Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Few thoughts on NCAA men's basketball tournament

The first day of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament is one of the three really good dates on the sports calendar, joining Super Bowl Sunday and the final round of The Masters. The first Thursday of NCAA games is far better than the Monday championship game just because of volume.
So before that day begins, here's a few predictions on what will happen:
It's tough to pick against Kansas. The Jayhwaks have a veteran point guard, a big horse in the middle and a lot of young, athletic perimeter players as complements. No. 2 seed Ohio State doesn't have the depth to pull the upset, making Georgetown the only team likely to threaten Kansas.
Kentucky relies on too many young, albeit talented, players to win this tournament. West Virginia would be a threat, but count on coach Bob Huggins to do something that gets his team beat. New Mexico is an intriguing, unknown entity in that region.
It's been a long time since Duke played up to its seed, and this year will be no different. The Blue Devils rely on too much jump-shooting to win six games. They'll get a good test from Louisville or Cal in the second round, Texas A&M in the third round and likely Villanova in the region finals. That's too many consecutive games to be at your best.
The West bracket seems the toughest to predict. Syracuse has been tremendous all season, but losing in the first round of the Big East tournament with the center getting injured has cast doubt on the Orange. Kansas State is dangerous, which would make for a great region final.
The Gophers play Xavier in the first round in a who-cares game. It should be competitive, which is code for ugly but close, but neither team can handle Pittsburgh in the next round.

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