What did I screw up? Plenty, but all my Final Four choices are still in. Let’s look at the less than obvious choices. UNC was expected to be at this level and are playing lights-out ball right now. That’s about as simple as it gets. Tennessee and Memphis are serious liabilities at the free throw line, UCLA scared the crap out of just about everyone who’d picked them to win it all. Kansas made short work of its first two opponents.
I should know better after watching the Pac-10 all year to have dismissed Washington State so easily. That’s a bad oversight, because I forgot that they played lockdown defense. Do I think they will beat UNC? Probably not, but it’s more validation for Tony Bennett.
Michigan State looked really inconsistent all year and then reels off two solid games to get back to the 16 — beating a Pitt team that was a very popular choice to go to the Final Four in the East. Now they get Memphis, and this is the round where no one will be surprised if Memphis loses to any of hte teams left.
I knew nothing about Western Kentucky going into the tournament. I guess I better know now. I don’t have the same excuse for Davidson — I knew Stephen Curry was good, but 70 points in two games good? That I wasn’t aware of.
Wisconsin is consistent. They play Bo Ryan’s style and do it well enough to get back to the 16 even though they were a popular upset target.
Xavier worries me, they’ve had to make comebacks, and they’re going against a West Virginia team that’s overachieving in ways no one expected this year (this is one of the only feathers in my cap that I get to claim, predicting that WVU would beat Duke in that exact game.)
Texas has great players, but they’re just as likely to shoot poorly at the line as Memphis and Tennessee — and they have to play Stanford, who shoots well from the line, has better inside presence. Rick Barnes better hope Trent Johnson gets pissed off for no reason again.
Villanova, I completely passed on, and forgot that Jay Wright had gotten Wildcat teams to the Sweet 16 twice, now three times in four years as head coach. Oh well. Beating Siena wasn’t the hardest road into the 16, but who expected Villanova to be here right now?
Photo: AP/Chuck Burton
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