Reverse Barometer: March Madness Edition
It’s that time of year again – March Madness. The Reverse Barometer takes a look at each regional and we make our picks for the Final Four.
This might be the best one-two punch of any region with Wisconsin and Arizona. There’s always one regional that has a couple of top seeds that could easily win it all. Last season, Wisconsin and Arizona played one of the best games of the tournament in the Elite Eight. Looks like it could be another one this season.
Baylor is the No. 3 seed in the West. Yes, they played fairly well in the Big 12 this season. They’re intriguing but I cannot see them getting past Arizona. I actually like North Carolina’s chances more in a possible upset of the Badgers, but I wouldn’t bet on that either. Anyone taking the No. 7 VCU Rams lightly should think again. For instance, don’t take the bigger “name” in Ohio State over them in the first round. They could make some noise.
Ah, Kentucky. You seem to catch all the breaks. Undefeated at 34-0 and still rolling. I usually stay away from teams that are due for a loss (see Wichita State last season), but this bracket sets up perfectly for them. The Wildcats get (in my opinion) the weakest No. 2 seed in Kansas, especially with forward Cliff Alexander having eligibility issues.
Notre Dame is a great team that is fun to watch. They move the ball well and hunt down the open shot. The Irish can shoot the rock and this gives them a puncher’s chance against big boy Kentucky. Dark horse in this regional might be the Buffalo Bulls with head coach Bobby Hurley. They will be a handful for anyone who plays them.
Duke is the No. 1 seed for a reason; they have balance of youth and veteran experience. They got bounced in their first game last year and don’t think that doesn’t add some motivation for their upper classmen. No. 2 Gonzaga? OK, that’s nice. The Zags don’t win in March.
If you’re going to pick a team other than Duke to win this bracket, think about Iowa State. They have five players who average double-figure scoring and don’t turn the ball over. Then there’s SMU. They’re obviously well-coached and are hungry. Could they make some noise? It’s possible.
Villanova hasn’t lost a game since January, and they rewarded them with… the toughest bracket in the dance. Virginia, Oklahoma, Louisville, Michigan State, NC State and even Northern Iowa all could make problems for whoever they face.
One game that we might end up seeing would be Michigan State vs. Louisville in the Elite Eight. Both teams play defense and know how to rebound.
Final Four Picks
Midwest: Kentucky – they’re the best team in the tournament and they have a very good route to the Final Four. No other team in this regional has a prayer.
South: Iowa State – Balanced scoring. Protect the ball. Big 12 Tournament Champs. Hey – all No. 1 seeds can’t make it, right? Sorry, Duke. Count me on the SMU bandwagon too – they have the ability to make a run.
East: Virginia – They haven’t played as well lately but I still like them. They looked like a No. 1 seed earlier in the season. Michigan State is my pick for a possible dark horse here.
Champions: Kentucky. This team is special and will make history. I kinda wrestled with this pick, though, as I see their biggest obstacle being Wisconsin in the Final Four. And then there’s that “due-for-a-loss theory” thing.