|March madness breakdown|
|Written by Kevin Massoth, Vidette Blogger|
|Thursday, 17 March 2011 15:08|
East Regional Semis
Ohio State vs. Princeton – I picked Princeton to be in my Sweet 16 not because I’m crazy but because I want to see them win. After escaping the clenches of Harvard on a buzzer beater by junior guard Douglas Davis in a one-game Ivy League playoff, they seem destined to be the tourney’s Cinderella team this year. Of course I probably will be kicking myself after watching Kentucky dismantle the Tigers in the first round, but the fun of filling out a bracket is taking risks and this is mine. Either way, I don’t see anyone getting past Jared Sullinger and the Buckeyes in the Sweet 16. OSU over Princeton.
Xavier vs. North Carolina – North Carolina freshman Harrison Barnes came on strong at the end of the season, and if the 6-foot-8, 210 pound forward is clicking, so are the Tar Heels. The Muskateers won’t have enough firepower to overtake Barnes and the Tar Heels. NC over Xavier.
Duke vs. Oakland – Oakland is another upset pick of mine sneaking into the Sweet 16, but they won’t have a shot against Coach K’s Dukies. Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Seth Curry and the Plumlee brothers are too good to fall this early. Duke over Oakland.
Connecticut vs. Penn State – Another double digit seed finding their way into the Sweet 16, but again Penn State won’t be able to stop Kemba Walker and the superior Huskies. Penn State’s tough Big Ten regular season schedule will help them keep this matchup close, but UConn will pull away and coast into the Elite Eight in Anaheim. UConn over Penn State.
Kansas vs. Louisville – I picked Kansas to bow out of the Big Dance early for the second-straight year, but this time to a solid Big East team in Louisville. The Cardinals play stifling defense holding opponents to less than 65 points per game this season. The Morris twins of Kansas are good players, but I see an upset bug biting the Jayhawks again. Louisville over Kansas.
Purdue vs. Notre Dame – This will be a close matchup between two top teams from the Big Ten and Big East. Notre Dame will represent the Big East well in this one as they battle past the Boilermakers behind the attacking mindset of Ben Hansbrough, and the Fighting Irish will move on to face off against Big East foe Louisville in the Elite Eight. ND over Purdue.
Pittsburgh vs. Kansas State – No upset here as Pittsburgh is too good for Jacob Pullen and K-State. It was a great run at the end of the season for the Wildcats, but Big East regular season champion Pitt has had plenty of rest after an early exit in the conference tournament and will be looking to avenge themselves at the Big Dance. Pitt over K-State.
St. John’s vs. Florida – BYU will feel the loss of suspended player Brandon Davies in the second round when they lose to St. John’s, but Florida will show why they received the No. 2 seed in the Southwest region by shoving the Red Storm aside. Florida over St. John’s.
Ohio State vs. North Carolina – North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes will once again come through to show that the ACC’s offense is superior to the Big Ten’s defense. NC over OSU.
Duke vs. Connecticut – Coach K and Duke will do it again when they coast over the Huskies into the Final Four to face arch-rival North Carolina. Kemba Walker is UConn’s only hope, but even he will be no match for the all-around play of the Blue Devils.
Louisville vs. Notre Dame – Notre Dame will avenge their loss in the Big East tournament with an Elite Eight victory over Rick Pitino and the Cardinals. The Fighting Irish topped the Cardinals earlier in the season and have the confidence and swagger to do it again when it counts. Louisville over ND.
Pittsburgh vs. Florida – Jamie Dixon and Pittsburgh will ride into the Final Four behind All-Big East members Brad Wanamaker and Ashton Gibbs. Even though they hold a No. 1 seed, I feel like this group should be more feared than they are. Pitt over Florida.
North Carolina vs. Duke – Part of me just chose this matchup because I want to see it, but I believe both teams have what it takes to get this far. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, Duke proved they are the ACC’s best team with a dominating win in the ACC championship game. Duke over N.C.
Louisville vs. Pittsburgh – Another Big East clash and it will be a good one. The only regular-season matchup between the two teams featured an overtime 62-59 win by Louisville, but I think Pitt will be out for revenge in the NCAA tourney.
Duke vs. Pittsburgh – Duke has it all. A hall of fame coach, senior leadership and experience. The Blue Devils have just about anything you would want heading into the Big Dance. Pittsburgh had a fine season and will make a run at it all, but the core group of Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Seth Curry will eat this tournament field alive for the Dukies. Duke over Pittsburgh 75-67.
Why my picks are better than Bobby’s – March Madness is all about the upsets. It’s why mid majors hold hope, and it’s why fans watch the Big Dance. I’m being bold (maybe stupid) by choosing Princeton, Oakland and Penn State to make it to the Sweet 16, but every year people’s brackets are busted by these low seeds sneaking by the big guns. Last year the upsets made a comeback in the NCAA tournament after a two-year run of mostly the favorites winning. I think this year will take another step in the direction of what people want to see with some double-digit seeds making Cinderella runs into the later rounds. At least I’m making an attempt at choosing which low seeds are going to make it, but please don’t talk to me when Princeton, Oakland and Penn State get pounded in the first round.