Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bracket Busters + The First Four

BRACKET BUSTERS: This is what my bracket looked like before March Madness, and it may be busted after the Second Round. (photo by Bryan Curtiss; bracket printed from CBSSports.com)

The snow has melted. The leprechauns have sprung out. Maybe it's time for March Madness?

This year, in the Men's Division I NCAA Tournament, the field has expanded from 65 to 68 games, and the play-in round has now expanded to four teams, and this round is the new first round. Like in years past with the one play-in game, all four first round games, or "The First Four" will be played in Dayton, Ohio.

The first game saw the UNC Asheville Bulldogs defeat the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans 81-77 in Overtime. The Bulldogs beat Texas Southern in Overtime in the play-in game in 2003, and they will face the Pitt Panthers on Thursday in Washington D.C.

Another change this year is the spread of tournament action. For 29 years, CBS had complete coverage of the tournament. This year, CBS gets help from TNT, TBS, and TruTV (yup, the former CourtTV) with early games.

UPSET PICK: Belmont Bruins. This little Bible school from Nashville could overpower Wisconsin, despite Wisconsin's name-recognition and Big Ten status. Bo Ryan's boys could be in for disappointment.

THIS YEAR'S CINDERELLA: Belmont. They could face Utah State in the third round if both overpower their higher-seeded opponents.

FIRST # 1 SEED to FALL: Pitt. Butler lost the National Championship by two points for a reason. They were a tough-mentality team. Look for Butler to give Pitt their all on Saturday, if Butler wins on Thursday.

FINAL FOUR: UConn, Ohio State, Kansas, and BYU.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: # 1 vs. # 2. Ohio State and Kansas

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Carry On My Wayward Son, for There'll be peace when you are done, lay your weary head to rest...Kansas wins in a nailbiting squeaker.

Here is the NCAA Women's Bracket, and my predictions for it. Can UConn repeat? Or Will Tennessee take them down in the Final Four?

My predictions for the final four are UConn, Stanford, Tennessee, and Baylor, with Tennessee topping rival UConn, while Baylor upsets Stanford. All people are eyeing a UConn-Stanford rematch. After all, the Lady Cardinal ended the Lady Huskies' record 90-game winning streak on December 30. But, time will only tell.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness- The Brackets


The pairings for the 2011 NCAA Tournament were being announced.

The Top Seeds- Ohio State (East Region), Kansas (Southwest Region), Duke (West Region), Pitt (Southeast Region)
Final Four- East Region vs West Region; Southwest Region vs Southeast Region

14 cities will host NCAA tournament games from March 17th to April 4

East Region:
1) Ohio State Buckeyes (32-2)- Friday in Cleveland; Buckeyes- Top Overall # 1 Seed
16) Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (19-13)/Alabama State Hornets (17-17)- Wednesday @ 6:30 in Dayton; winner plays OSU

8) George Mason Patriots (26-6)
9) Villanova Wildcats (21-11)- Friday in Cleveland

5) West Virginia Mountaineers (20-11)- Thursday in Tampa
12) UAB Blazers (22-8)/Clemson Tigers (21-11)- Tuesday @ 9PM in Dayton

4) Kentucky Wildcats (25-8)
13) Princeton Tigers (25-6)- Thursday in Tampa

2) North Carolina Tarheels (26-7)
15) Long Island Blackbirds (27-5)- Fri in Charlotte

7) Washington Huskies (23-10)
10) Georgia Bulldogs (21-11)- Charlotte

3) Syracuse Orangemen (26-7)
14) Indiana State Sycamores (20-13)- Fri in Cleveland

6) Xavier Musketeers (24-7)
11) Marquette Golden Eagles (20-14)- Fri in Cleveland

West Region:
1) Duke Blue Devils (30-4)- Fri in Charlotte
16) Hampton Pirates (24-8)

8) Michigan Wolverines (20-13)- Fri in Charlotte
9) Tennessee Volunteers (19-14)

5) Arizona Wildcats (27-7)- Fri in Tulsa
12) Memphis Tigers (25-9)

4) Texas Longhorns (27-7)- Fri in Tulsa
13) Oakland Grizzlies (25-9)

2) San Diego State Aztecs (32-2)- Thurs in Tucson
15) Northern Colorado Bears (21-10)- First-Ever Appearance for the Bears (Big Sky Champions)

7) Temple Owls (25-7)- Thurs in Tucson
10) Penn State Nittany Lions (19-14)- first appearance in Tourney since 2001

3) UConn Huskies (26-9)- Thurs in DC; UConn- 5 games played in last five days
14) Bucknell Bison (25-8)

6) Cincinnati Bearcats (25-8)- Thurs in DC
11) Missouri Tigers (23-10)

Southwest Region:
1) Kansas Jayhawks (32-2)- Fri in Tulsa
16) Boston University Terriers (21-13)

8) UNLV Rebels (24-8)- Fri in Tulsa
9) Illinois Fighting Illini (19-13)- Lon Kruger (UNLV coach) previously coached Illini

5) Vanderbilt Commodores (23-10)- Thurs in Denver
12) Richmond Spiders (27-7)

4) Louisville Cardinals (25-9)- Thurs in Denver; Louisville & Morehead State are separated by 130 miles in Kentucky
13) Morehead State Eagles (24-9)

2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (26-6)- Fri in Chicago
15) Akron Zips (23-12)

7) Texas A&M Aggies (24-8)- Fri in Chicago
10) Florida State Seminoles (21-10)

3) Purdue Boilermakers (25-7)- Fri in Chicago
14) Saint Peter's Peacocks (20-13)

6) Georgetown Hoyas (21-10)- Fri in Chicago
11) Southern Cal Trojans (19-14)/VCU Rams (23-11)- Weds @ 9PM in Dayton, winner plays Georgetown

Southeast Region:
1) Pittsburgh Panthers (27-5)- Washington DC
16) UNC Asheville Bulldogs (19-13)/Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans (19-16)- Tues @ 6:30 in Dayton

8) Butler Bulldogs (23-9)- Thurs in Washington DC; Butler- last year's runner-up
9) Old Dominion Monarchs (27-6)

5) Kansas State Wildcats (22-10)- Thurs in Tucson
12) Utah State Aggies (30-3)

4) Wisconsin Badgers (23-8)- Thurs in Tuscon
13) Belmont Bruins (30-4)

2) Florida Gators (26-7)- Thurs in Tampa
15) UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos (18-13)

7) UCLA Bruins (22-10)- Thurs in Tampa
10) Michigan State Spartans (19-14)- 14th consecutive appearance

3) BYU Cougars (30-4)- Thurs in Denver
14) Wofford Terriers (21-12)

6) St. John's Red Storm (21-11)- Thurs in Denver
11) Gonzaga Bulldogs (24-9)- 13th consecutive appearance

The Bubble Has Burst for these Teams...
Harvard (22-9)- The Ivy League co-champions lost a heartbreaker to Princeton on the final shot of a 63-62 loss in an Ivy League playoff yesterday; the last time the Crimson made it to the tournament was way back in 1946. Ranked 32nd in the RPI ratings.
Alabama (21-13)- They beat Georgia on Friday in the SEC tournament, and Georgia gets in and Alabama didn't; also SEC West Champions
Saint Mary's (24-8)
Virigina Tech (21-11)
Boston College (20-12)
Missouri State

Big East- 11 (a record for most bids in a single season)
Big Ten- 7
Big 12- 5
SEC- 5
ACC- 4
Pac-10- 4

Last 6 in- Clemson, UAB, USC, VCU, Marquette, Missouri
30 Power Conference at-large bids; 7 non-power at large bids (12 in 2004)

Breakdown by State:
Alabama- 2 (Alabama State, UAB)
Arizona- 1 (Arizona)
Arkansas- 1 (Arkansas-Little Rock)
California- 3 (Southern Cal, UCLA, UC-Santa Barbara)
Colorado- 1 (Northern Colorado)
Connecticut- 1 (UConn)
District of Columbia- 1 (Georgetown)
Georgia- 1 (Georgia)
Illinois- 1 (Illinois)
Indiana- 4 (Notre Dame, Indiana State, Purdue, Butler)
Kansas- 2 (Kansas, Kansas State)
Kentucky- 3 (Kentucky, Louisville, Morehead State)
Massachusetts- 1 (Boston U)
Michigan- 3 (Michigan, Michigan State, Oakland)
Missouri- 1 (Missouri)
Nevada- 1 (UNLV)
New Jersey- 2 (Princeton, St. Peter's)
New York- 3 (Long Island, St. John's, Syracuse)
North Carolina- 3 (North Carolina, Duke, UNC-Asheville)
Ohio- 4 (Ohio State, Akron, Cincinnati, Xavier)
Pennsylvania- 4 (Penn State, Pitt, Villanova, Bucknell)
South Carolina- 2 (Clemson, Wofford)
Tennessee- 4 (Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Belmont)
Texas- 3 (Texas, Texas-San Antonio, Texas A&M)
Utah- 2 (Utah State, BYU)
Virginia- 4 (VCU, Old Dominion, Richmond, Hampton)
Washington- 2 (Washington, Gonzaga)
West Virginia- 1 (West Virginia)
Wisconsin- 2 (Wisconsin, Marquette)

States with Most Teams:
4- Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia
3- California, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, and Texas

Metro Areas with 2 or More Teams:
3- New York City (St. John's, St. Peter's, Long Island)
2- Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Xavier); Detroit (Michigan, Oakland); Indianapolis (Purdue, Butler), Los Angeles (UCLA, USC); Nashville (Belmont, Vanderbilt); Philadelphia (Temple, Villanova), Richmond, Va. (Richmond, VCU)