The Real Tourney Breakdown–HHY
So, the time is here……tomorrow morning, while I’m stuck at work, three or four games will tip off and the drought between the Super Bowl and March Madness will finally be over. Thank god.
I’m not saying that the NBA didn’t offer some solid action, or that NFL free agency wasn’t intriguing (Brandon Lloyd…….yes!). But March Madness, especially the first four days, are special. 64 teams get whittled down to 16, and of the 48 teams that lose either their first or second round games, at least a few will be pretty surprising.
So, after yesterday’s half-hearted, fully-perverted look at the tournament, here is the real analysis you expect from hardawayhatesyou. I have incldued pick for the winner of each region, a dark horse (6 seed or lower that could make some noise), and the region MOP.
Indiana-Arkansas and Notre Dame-George Mason highlight the first round matchups in this bracket, which holds–in my opinion–the two best teams in the country right now (North Carolina and Tennessee). I don’t expect any first round upsets here, but I am predicting Oklahoma to trip up Louisville in round two. The regional final will pit the Tar Heels against the Volunteers, and my orange-shirted friends will win a virtual road game in Charlotte en route to the Final Four. Pick–Tennessee, Dark Horse–Oklahoma, Region MOP–Tyler Smith, Tennessee
Clemson-Villanova and USC-Kansas State are the most intriguing first round games here, as the latter matchup pits OJ Mayo against Michael Beasley. If you haven’t heard, those guys are freshmen and they are pretty decent. They might get drafted next year. This region’s two seed, Georgetown, is the softest of the top eight teams, in my opinion. My first major upset prediction is that Davidson, winners of 22 straight, will beat the Hoyas to advance to the Sweet 16 after toppling Gonzaga. In the end, I see highly-talented Kansas beating boringly effective Wisconsin for the regional title. Pick–Kansas, Dark Horse–Davidson, Regional MOP–Mario Chalmers, Kansas
The South Region may be the deepest in the bracket, as number one seed Memphis has lost one game all year; two seed Texas has beaten two number one seeds in this tournament (UCLA and Kansas); three seed Stanford is a bad call or two away from being the champions of arguably the best conference in the country; and four seed Pitt is perhaps the hottest team in the country right now. Not to mention an always tournament-tough Michigan State team and an 11 seed, Kentucky, that can beat anyone in the bracket. I expect Pitt to get past Memphis in the round of 16 only to lose to the red-hot Longhorns in the regional final. Pick–Texas, Dark Horse–Kentucky, Regional MOP–DJ Augustin, Texas
It seems to be the consensus that UCLA is going to walk through this region, and I tend to agree. Two seed Duke has no inside presence and would probably be a four or five seed if they weren’t Duke; three seed Xavier, while talented, hasn’t been tested by many big-time opponents; and the next three seeds include UConn (lost in first round of conference tourney), Drake (mid-level power but untested), and Purdue (young team that lost to Illinois in its last game). I don’t see how anyone but the Bruins win the West, but look for West Virginia-Arizona and Xavier-Georgia to be interesting first round games. Pick–UCLA, Dark Horse–Arizona, Regional MOP–Darren Collison, UCLA