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Bracket breakdown

March 16, 2009

With the 65 teams set to begin the madness on Thursday, I figured it would be a good time to lay out my predictions.  I have to say that this year I have followed college basketball more than ever.  Last year I won two of my brackets, and after looking at the matchups for this year’s tourney, I am very confident.  The breakdown will first consist of teams that were on the good side of the bubble, and on the other side of the spectrum, where the bubble burst for a few unfortunate squads.  


Let’s Dance!

Arizona- A 19-13 record made me skeptical about their chances, but quality wins against Gonzaga, Kansas, Washington, and UCLA were too much to keep the Wildcats out.  They have a favorable matchup against Utah, and the Cats definitely have the talent to make a sweet 16 run.  25 years in a row in the tourney, what a streak!

Michigan- Beating Duke, and UCLA early in the season basically solidified a tourney birth for the Wolverines.  Solid wins over illinois,minnesota twice, and purdue, made the Wolverines more of a sure thing than a bubble team.

Maryland-  The Terps got hot at the right time, as beating UNC, Mich State, and Michigan were big wins.  Combined with two ACC tourney wins, including one against Wake Forest, made Maryland basically a shoe in.

Minnesota- The Gophers beat Louisville, enough said

Wisconsin-  Sweeping Penn State, and Michigan ultimately got the Badgers into the tournament.  The selection committee couldn’t allow Michigan in while excluding Wisconsin.  A 10-8 record in Big 10 play also held strong



Auburn-  Going 10-6 in SEC play was obviously not enough in such a weak conference.  Auburn did a little to much too late.  Losing to Mercer, and only two RPI top 50 wins led to their downfall, and evident NIT bid.

Creighton-  Cleveland State winning the Horizon League tournament made the Blue Jays chances slim.  USC and Temple surprisingly taking down the Pac 10 and A 10 respectfully, did not help matters for Creighton.

Penn State-  A very weak non conference schedule in which the best victory was against #118 ranked Mount Saint Mary’s made it hard to select the Nittany Lions for the tournament.

Saint Mary’s-  Star guard, Patty Mills going down with a broken hand with 10 games remaining in the season, was too much to cope with for the Gaels.  Losing 3 times to Gonzaga, and only having wins against 3 top 100 teams (Utah State, San Diego State, and Providence) was not very impressive.

San Diego State-  When your best non conference win comes against Cal State Northridge, you know your bubble is getting bursted.


Bracket Predictions:


1 Louisville vs winner of play in game? : Does it really matter who they meet in the first round? No 16 seed has ever beaten a 1 seed, and that will not change this year.

8 Ohio State vs. 9 Siena:  You might as well flip a coin on this one, but I am leaning toward Siena.  They still have the nucleus that upset Vanderbilt in the first round last year.  I am going to go with the Saints in a minor upset here.  As well as Ohio State played in the big 10 tournament, I don’t believe that the big 10 is that good this year.

5 Utah vs 12 Arizona:  I was surprised when I saw Arizona make the tournament.  However, now that they are in they are dangerous.  If Budinger, Hill, and Wise are on their game the Wildcats will go to the sweet 16 if not farther.  The Utes will be defeated.

4 Wake Forest vs 13 Cleveland St:  The first major upset of this tournament, I think Cleveland State has a great chance of upsetting Wake Forest.  Reason being, Jeff Teague is the only consistent shooter for Deacons.  Cleveland State plays tantalizing defense, and will disrupt the Wake Forest offensive tempo.  Wake forest is 1 and done.

6 West Virginia vs 11 Dayton:  Dayton has had a great season, but the Mountaineers have too much firepower.  Ruoff will have a big game, and Butler, and Ebanks are really starting to take their games to another level.

3 Kansas vs 14 North Dakota State:  Kansas better watch out here, because the Bison are going to give them a run for their money.  I see the Jayhawks prevailing in the end by 4 or 5 points.  Ben Woodside is a senior point guard, and a floor general.  Collins will be too tough for him down the stretch though.  Woodside does shoot 43% from downtown, and Michael Tveidt and Brent Winkelman can be lethal from downtown as well.  

7 Boston College vs 10 USC:  I am all about momentum heading into the big dance, and for that reason I have to go with the Trojans.  The grit they showed in that 15 point comeback win against Arizona State in the Pac 10 makes them too hard to pick against.  As much as I love Tyrese Rice, USC has too much firepower heading in.

2 Michigan State vs 15 Robert Morris:  Congratulations to Robert Morris getting into the tournament, but their excitement will be short lived.  Izzo always has his boys ready for tourney time, and the Spartans are prepped for a run at a final 4.  They have a boatload of talent starting at their point guard position with Kalin Lucas.  Raymar Morgan is expected to have a big tourney, after finally recovering from pneumonia.  

I will be back with the East bracket predictions tomorrow



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