Well, like many of you, my bracket is completely shot…again. If you’re in my shoes, it’ll make you feel better that there are only two perfect brackets remaining on ESPN.com.
For the record, three of my Final Four are alive (all 1 seeds), but I had Pittsburgh losing to Kansas in the finals. At least the Jayhawks are still alive, and looking very solid I might add. Mario Chalmers is leading the most well rounded team in college basketball. Despite the Tarheels posting 100+ points in the first two rounds, I’m sticking by Kansas as the eventual national champion because they have the least amount of questions to answer. Kansas plays good team defense, has strong inside presence on both sides of the ball, protects the rock, and can knock down outside jumpers when needed. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.
The most exciting part of the NCAA tournament is that some team every year unexpectedly makes a run. In 2006, that team was George Mason, winners of the mid-major Capital Athletic Conference and an 11 seed in the tournament. The Patriots shocked the sports world by beating the #1 seeded Connecticut Huskies in overtime to advance to the Final Four. George Mason was the most exciting Cinderella story in recent memory; does the slipper fit anyone this season?
Honestly, it’s a stretch to consider a lower seed advancing to the Final Four. If I had to pick an upset, I would have to go with Davidson because sophomore Stephen Curry is playing like Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. No, I’m not kidding. He’s one of only six people in NCAA history to score 30+ points in his first three tournament games. Since there is always a need for pure shooters in the pros, don’t be surprised if an NBA team takes a chance on him despite his small size and juvenile appearance.
You may be asking yourself “what do I need to do to pick the right upsets and finish in the money next March? There are multiple strategies, from the traditional to the ridiculous, that people use to make picks. People who over analyze match ups typically fill out trash brackets. It’s the people who don’t regularly watch basketball who do the best in these online and office pools. There are a few cardinal rules to abide by when filling out brackets to give yourself a fighting shot against Mary from accounting who picks teams based on the how the point guard’s butt looks in gym shorts.
First of all, pick one or two 12 vs. 5 upsets. Second, don’t kick out your #1 seeds until after the Sweet 16: all of them they almost always make it. Finally, don’t put all #1 seeds in your Final Four. It’s never happened before, and I don’t think it will happen this year because Memphis can’t shoot free throws, which they will need to hit in close games. Other than that, it’s all about luck.
From here, I’ve got Carolina coming out of the East. The only thing that scares me about the Tarheels is that they have yet to have a close game against a solid offensive team. Now that Pitt is out, I have to go with Stanford in the West. Memphis cannot shoot free throws and for some reason Texas scares me. DJ Augustine is a baller, but Coach Rick Barnes has yet to make it to the finals and the Lopez twins will dominate the paint. I think Kansas and UCLA will come out their respective regions rather easily with the Jayhawks cutting down the nets in San Antonio.