BtB Tourney Picks

Now that the not-so dramatic Opening Round game is over, the main draw of 64 teams is complete.  Morehead State will try to defeat Louisville in their second matchup of the season.  Since I will be heading up to Philadelphia tomorrow for the first round on Thursday, it's time for me to reveal my picks for this year. 

Before we get to my 63 winners for this year, let's review how I did on my Banana Peel List picks for the non-major conference auto bids.

America East: Binghamton
A-Sun: Belmont  East Tennessee State
Big Sky:  Weber State  Portland State
Big South: VMI Actual:  Radford
Big West:  Long Beach State  Actual: CS-Northridge
Colonial:  Drexel Actual:  VCU
Horizon: Butler Actual:  Cleveland State
Ivy: Cornell
Metro Atlantic: Siena
Mid-American:  Buffalo Actual:  Akron
Mid-Eastern:  Morgan State
Missouri Valley: Creighton Actual:  Northern Iowa
Northeast:  Robert Morris
Ohio Valley: Morehead State
Patriot:  American
Southern: Davidson Actual:  Chattanooga
Southland:  Sam Houston State  Actual:  Stephen F. Austin
Southwestern:  Alabama A&M  Actual:  Alabama State
Summit: North Dakota State
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky
West Coast: Gonzaga
Western Athletic:  Utah State

11 for 22 is, by definition, average, but I'll take it especially considering the amount of upheaval that usually happens during Championship Week.

Now in terms of tournament picks, I've had an up and down three years.

  • 2008 - 36-27 (.563)
  • 2007 - 46-17 (.730)
  • 2006 - 34-29 (.540)

Since it's an odd year, I'm certainly anticipating good results!  So, without further delay, here are my picks (for entertainment and ridicule purposes only).  Upsets are in bold

Midwest
Round One
Louisville over Morehead State - sorry Morehead
Ohio State over Siena - I would've given the Saints more of a chance here if this game wasn't being played in Dayton.
Arizona over Utah - Jordan Hill should be rested and ready to go for the Utes.
Wake Forest over Cleveland State - They'll have a ton of problems with the Vikings, however.
West Virginia over Dayton - The Flyers will simply make too many mistakes. 
North Dakota State over Kansas - The Jayhawks are young and turnover prone.  The Bison can shoot the lights out and will have the crowd behind them.  Plus, it's not like KU hasn't been stampeded by a 14th seeded Herd before.
USC over Boston College - The Trojans have gotten hot at the right time. 
Michigan State over Robert Morris - It will be a short stay for the Colonials.
 
Round Two
Louisville over Ohio State- The Cardinals will survive the hostile crowd and a game Buckeye squad.
Arizona over Wake Forest - Wake will go from being #1 in the country at one point to being knocked off by the (probable) last team in.
West Virginia over NDSU - The Mountaineers end the Bison run (as normally happens to double-digit seeds at this point) and make their fifth Sweet 16 in their last five tourney appearances.
Michigan State over USC - Spartans win the battle of the Greeks.
 
Regional Semifinals
Louisville over Arizona - While the Wildcats will make a run, the Cards will have too much for them.
Michigan State over West Virginia- The drive to play in their own backyard continues.
 
Regional Final
Louisville over Michigan State - But the drive hits the roadblock the Cardinals will put up.  The 'Ville appears to be peaking at the right time, and the Spartans are having a lot of issues, especially with Raymar Morgan struggling.
 
West
First Round
UConn over Chattanooga - Since I'll be at Wachovia for this, I'm hoping this isn't the case.  It would be great to be in the crowd for a 16 over 1 upset.
BYU over Texas A&M - The Cougars take the rematch.
Purdue over UNI - The Boilermakers are too disciplined an opponent for a foul-prone Panther team.
Washington over Mississippi State - I think Brockman will create big problems for Elgin Bailey and Jarvis Varnado.
Utah State over Marquette - This is going to be a close one.  The Aggies should have the crowd behind them and are back to playing good ball.  The Golden Eagles still aren't right without their point guard, Dominic James.
Missouri over Cornell - It should be the second straight 3 over 14 blowout involving the Big Red.
Maryland over California - It really depends on which two teams show up.  Both clubs have shown they can be worldbeaters and lay eggs.
Memphis over CSUN - The Matadors second trip to the tournament will end much like their first.
 
Second Round
UConn over BYU - What would Trent Plaisted have done against Hasheem Thabeet?  The world may never know.
Washington over Purdue - The Huskies have shown they can beat grind it out-style teams.
Missouri over Utah State - The Tigers will wear out the Aggies in the end.
Memphis over Maryland - The egg-laying Terrapins return for this one.
 
Regional Semifinals
UConn over Washington - The third Sweet 16 matchup between these two ends just like the first two editions.
Memphis over Missouri - Mike Anderson's UAB teams always gave Memphis issues in C-USA.  Mizzou will be a test, but Memphis will survive.
 
Regional Final
Memphis over UConn - This is where not having Jerome Dyson will hurt the Huskies.  The Tigers will be motivated for this one.
 
East
First Round
Pitt over East Tennessee State - Even though I thought the Bucs should be seeded higher doesn't mean they're the 16 that will finally beat a 1.
Tennessee over Oklahoma State - The Vols will be the only SEC school to advance out of round one.
Florida State over Wisconsin - The Seminoles size and guard play will give the Badgers trouble.
Portland State over Xavier - With the way they've struggled the past couple of weeks, the Musketeers are prime for another upset.
VCU over UCLA - Get your bad Larry Sanders jokes ready. 
Villanova over American - The Eagles won't make it easy on the Wildcats, though.  This will be one to watch if you like good guard play.
Texas over Minnesota - With only two seniors on the roster, the Gophers inexperience will catch up to them as they face another relatively inexperienced squad, but one led by one of the best senior guards in the country, A.J. Abrams.
Duke over Binghamton - The Bearcats first trip to the tournament will end in defeat.
 
Second Round
Pitt over Tennessee - The Panthers will outmuscle the Vols.
Florida State over Portland State - The Vikings' run ends here.
Villanova over VCU - Much like 2007, the Rams will lose a close one to a Big East opponent in overtime.
Duke over Texas - The Blue Devils make it to the Sweet 16 for the first time since '06.
 
Regional Semifinals
Florida State over Pitt - Sorry, I don't trust Pitt getting past this round, at least until they get over the hump.
Villanova over Duke - This isn't a great matchup for the Blue Devils.  Nova will outshoot them.
 
Regional Final
Villanova over Florida State - The Final Four has a party crasher this year.
 
South
First Round
North Carolina over Radford - Artsiom Parakhouski's presence won't be enough for
the Highlanders in this one.
 
Butler over LSU - The Bulldogs will shock a Tiger team that's probably a bit disappointed in their seed.
Western Kentucky over Illinois - Limited or no minutes for Chester Frazier + a WkU team that already beat Louisville = upset
Gonzaga over Akron - If LeBron played for the Zips, they'd win this. 
Temple over Arizona State - The Owls tournament experience will give them the win.
Syracuse over Stephen F. Austin - The extra day off will help the Orange.
Michigan over Clemson - Yet another Beilein tournament win and more NCAA disappointment for the Tigers.
Oklahoma over Morgan State - Unfortunately for the Bears, the Sooners aren't the Terps.
 
Second Round
North Carolina over Butler - Even if this wasn't in Greensboro, the Bulldogs wouldn't have much of a chance.
Gonzaga over Western Kentucky - The Hilltoppers won't get their second straight second round win over a WCC opponent.
Syracuse over Temple - It won't be easy for the Orange.
Oklahoma over Michigan - The Sooners will be too much for the Wolverines, who will be due for a loss.
 
Regional Semifinals
Gonzaga over North Carolina - The Heels defensive issues create problems against the Zags.
Oklahoma over Syracuse - The Orange finally run out of gas and miss too many free throws.
 
Regional Final
Oklahoma over Gonzaga - Blake Griffin creates too many problems for the Bulldogs.
 
Final Four
Louisville over Memphis - The Tigers fall a game short in their quest for redemption.
Oklahoma over Villanova - The Wildcats simply won't be able to compete with the Sooners inside.  Their guard play keeps it close.
 
National Championship
Louisville over Oklahoma - The Cardinals are just the better overall team at the moment, peaking at the right time.
I'll be providing regular updates on my picks during the tournament.  I'll also be providing updates of the first annual SBN Site Bracket Bonanza throughout the tournament to see how my sheet is doing against those entered by other SBN site managers.
Good luck and enjoy the best three weeks of the year!
 

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