March Madness is finally here. Growing up in upstate New York, baseball was just about the only sport I followed. But, when I arrived at the University of Florida in the mid 80s, I started following college hoops. We went to all the home Gator games at the O'Connell center under coach Norm Sloan. We used to see Norm driving home from practice just about every day in his van, and he we would always wave if you yelled his name. Anyway, ever since moving to the Triangle area in North Carolina, I have gotten to experience hoops country first hand. It is amazing how just about everybody gets into these college basketball rivalries. Every year I have filled out a NCAA bracket to enter in the work office pool. Well, here we go. I'll try to step you thru my picks. Some based on what I have seen, and some based on looking stuff up.
Some Hoops related articles:
Bracketology: "American businesses lose millions upon millions of dollars because of a simple little 65-team college basketball tournament, quaintly nicknamed "March Madness."
The Post Game: "Grab your Bracketville bus pass and let's take a little tour"
A Method Of March Madness :"The Score Card formula suggests that only four pieces of information about each team are highly important in determining performance in the tournament"
Put Historical Stats into perspective :"Others might note how common it is for at least one 12th seed to win in the first round. But these stats need to be put into perspective.
My Final Four
The Atlanta Region:
#1 Duke seed over #16 Southern : Eventually a #1 seed will go down. But not Duke, Not in Greensboro.
#8 George Washington over #9 UNCW (Wilmington) : UNCW finished year strong, but going with Coach Hobbs.
#5 Syracuse over #12 Texas A&M : Gators beat Syracuse team, but picking Big East Tourney Champ.
#4 LSU over #13 Iona: Coach Ruland played here under Valvano. The LSU Tigers win this one
#6 W. Virginia over #11 S. Illionois: Southern Illinois could not beat Monmouth
#3 Iowa over #14 NW State: Conference RPI says Big 10 is strong.
#7 California over #10 NC State: This is a tough one. Pick against Herb. Implications?
#2 Texas over #15 Penn: Except against Duke, Texas looked great this year.
Duke over GW: Dukies are battle tested.
LSU over Syracuse: Syracuse streak will end
Iowa over W. Virginia: Steve Alford making last Iowa run?
Texas Over Cal: RPI likes Texas
Duke and Texas battle it out for a trip to the final four with Duke coming out on top again.
The Oakland Region:
#1 Memphis over #16 Oral Roberts: The best #16 team in tourney
#8 Arkansas over #9 Bucknell: Arkansas is very talented with Rodney Brewer
#5 Pitt over #12 Kent St. : Big East has talent
#4 Kansas over #13 Bradley : This young Kansas team gets the victory for Self.
#11 S.D. St over #6 Indiana: Heck, S.D. Beat Albany. Mike Davis goes home.
#3 Gonzaga over #14 Xavier: Adam Morrison is pretty good
#10 Alabama over #7 Marquette: SEC early exit
#2 UCLA over #15 Belmont : Its Bruins time again
Pitt will beat Kansas, while Arkansas will lose a close one to Memphis
Gonzaga will beat S.D. St. and UCLA will beat Tide.
Pitt will oust Memphis and Gonzaga beats UCLA, Gonzaga will then reaches Final Four.
The Washington Region:
#1 Connecticut over #16 Albany: The NY school gets its cup of coffee
#8 Kentucky over #9 UAB: Wildcats figure it out
#5 Washington over #12 Utah St. : Washington is talented that lacks PR
#4 Illinois over #13 AirForce : Ron Zook's school gets a win
#6 Michigan St over #11 George Mason: Tom Izzo factor
#3 UNC over #14 Murray St: Roy Williams is a good coach
#7 Wichita St. over #10 Seton Hall: Hall is not as strong as it usually is
#2 Tennessee over #15 Winthrop : Vols may not be a true #2, but they have scorers
Uconn over Kentucky: Who doesn't like UConn here?
Washington over Illinois: No Final Four for Illinois this year
Mich. St over UNC: Wait Til Next year for UNC
Wichita St. Over Vols: Bruce Pearl not enough
Washington will oust UConn and Mich St beats Wichita, Washington reaches Final Four.
The Minneapolis Region:
#1 Nova over #16 whoever: This is a gimmee
#9 Wisconsin over #8 Arizona: Lute Olson with his early exits
#5 Nevada over #12 Montana : Battle of Unknowns
#4 BC over #13 Pacific : BC continues to impress
#6 Oklahoma over #11 U-Milw (Wisc)
#3 Florida over #14 S. Alabama: Billy beats former Gators assistant.
#7 Georgetown over #10 N. Iowa: Thompson II
#2 OSU over #15 Davidson : Big 10 Matta
Nova over Wisconsin
BC over Nevada
Gators over Oklahoma
OSU over Georgetown
Villanova will teak care of former Big East team Boston College and Gators Beat OSU, Villanova reaches Final Four.