and then I’ll have my own little trip to Vegas*
*(the casino like 4 miles from me)