How’s Your Bracket?
After a wild start to the NCAA tournament that stretched into the weekend, most people’s brackets were busted to smitherines (while Warren Buffett laughed) when it came to the first two rounds. Yet unless you had Duke, Ohio State or Kansas going far, your bracket is probably alive and well. But how many of your Final Four team picks will survive and advance?
Best game of the weekend – was it Kentucky-Wichita State or North Carolina-Iowa State?
Both were great. The Wildcats and Shockers game felt like a Final Four game, with both teams looking like they really wanted it. Neither would back down and it wasn’t decided until the final buzzer. Many questioned whether Wichita State would live up to a No. 1 seed billing, and I believe they did, despite not making the Sweet Sixteen.
North Carolina and Iowa State took things to the wire as well, and a back-and-forth match-up was finally decided by the referees when they determined that time did indeed run out before UNC called a timeout, down by two.
The best bracket four-some is the one we thought we would get at the beginning of the tournament – the Midwest.
All eyes will be on Kentucky-Louisville next week, as the two rivals square off. Which Kentucky team will show up? The inconsistent one from the regular season or the one that was ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason poll and looked the part in the second half vs. Wichita State? If Aaron Harrison can knock down threes and Julius Randle plays to his ability in the paint like both did on Sunday, the Wildcats have a shot against last year’s champs.
On the flip side, Louisville did beat St. Louis in the second round, but also committed 19 turnovers in the process. The Billikens could not hit the broad side of a barn in that game and the Cardinals pulled away.
The Reverse Barometer early call is Kentucky. A little due theory combined with belief in what I saw Sunday out of the Wildcats has something to do with it.
Tennessee should not be discounted vs. Michigan either. They entered the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country and are still playing like it. Their defense has been outstanding and they are shooting the ball with more confidence. I still like Michigan here, but the Vols will make it tough on them.
The West bracket seems to have less drama, at least in its Sweet Sixteen matchups. Anything but an Arizona-Wisconsin final would surprise me, and I still like the Badgers, who are flying under everyone’s radar, to end up winning the regional.
The South has Florida-UCLA on one side and cinderellas Dayton and Stanford on the other. This adds up to one thing, in my opinion – Florida with a cakewalk into the Final Four.
If there’s one game that I am personally looking forward to next week, it’s Michigan State-Virginia. Everyone and their dog has picked the Spartans to win the East regional, and no one is even giving Virginia a chance. That game (scheduled for Friday) could be a classic. Iowa State should be able to handle Connecticut, but expect the winner of Cavaliers-Spartans to be in Arlington.