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.

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