Here is a link to this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket: http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/binary/2011/03/13/Mens-bracket-20111300057311416.pdf
Three Mountain West teams in the NCAA Tournament was what I expected with San Diego State, BYU and UNLV. The perfect scenario would have been four teams if New Mexico or Colorado State won the MWC Tournament.
I liked the seeding for SDSU and BYU, and especially SDSU. Nothing is easy at tournament time and the Aztecs have never won a NCAA Tournament game. But Northern Colorado and Temple/Penn State stand in their way to the Sweet 16, and a potential game with UConn in the Regional semifinals.
UNLV slipped to an 8 seed, like last season, and gets Illinois in the first round. UNLV coach Lon Kruger used to coach Illinois so there is a storyline there. But another is the winner gets Kansas. Had UNLV not lost to Northern Iowa last season in the 8-9 game in the first round it would have played Kansas. Northern Iowa won and ended up beating Kansas — also the top seed last year. Interesting scenario there. I thought the Rebels would be a sixth seed, maybe a seven. Didn’t think they’d fall to eight.
Some early-round upsets I like:
(13) Belmont over (4) Wisconsin — The Badgers scored 33 points in a game this past weekend in the Big Ten Tournament. Belmont likes to run.
The USC/Virginia Commonwealth winner (both 11 seeds playing in those four first-round games) over (6) Georgetown. Hoyas not the same team without their best player. You can debate all night if USC or VCU even deserve to be in the tournament (and there are good cases against them) but I think either one will beat Georgetown.
(12) Richmond over (5) Vanderbilt — Former Air Force coach Brian Mooney has Richmond playing well, and its disciplined approach on both ends of the floor will frustrate Vandy.
(12) Utah State over (5) Kansas State — The Aggies finally win a NCAA Tournament game, even though K-State has been playing well.
My Final Four:
Kansas, Florida, Duke and Ohio State
Florida vs. Ohio State in the title game and Florida wins the national title
Couldn’t believe Colorado didn’t make the NCAA Tournament. St. Mary’s also got bumped, as did Georgia and Alabama. I would say those are my top four snubs.
Any thoughts or observations on this year’s tournament field?