Another year, another public bracket. Now I will say, we've been pretty solid on these in the four previous ones. Three winners some good picks and all that. One horrendous one. I LOATHE filling out a bracket. There's no good way. There's a reason Susie in marketing ends up winning 9 outta 10 years. For comparison sake, here are all the old ones:
I have zero faith in the bracket this year. I just don't. I talked myself in and out of so many matchups and everything like that. Now I know people will yell about chalk. Well, it tends to be chalk late. There's a reason 1s and 2s win the title and play in Final Fours.
Quick breakdown of the regions.
- Yes, I have Duke losing to Davidson and it's not an anti-Duke play. It's a Davidson motion offense is made to destroy Duke's defense exactly what Virginia Tech did. There's not a better offensive coach in the country than Bob McKillop and that motion he runs. At the same time I'm well aware that Michigan State might just beat Davidson by 20 in the first game and everyone wants K/Izzo in March again.
- I talked myself out of Vermont over Arkansas and New Mexico State over UConn. That little pod there is the toughest one for me out of every single pod in this bracket. Legit any combo of those 4 teams advancing won't surprise me.
- I'm riding Texas Tech because of the defense and at some point they have to be fully healthy and get a little offensive help. It's also super fucking hard to make this many Final Fours in a 5 year span like Gonzaga might. I really like Gonzaga, this isn't an anti-WCC thing or fade them. I just am taking a shot at Tech getting the break in the Sweet 16 with Davidson and a tougher top of the bracket.
- As you can see I debated going Baylor over Marquette. It's worth noting that Baylor is going to be without LJ Cryer this weekend, their leading scorer. That matters in that second game. Whether it's Marquette's defense or the fact UNC can go get 90, Baylor needs Cryer. That's the fade for me.
- St. Mary's to the Elite 8 is my bold play. There is a lot of help here with Akron catching UCLA and then the Marquette upset. I actually like this St. Mary's team even if they play so damn slow. They have the talent, they just need a couple breaks.
- I came really close to putting Texas over Purdue but ultimately I couldn't. These are the two teams I was the highest on in the preseason and for some reason can't fully sell. Naturally they'll both lose in the 1st round now.
- Could Tennessee get to the Final Four? Absolutely. But Rick Barnes has struggled in the Tournament and they also sort of feel like last year's Illinois. The team that gets hot, wins the conference tournament, looks the part and then just has a bad matchup and loses early.
- Michigan is going to be without De'Vante Jones potentially. That's why I'm putting Colorado State in the Sweet 16. Think they can match up well with both teams and the travel problems for Michigan.
- You can put Illinois, Zona, Nova or Tennessee in the Final Four and no one will bat an eye here. I really wanted to put Ohio State in the Sweet 16 over Nova and Illinois in the Final Four but feels like something is missing there. Arizona ultimately has had the highest ceiling of this group.
- I keep thinking that bottom half of the bracket can be mayhem. I went with USC over Auburn and I hate it. I wanted to go with a bigger upset somewhere there and couldn't go Colgate over Wisconsin because I think this screams Johnny Davis bounce back game.
- Everyone is going to have South Dakota State. I will not.
- Kansas is probably my least favorite pick in the Final Four just because I trust them the least amount. That said, I do really like their path. They match up well with Iowa/Providence and even the 8/9 game. Agbaji can be a star, they have depth and more importantly Remy Martin is starting to figure it out.
- I went with Kentucky, get off my ass. I rarely pick them to win it all in a bracket and this is the year I did. Again, get off my ass. They have a path, they have a legit chance. It all comes down to health and Kellan Grady's ability to get out of this shooting slump.