Ill-Advised 2nd Round Tourney Predictions

I picked 25 of the first 32 games correctly, which ain’t half bad — although I wish I’d stuck with my gut and picked Villanova over Clemson. I think that one hurts the most, but being quite possibly one of the very few who agonizes over brackets and picking the San Diego Toreros to beat UConn like they did yesterday means I’m giving myself a big ego massage (as well as the Siena upset). However, watching USC lose hurts. Let’s go through the Sat-Sun match-ups and pick some winners. The teams I didn’t pick on my bracket will be in boldface.

Also, I’ll be at Awful Announcing today, helping chronicle the games and the worst of the announcing in a big fat open thread.

WEST REGIONAL:

  • West Virginia over Duke: I have this circled on a paper copy of my bracket for a reason — this Duke team is not deep and does not pound inside. If they do not get Joe Alexander in foul trouble, they’re fucked, and based on yesterday’s survival against Belmont, they may already be fucked.
  • Xavier beats Purdue: It’ll be closer than I think after Xavier had to come back against Georgia, but I’ll take A-10 over Big 10 this year.
  • UCLA wins against Texas A&M: It’ll be more of a contest for the Bruins tonight, but they’ll still get through.
  • San Diego over Western Kentucky: I’m not going to pick against the Toreros right here. WKU’s last second win was impressive (I had Drake losing to UCLA in the sixteen), but I think USD has the proverbial ONIONS!!! to make it another round further.

MIDWEST:

  • Kansas State over Wisconsin: I had USC beating Wisky here, but I will take K-State for the same reasons — this is a team that presents things offensively that the Badgers have no answers for if they don’t hold them down defensively.
  • Kansas beats UNLV: My co-worker and Rebel alum will hate me, but it ends here for Lon Krueger and crew. There’s just too much firepower under Bill Self’s thumb.
  • Georgetown tops Davidson: Love Stephen Curry. Love him. But G-Town plays such a disciplined style of ball with Wallace, Jessie Sapp, and Roy Hibbert in the middle.
  • Villanova over Siena: These teams are kind of like mirror images to me — smaller teams that get after you, take advantage of your mistakes. I take Nova here because Jay Wright’s been in this situation before as a coach.

SOUTH:

  • Stanford over Marquette: If we’ve learned anything so far, it’s that having agile shooters and scorers can overcome a lack of size — but I think Stanford will pull it out because of the Lopez twins and their rebounding and defensive acumen.
  • Pitt beats Michigan State: Drew Neitzel shows up during tourney games, but I have this motivated Pitt team beating Memphis in the next round, and I’m not deviating from that.
  • Texas tops Miami: Too much talent in Austin for the ‘Canes to top. The U did a nice job this season, though.
  • Memphis beats Mississippi State: The Tigers will survive, although I don’t think this one’s a blowout.

EAST:

  • Notre Dame beats Washington State: Wazzu is a good, disciplined team (why I decided to go with Winthrop I don’t know), but I think Notre Dame shoots too well outside and has enough inside with Harangody to pull this one out.
  • Tennessee wins against Butler: Bad draw for the Bulldogs comes back to haunt them again. They should have been a five seed.
  • Louisville knocks off Oklahoma: I didn’t have the Sooners getting even this far, so nice job, guys, and Jeff Capel’s doing something right in Norman. But Pitino knows how to get a team going.
  • UNC beats Arkansas: This’ll be it for U-Pig, but they’ve had a good season under Pelphrey in his first year as coach — wait until he gets his recruits in.

Photo: AP/Mike Carlson

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