Survive and Advance

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And so the Madness has begun… One day in and we’ve already got upsets, tears, heartbreak, and elation.  I can’t tell you how much I love this time of year.  David Vs Goliath match ups, the big power conference vs the little guy next door, but one thing always in common…. MADNESS!  This tournament I feel will go down as one of the craziest ever.  With no clear cut favorite, I have a feeling we will see a lot of upsets and surprises… I’m talking to you New Mexico!  As always, the brackets have been filled out… and the games have begun.  So, let’s take a look at some predictions.

First off let me get one thing off my chest… the NCAA absolutely places teams in situations to create ratings, so please stop telling people it is all computer generated.  Oklahoma State would back me on this… as should the entire ACC (minus Duke) for their seedings.  Moving on, let’s talk some pretenders and contenders.

Pretenders:

Gonzaga: I’m sorry for all of those loving the ‘Zags, but this team will be the first 1 seed to bow out early.  They almost became the first ever 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed last night… to the national powerhouse, Southern University.  A potential match up with Wisconsin does not bode well for Gonzaga.

New Mexico State:  I know, it already happened, but had I written this yesterday I would have told you the same.  Overrated with a weak conference schedule… and it showed.

UNLV: See New Mexico State.

The entire SEC:  Sorry, but after Florida, there are no SEC teams with a chance to make any noise in the dance.

Duke: Up and down end to the season, but a team that struggles against teams that can match up well inside and have speed to guard the three.

Contenders:

Indiana: Fairly consistent team with some hiccups along the way this season.  But as far as all around talent, if this team can get hot and play good team basketball they will be tough to beat.  however they have struggled at times this year to put it all together consistently.

Ohio State: Finished strong with a Big 10 tourney championship, could be getting hot at the right time.

Louisville: I don’t have a lot of faith in Rick’s boys here, they seem to disappear at times.  But just like Ohio State, they are playing their best basketball of the season right now.

Kansas: See Louisville and Ohio State.

Miami: Somewhat of a sleeper here, but they have played well in the last half of the season minus their last couple of regular season games.  Solid all around team with a good inside/outside game.

Sleepers:

North Carolina: After a rough start to the season, Roy’s boys have played well with the small ball.  Unfortunately, they will live and die by the “3 ball” and one off game could send them packing.  And, no thanks to the NCAA selection committee they will have a rough road to the sweet 16. UNC vs Kansas 2nd round?  Computer selected, okay NCAA…

Michigan: Probably boasts the best backcourt in the tournament… but will have to play better on defense to make a deep run.  Speed and talent can carry them a long way, but they have a tough draw as well.

Wisconsin: Had some signature wins against good Big 10 opponents this season.  They play a style that can be frustrating and can slow down faster more athletic teams.  Plus, they have a very favorable draw being in Gonazaga’s bracket.

Saint Louis: A stretch here, but have to give the A-10 champ some respect.  They are an athletic team that can put points on the board, if they get hot, watch out.

Final Four:

Kansas, Ohio State, Indiana, and Michigan State (Izzo always seem to find a way)

Winner: Kansas

Weigh in folks, let’s hear how you think this madness is going to go down!