Home > Uncategorized > Quick Reactions To The 2011 March Madness Bracket

Quick Reactions To The 2011 March Madness Bracket

I’m sitting here watching ESPN’s Bracketology and 25 minutes into the program, not one word has been spoken about the games that are going to be played; it’s just been about trying to digest those who got left out those who were fortunate enough to find themselves in the field.

Just say it: This is the worst NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament the selection committee has ever constructed since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

As a Conference USA guy, I too am shocked that UAB got a chance to play for a national title over the likes of Colorado and Virginia Tech. Viriginia Commonwealth has even less of a case as to why it belongs.

But the committee thought both of those teams did. March Madness will not be canceled. No changes are coming to the field. This is the bracket. Deal with it and move on.

Here are just some random bullet-point thoughts I have about some teams right now. And since this is March Madness, there’s a very good chance that what I say here will change in about a day. Or an hour. Or as I’m writing this.

  • No doubt in my mind that the East is the strongest region. Looking past the obvious — Ohio State, North Carolina, Syracuse and Kentucky — Washington is the strongest No. 7 seed, Xavier, a No. 6 seed, is always a tough out this time of year, and West Virginia is probably the second-toughest No. 5 seed in the tourney behind only Kansas St.
  • I think Duke has the easiest road to Houston. Texas could be a huge challenge if they have the mental fortitude to fight against the likes of Oakland, which will be tough, and Arizona. San Diego State doesn’t match up well with the Blue Devils, and Connecticut can’t possibly have enough energy left to make it to the Elite Eight, can it?
  • The 5/12 upsets are always prevalent, and I definitely see a few in this field. I love Richmond against Vanderbilt, which I just have no confidence in to beat a hot team like the Spiders. Utah State is drastically under-seeded as a No. 12 seed. The Aggies are a veteran team who can battle Kansas State on the boards and get a win.
  • My biggest upset right now by seed is Belmont over Wisconsin, and it’s one that I am very comfortable with. The Bruins are team with some great guards, that play great defense and make the second-most 3-pointers per game in Division I.  Wisconsin, obviously, is also a solid defensive squad, but Belmont can flat-out outscore the Baaaadgers.
  • I have to imagine that USC, VCU and UAB are headed into this tournament with a chip on their shoulders. Everyone is bashing them, but hey, they’re in. Now they will compile all of this criticism and use it as fuel. I think USC has the best chance of those three to ruin some brackets.
  • I’m not man enough to pick a No. 15 seed over a No. 2, but I think a decent number of brackets will pick Wofford to beat BYU. Everyone knows how much that team has struggled without Brandon Davies, so the Terriers will be a chic pick used by those to surprise their friends. They’ll be wrong, but if you are looking for the best bet for a 3/14 upset, there it is.
  • Notre Dame has the best chance of any No. 2 seed to reach the Elite 8, kind of by default. I think Florida is overrated, San Diego State won’t be able to get past Connecticut — if the Huskies get there out of the first weekend — and I think Washington matches up very well with North Carolina. Purdue is the only team that has a legitamate shot to beat the Fighting Irish in the first two weekends, and I think Notre Dame can get past them with their top shooters, Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis.
  • A 7/10 seed always seems to take down a No. 2 seed, or at least give them one hell of a scare. I think Washington can be that team this year. I’ll also put nothing past Tom Izzo and Michigan State Spartans, who are finally playing near their potential. A second-round matchup in a 2000 title game rematch against Florida looks inevitable and compelling.
  • Final Four picks three weeks ago of time? There is a 100 percent chance these choices will change this week, but as of right now I’ve got Kansas as my tournament winner. Of course, that was also the case last year. Kansas will be met in Houston by Duke and North Carolina, if the Tar Heels can get past Washington. In the Southeast, I have absolutely no idea. That quarter has a bunch of teams with questions and concerns, so I’ll go out on a limb and take St. John’s. I know D.J. Kennedy is done for the season, but I’m just not a believer in Florida or Pittsburgh. What’s wrong with being different? Anyone have Butler playing in April last year?

Good luck filling out your brackets. I’ll have about four or five of my own. I usually put all my eggs in one basket so that I have a true rooting interest in each game, including many where I wouldn’t care less otherwise. But the beauty is you can do whatever you want and have no concerns about looking stupid. No strategy in selecting your entire bracket is without fail. Other than a No. 16 knocking out a top dog — which will happen one of these days — there’s at least an argument to be made for every team either winning or losing.

You have about 87 hours to complete all of your brackets. I already know I’ll be second-guessing up to the 86:59:59 mark. But I love every second of it.

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