Without Further Ado .... The Official 2023 Reags NCAA Tournament Bracket
Another year, another public bracket. Now I will say, we've had some decent success on these. Three winners some good picks and all that. One horrendous one. I LOATHE filling out a bracket. There's no good way. But it's a tradition and I love tradition. For comparison sake, here are all the old ones:
Had Baylor over Gonzaga, that'll do.
The Virginia redemption story was the easiest one to pick. Tech in the Final Four was big too.
Had Nova winning it. Arizona was a miss.
Now onto this year. I had no idea what to do. I was all over the place. At one point I had UCLA over Arizona for the title, which, well, that's dumb. Not gonna see Pac-12 teams in the title game against each other. Then I decided to fade Bama as the outright winner since they'll be the likely most popular pick.
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.
- I still think Bama has an easy path to the Elite Eight. Honestly a game against WVU might scare me the most. I'm not overly concerned about the 4/5 here and think Bama can easily be set up to an Elite Eight. So with that in mind I just put them in the Final Four.
- I'm in on this Furman team. I've talked about them before but they have the experience, the offense is as pretty as pretty comes. They are designed to beat the Virginia packline defense, so we're picking them on that one. Charleston is the popular 12 over 5 pick, so we'll go opposite. I know the MWC sucks in the Tournament, but I do like this SDSU team.
- The toughest pod to pick for sure was the Creighton/NC Sate/Baylor/UCSB one. I don't trust Baylor's defense, but they have arguably the best backcourt in the country. NC State or Creighton could be in the Sweet 16 and I won't bat an eye. That should be an awesome first round matchup.
- If I knew more about how Ballo's reported broken hand was I'd put Zona in the Final Four. But between that + Kriisa shoulder, I just don't know what to do with them as a whole.
- By far the region I was most confused on. I talked about it before but KenPom had the state of unranked teams who becomes a 1 or 2 seed. They've never made a Final Four. I'm going to stick with that.
- I hate my Kansas State pick so much, I'm starting to love it. I can't picture any team winning the region for a variety of reasons so why not Jerome Tang dancing his way.
- Kentucky owns my head space. I can't take another 1st round loss.
- Fuck Duke and Tennessee.
- Similar to Alabama, Houston has a damn near perfect draw to the Sweet 16. I know the game against Auburn would be in Birmingham, but Houston's defense is just too damn good. I want to know more about the Sasser injury, he's apparently a game-time decision for round 1. That said, if he's back in the Sweet 16, they should win this region.
- Kent State is a brutal draw for Indiana. Trust the process on that one.
- Xavier and Texas have me confused. Xavier's defense simply isn't good enough for me to trust them. But Sean Miller can coach his ass off and that offense is as good as any. Texas has all the pieces but we've been burned by them every year basically.
- A 1 seed has to lose at some point before the Elite Eight right? Well we'll stick with history and reigning champs not making it past the Sweet 16. At some point just close your eyes and trust numbers.
- TCU over Gonzaga because I'm stubborn. I do think Gonzaga is a bit undervalued, but I love this TCU team even without Lampkin. Mike Miles could have a monster game if this works out and both teams want to run.
- I know I said I'm scared of injuries, but this UCLA team even without the best defender in the country is still loaded. Mostly it's the fact I think Amari Bailey is going to go off this Tournament. He had the big game in the Pac-12 championship and knows his role. Combine that with Jacquez and Campbell and they are Final Four good.
Follow the script. Follow the signs. Jim Nantz is calling his last Final Four. Jim Nantz went to Houston. The Final Four is in Houston. The Cougars win it. It's basically me banking on Sasser coming back in the Sweet 16 and the offense not going dry in a game. Like I said, I also want to fade Rico's second team in Alabama. This Tournament feels a little 2021ish where it was Gonzaga and Baylor vs the field. Houston and Bama have been in the top-5 of KenPom since January 17. It's not the two of them vs the field like 2021, but there's a gap from the few tier 1 teams to the rest.
As always, this is a bracket. This is not the most important thing, but it's tradition.