I am a FIRM believer in getting your bracket done before the first game, and the first game is TONIGHT, not on Thursday. Thus, what follows are my picks for the 2011 NCAA Tournament. These predictions are sure to go wrong, but that’s okay. We don’t make the picks because we are smart. We make the picks because it is fun.
Anyway, some comments on the bracket itself before we get to the picks themselves… 1) When have we ever been able to say that Duke has a “tough road” to the Final Four? We certainly can’t say it this year, and I can’t remember the last time it could be said. San Diego State, UConn, and Texas are their 2-4. Good teams, but when you compare them to the other top four seeds I think Duke was blessed by the selection committee (again). 2) The committee did overall top seed Ohio State no favors, placing them with Carolina, Syracuse, and Kentucky.
Anyway, on to the picks…
First Four picks: UT-San Antonio over Alabama State, Clemson over UAB, USC over Virginia Commonwealth, and UNC-Asheville over Arkansas-Little Rock.
Second Round: 1 Ohio State over 16 UT-San Antonio, 8 George Mason over 9 Villanova, 12 Clemson over 5 West Virginia, 4 Kentucky over 13 Princeton, 6 Xavier over 11 Marquette, 3 Syracuse over 14 Indiana State, 7 Washington over 10 Georgia, 2 North Carolina over 15 Long Island U… Thoughts: Villanova has lost five straight going into the tournament and Mason is the chic pick to beat them. Even though I’m picking Mason it wouldn’t surprise me if Nova bounced back for at least a game.
Third Round: 1 Ohio State over 8 George Mason, 4 Kentucky over 12 Clemson, 6 Xavier over 3 Syracuse, 2 North Carolina over 7 Washington.
Regional Semifinals: 1 Ohio State over 4 Kentucky, 2 North Carolina over 6 Xavier… Thoughts: This bracket was made for my church. I’m a Heels fan. My church is about an hour from Columbus and Cincinnati, and my worship song leader has UK season tickets.
Regional Final: 2 North Carolina over 1 Ohio State… Thoughts: What did you expect?
Second Round: 1 Duke over 16 Hampton, 9 Tennessee over 8 Michigan, 5 Arizona over 12 Memphis, 4 Texas over 13 Oakland (despite Jay Bilas’s upset call), 11 Missouri over 6 Cincinnati, 3 Connecticut over 14 Bucknell, 7 Temple over 10 Penn State, 2 San Diego State over Northern Colorado.
Third Round: 9 Tennessee over 1 Duke (BOOM!), 4 Texas over 5 Arizona, 3 Connecticut over 11 Missouri, 2 San Diego State over 7 Temple… Thoughts: This will NOT be a home game for Dook. Not with Heels fans dominating Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte and a good chunk of Tennessee fans on hand.
Regional Semifinals: 4 Texas over 9 Tennessee, 3 Connecticut over 2 San Diego State.
Regional Final: 3 Connecticut over 4 Texas… Thoughts: Kemba Walker convinced me in the Big East Tournament.
Second Round: 1 Kansas over 16 Boston U, 8 UNLV over 9 Illinois, 12 Richmond over 5 Vanderbilt, 4 Louisville over 13 Morehead State, 6 Georgetown over 11 USC, 3 Purdue over 14 St. Peter’s, 10 Florida State over 7 Texas A&M, 2 Notre Dame over 15 Akron.
Third Round: 1 Kansas over 8 UNLV, 4 Louisville over 12 Richmond, 3 Purdue over 6 Georgetown, 2 Notre Dame over 10 Florida State.
Regional Semifinals: 1 Kansas over 4 Louisville, 2 Notre Dame over 3 Purdue.
Regional Finals: 1 Kansas over 2 Notre Dame… Thoughts: A lot of chalk in this region, but look out for Florida State with Chris Singleton supposedly coming back. I don’t think they’ll win the region but they could make it to the second weekend.
Second Round: 1 Pittsburgh over 16 UNC-Asheville, 8 Butler over 9 Old Dominion, 12 Utah State over 5 Kansas State, 4 Wisconsin over 13 Belmont, 6 St. John’s over 11 Gonzaga, 3 BYU over 14 Wofford, 10 Michigan State over 7 UCLA, 2 Florida over 15 UC-Santa Barbara.
Third Round: 1 Pittsburgh over 8 Butler, 12 Utah State over 4 Wisconsin, 3 BYU over 6 St. John’s, 10 Michigan State over 2 Florida… Thoughts: Two double-digit seeds make the Sweet 16 in this region.
Regional Semifinals: 1 Pittsburgh over 12 Utah State, 3 BYU over 10 Michigan State… Thoughts: I really like Utah State and could see them pulling the upset here, and I think Jimmer puts BYU on his back.
Regional Final: 1 Pittsburgh over 3 BYU.
National Semifinals: 2E North Carolina over 3W Connecticut, 1SE Pittsburgh over 1SW Kansas.
National Championship: NORTH CAROLINA over Pittsburgh.
2011 NCAA CHAMPIONS
Really? You expected something different? Like objectivity? Go Heels!!!