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Well there it is. I have many various brackets up that are all slightly different that friends have invited me to create and one of just what I want to happen (this would be Utah State knocking off BYU, Notre Dame and Duke in that order to win the championship), but this is the one that I feel is my best shot at semi-accurately projecting the NCAA tournament this year.
I will go through my justifications for some of my picks.
First, my upsets:
• Missouri over Cincinnati : Cinci had a great start to the season and had a pretty poor in-conference record, losing a lot of close games. While Missouri may be in the exact same boat, they at least didn't end the season with a 40 point loss to Notre Dame.
• Richmond over Vandy : The Spiders ended their season on fire, basically the exact opposite of Vandy who lost 4 of their last 7. While those losses came against some pretty good teams two of them were at home and one was on a neutral court.
• VCU over Georgetown : First I kind of just dislike Georgetown, secondly VCU looked like they had something to prove tonight as they dominated an athletic USC team that everyone expected to beat them.
• Utah State over Kansas State : Would I really be an Aggie if I didn't pick this upset? However for the first time in three years I think Utah State will prove me right. They're bigger down low and have a defense right on par with the best of the Big 12. Utah State is so underrated this year, simply because of their conference, I think they'll surprise a lot of people. I expect Utah State to go on to beat Belmont (or Wisconsin) as well.
• Belmont over Wisconsin : Wisconsin is the most inconsistent team in the top 25 that isn't in the Big East. With 30 wins, Belmont is one of the most consistent teams in the country. Again I think Belmont is grossly underrated simply due to ignorance or the selection committee overlooking small teams.
• Gonzaga over St. Johns : With St. Johns missing a starter and Gonzaga being Gonzaga I don't see this as an upset. St. John's took down some of the best teams in the country this year, but they also lost to some pretty bad teams. I also expect Gonzaga to beat a strugging BYU team as BYU reminds me of St. Mary's, a team the Zags had no problem with.
Now I'll explain my final four picks:
• Ohio State : Really they're just the #1 overall seed in the tournament and a dominant team. I didn't put much thought into this and just kind of threw them in the final four automatically.
• Duke : They never disappoint me and Coach K is probably the best basketball coach in the world.
• Notre Dame : They have played more top teams and have beat more top teams than anyone in the country. Sure they've lost a few, but they've won the most and I think they'll be tough to beat. Plus, Kansas destroyed my bracket last year losing to UNI and I have a grudge now.
• Pitt : Basically the Southeast is kind of up for grabs. There is no clear favorite. Anyone from Utah State, BYU, Belmont, Florida, Gonzaga, Wisconsin or K-State could potentially win this division. For this reason I simply took the easy route and selected the 1 seed.
Why Ohio State will win it all:
They're the best team in the country, they have the easiest road to the final four with a fairly weak division, they have four players scoring in double digits and Sullinger is an unstoppable 290 lb freshman, that's awesome.
Well if I end up matching my point total last year of 90, I'll be happy. I'm not really anticipating that (especially as I have so many first round upsets picked), but we'll see. Good luck to the Aggies and hopefully they bust my bracket by taking the trophy home! :)