Wednesday, March 16, 2011

LRN: Sweet Sixteen

On your lunch break, stuck in traffic, staying up late, you've got to find the time to work this bracket out folks. We're already under way and because we've tipped-off 2 of the 4 play-ins, you're behind! Figured I would let you take a look at mine so you could hang you're hat on something!

Here's the LRN: Sweet Sixteen . . .

Ohio State ~ No stunner here, the Buckeyes are the odds on favorite. Heading into March Madness winning seven straight, the Buckeyes have
East Region looked really good as of late. Led by super-freshman Jared Sullinger, Ohio State is wired for the National Championship.

Princeton ~ You have to take some shots. I'm taking mine with Ivy. The Tigers can score, they play disciplined, and they're the anti-Kentucky. I'm aware that they would need victories not only against John Calipari but possibly even Bob Huggins, undeterred. Pushing the chips to the middle, got to take some shots.

'Cuse ~ Boeheim can coach in the tournament, and coach very well. If you're a fan of the Orange you've got to really hope that the team who outscored St. John's 47-36 in the second half at MSG en route to the Big East semis is the team who shows up this first weekend of the tournament. Getting 12-points from Fab Melo off the bench would help as well.

North Carolina ~ Freshman Harrison Barnes is absolutely no joke. His 40-point outburst against Clemson in the ACC Tournament cemented it for me. Since mid-January the Heels have lost just two games, both against Duke. Fortunately, they won't see the Blue Devils till the Final Four. Tournament mainstays are always a safe bet.

West Region

Duke ~ They're the defending champions. Duke looked very impressive in the ACC Tournament Championship game destroying the Tar Heels on a neutral court. Coack K will have this team ready to play in the tournament and make yet another deep run into March.

Texas ~ The Longhorns aren't bad. They've beaten Michigan State, North Carolina, and conference rival Kansas. Early non-conference, close losses to Pittsburgh and Connecticut have me sold, the Longhorns can win a few big games. Even if Rick Barnes is still on the sidelines, they can pull out wins against either Arizona or Memphis.

UConn ~ How can you not look at what Kemba Walker and Connecticut did over five days in the Big East Tournament and not like them? With a player who can take over games by lighting up the scoreboard, isn't Kemba Walker one of the most important players in this tournament? I like the Huskies to roll up a couple, including Big East foe Cincinnati.

San Diego State ~ The field was very different when you realized the Mountain West San Diego State Aztecs were a (2) two seed, yet they deserve it. The Aztecs wrapped up a season winning the conference tourney by finally breaking through and beating BYU who owns the only two black marks on the SDSU resume.


Kansas ~ Of their 32-wins this season, they've got at least five against non-conference teams who have reached The Madness. Just one loss since February 1st en route to winning both the Big 12 Championship and conference tournament championship.

Richmond ~ By winning their first A-10 conference tournament championship, the Spiders punched a ticket to the dance. Avenging their 20-point loss earlier this season to Temple and beating up Dayton in the championship game, Richmond has ruffled a few feathers heading into this thing.

Southern California ~ I'm taking a stab here with USC for a couple of reasons. (1) I thought it'd be interesting to snag a team who had to play during one of the two days of play-in games, meaning I could lose a Sweet 16 team prior to the real day one of the tourney. (2) Listen this team has some quality games on their resume: wins versus Texas, Tennessee, UCLA, and Arizona as well as a couple close losses to Kansas and Washington.

Notre Dame ~ The Irish beat Gonzaga, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and St. John's in the first half. In the second half, Connecticut and Pittsburgh. The Irish can win games, they don't have a deep bench, but they'll beat a very on-off Florida State team to punch their ticket.


Pittsburgh ~ Of Pittsburghs five losses only one of them was by more than five points, impressive for a team that plays in the toughest conference in college basketball. Jamie Dixon is definately one of the top coaches in this tournament and I'll take good coaching in college hoops over nearly anything. Dixon and the Panthers get it done.

Wisconsin ~ The Badgers are always well coached and they've got some players. I know everyone wants to claim that Belmont is an upset special, and to them I say, slow you're roll. They're the class of the Big 10 along with teams like Ohio State and Purdue, both whom they beat. As I wrote yesterday, watch for Taylor and Leuer to come up big for Wisconsin.

Gonzaga ~ I like the Zags because it seems as though we've forgot how good of a coach Mark Few really is and how good of a postseason team Gonzaga has historically been. Very close losses to Notre Dame and San Diego State, both (2) seeds highlight their resume. Big wins against Marquette and Xavier make people think the Zags have a shot here to have their moment. It happens against an overrated St. John's team.

Florida ~ I'm still not sure how Florida is seeded as high as they are. That being said, they've got some easy ones early that will put them directly into the round of 16. Getting past UC Santa Barbara then UCLA or Michigan State
shouldn't be a problem for a Florida team that has played very well as of late.

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