Kamis, 15 Maret 2012

March Madness

The most exciting playoffs in the world is about to start tomorrow as the NCAA Tournament kicks off tomorrow with 16 games. March Madness has become something that any American will become interested in basketball from the brackets to the big programs like Kentucky and UNC to the small programs that come out of nowhere like Butler (who sadly is not in the field this year) and VCU. This year has one of the best fields as the mid-majors in this tournament are the strongest they have ever been and there are tons of great teams that are not number one seeds. This tournament has the potential to be filled with tons of buzzer-beaters. Now, everybody wants to know my predictions for this year's NCAA Tournament. My full bracket will be available tomorrow on ESPN as you can join my group at "The True Fan's Sports". Here is the link: http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/en/group?groupID=209485&entryID=568382.

Bold First Round Upsets
South Region
I have no major upsets other than 10 Xavier beating 7 Notre Dame and 9 UCONN beating 8 Iowa State. Xavier has tons of talent with a scoring threat in G Tu Holloway and a tough big man in C Kevin Freese. UCONN's experience will help them in the first round.

West Region
12 Long Beach State over 5 New Mexico
Long Beach State was able to win the Big West conference championship as this team knows what it takes to pull a big upset from their tough nonconference schedule. Despite Casper Ware getting all the attention, this is a very well-rounded team as they have more than just Ware who can score in Larry Anderson who is dangerous from beyond the arc and TJ Robinson who averages 12 points and 10 rebounds a game. Long Beach State will pull one of the biggest upsets in this year's second round.

East Region
12 Harvard over 5 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt might have a lot of momentum coming into the tournament but Harvard's has an excellent defense that can shut down team's offenses. The most points Harvard has allowed in a single game all season is 70 which is very impressive. Harvard also makes lots of shots as their shooting percentage for the year is 46%. Watch out for this Harvard team.

11 Texas over 6 Cincinnati
Texas has played well against good teams recently as they beat a sneaky good Iowa State team in the Big 12 tournament before losing to Missouri. Texas has an excellent player in J'Covan Brown who could be an All-American if Texas had a better record as he has been averaging over 20 points a game. Brown is going to be very tough for Cincy to shut down. Texas will pull an upset as Cincy lost most of their momentum in the Big East' championship loss to Louisville.

Midwest Region
14 Belmont over 3 Georgetown
Belmont has one of the most experienced coaches in Rick Byrd who has led teams to some close calls before for Belmont. Belmont has a really dangerous offense this year as they average the fourth most points per game. Belmont has almost pulled tons of upsets in the past but overrated Georgetown is the perfect matchup for Belmont as Georgetown has a weak offense.

11 NC State over 6 San Diego State
NC State played like a team that was much better than their record in the ACC Tournament as the Wolfpack almost beat North Carolina after getting past Virginia. CJ Leslie has been the number one scorer for NC State but this team has other players like Lorenzo Brown who can score and set up other players, and Richard Howell who averages almost a double-double a game. NC State has the pieces to make a deep run into the tournament and the Wolfpack will be able to upset a good Aztec team.

Round of 32
South Region
1 Kentucky over 9 UCONN
5 Wichita State over 4 Indiana
3 Baylor over 6 UNLV
2 Duke over 10 Xavier
This game could be a dangerous game for the Blue Devils as this is a very talented Xavier team. Tu Holloway and Kevin Freese will be hard to contain as the Plumlee brothers will need to step up. At the end of the day, Duke is the better team and they will survive past the Musketeers.

West Region
8 Memphis over 1 Michigan State
Michigan State did not deserve to be a number one seed as it should have gone to Missouri. However, Michigan State has a slower tempo and they have not played well against up-tempo teams like when North Carolina walked over the Spartans earlier in the season. Memphis has the dangerous, speedy combination of guards Will Barton, Joe Jackson, and Chris Crawford. Michigan State will not be able to contain theis speed as Draymond Green and the Spartans will make an early exit from this year's tournament.
4 Louisville over 12 Long Beach State
3 Marquette over 6 Murray State
2 Missouri over 7 Murray State

East Region
1 Syracuse over 8 Kansas State
12 Harvard over 4 Wisconsin
Teams that are very good defensively are normally tough matchups for three-point shooting teams and Harvard has that defense that can slow down the Badger offense. Jordan Taylor has been good from beyond the arc but the Wisconsin offense has not been good at all. Harvard will get to go back to Boston to play Syracuse in the Sweet 16 as Jordan Taylor just does not have the firepower to get the Badgers to the next round.
3 Florida State over 11 Texas
2 Ohio State over 7 Gonzaga

Midwest Region
1 North Carolina over 8 Creighton
4 Michigan over 5 Temple
11 NC State over 14 Belmont
7 St Mary's over 2 Kansas
St Mary's has a big man by the name of Rob Jones who can shut down player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson just like Baylor's Perry Jones did in the Big 12 semifinals. Matthew Delavedova is better than the overrated Tyshawn Taylor and he will help lead the Gaels to the Sweet 16 of this year's NCAA Tournament.

Sweet 16
South Region
1 Kentucky over 5 Wichita State
3 Baylor over 2 Duke

West Region
4 Louisville over 8 Memphis
2 Missouri over 3 Marquette

East Region
1 Syracuse over 12 Harvard
3 Florida State over 2 Ohio State

South Region
1 North Carolina over 4 Michigan
7 St. Mary's over 11 NC State

Elite Eight
South Region
1 Kentucky over 3 Baylor
John Calipari's team will get their toughest test of the season in a very talented Baylor team as the Bears match up very well with the Wildcats in terms of skill players. Perry Jones versus Anthony Davis could be the critical matchup as the Bears know that they can win if Jones is able to slow down Davis. However, Davis will continue to prove why he is the player of the year and Kentucky will be headed for New Orleans.

West Region
2 Missouri over 4 Louisville
Louisville has had a very good season despite their offense which has not been able to put up points this season. Missouri has the scorers that can blow out this Cardinal team as it just is not a good matchup for Rick Ptino and the Cardinals. Kim English and the Tigers will be headed for the Final Four as they cruise past Louisville.

East Region
1 Syracuse over 3 Florida State
Florida State has an excellent shooter in Michael Snaer who will help lead the Seminoles to the Elite Eight. However, the Orange have a big time shooter in Kris Joseph and Florida State does not have that elite big man that will expose the loss of Fab Melo. Syracuse will be challenged but they will punch their ticket to New Orleans.

Midwest Region
1 North Carolina over 7 St. Mary's
The Gaels will be the Cinderella story of this tournament as the West Coast conference champions will be able to stay up with the Tar Heels. However, North Carolina will have a big day from Tyler Zeller who will outplay Rob Jones down low while Harrison Barnes makes some shots on the outside. The Tar Heels will go to the Final Four as they look to win another National Championship.

Final Four
1 Kentucky over 2 Missouri
Missouri relies on Ricardo Ratliffe to be the big man in the post as the Tigers normally put 4 guards around him. However, Ratliffe will have tons of trouble against Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones and company as the Wildcats will be able to outscore the Tigers with their big amn making plays in the post. Marcus Denmon and the Tigers wil have their impressive season end two wins away from a national title.

1 North Carolina over 1 Syracuse
The loss of Fab Melo will hurt the Orange in this game as Tyler Zeller will be able to dominate in the post which could open up shots on the outside for Harrison Barnes. Scoop Jardine versus Kendall Marshall will be an interesting matchup as both these players know how to make plays but Marshall will have the advantage. The loss of Fab Melo will catch up to the Orange as the better Tar Heel team will go on to the National Championship.

National Championship
1 North Carolina over 1 Kentucky
North Carolina and Kentucky are the two best teams in the tournament after Fab Melo of SYracuse was declared ineligible. Both these teams are loaded with firs round picks but the key for North Carolina is they have the best point guard in the country in Kendall Marshall. North Carolina will be able to contain Anthony Davis as John Henson is one of the best defensive power forwards in the country. Harrison Barnes will make some big shots for the Tar Heels as Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will keep the Wildcats close but the Tar Heels will prove that they are the best team in the country and win the National Championship.

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