TSB.net NCAA Tourney Predictions Part 2

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By the TSB Staff

Peter Christian

East Regional

Winner: UNC
Sleeper: St. Joe’s
Early Exit: Indiana.
I can’t decide if UNC was handed a super easy road to the Elite 8 or if they really are that good. Since I will never publicly admit the latter, the former is a much better option. UNC vs. Tennessee could be an epic battle; I just hope (Erin Andrews probably does as well) that Bruce Pearl keeps his hands to himself.
 

Midwest Regional

Winner: Wisconsin
Sleeper: Clemson
Early Exit: Gonzaga

Wisconsin has been extremely balanced all year long and their high level of play throughout the Big Ten will translate well against Georgetown. Clemson opened my eyes over the weekend and played their way from an 8 or 9 seed to a 5 seed. They will stay hot and knock off Kansas.

South Regional

Winner: Memphis
Sleeper: Pittsbugh
Early Exit: Michigan State

I don’t think I have ever picked an entire regional to go according to the seedings. Until now. I’ll admit, I feel kind of dirty doing it. Memphis will face plenty of questions about having to possibly face Texas in the Lone Star State even though they are the higher seed, but the Tigers can roll over the Longhorns.
 

West Regional

Winner: UCLA
Sleeper: Western Kentucky
Early Exit: UConn
Even though UCLA is labeled as the third #1 seed it appears they have the easiest road to the Final Four. Only a streaking (not that kind of streaking) Duke could challenge the True Blue, but I think the winner of the Purdue vs. Xavier will send them back to Durham.

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National Championship Game

UCLA over UNC… I won’t even pretend to hide the fact that I am absolutely giddy at the opportunity to see Kevin Love wipe the floor with Tyler Hansbrough’s stupid face. UCLA will stop UNC from running the floor and Ben Howland will completely out-coach Roy Williams for the Bruins to hang a 12th Championship Banner at Pauley Pavillion.

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UCLA My team’s chances (optimistically & realistically)
They are among the NCAA elite this season and have the balance to overcome the hurdle they have faced in the last two Final Fours. Instead of relying on their defense and guard play, the Bruins now have an inside-out game with a dominant low post presence in Kevin Love. Darren Collison is also one of the best pure point guards in the nation and his defensive skills will smother any opponent’s back court scoring option. UCLA also has the supporting cast (Josh Shipp, Russell Westbrook, Lorenzo Mata and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) to adapt their play to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses. 

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Quentin’s picks

East Regional
Winner: UNC
Sleeper: Winthrop
Early Exit: Indiana

Have you heard the one about George Mason being this year’s George Mason? Oh. And that seemed so clever! (It didn’t). Did you hear about the media behemoth that hired a “legendary” coach just a few weeks after he bailed on his team mid-season? Then they trotted him out wearing what he slept in the night before so their “experts” can kiss his butt for a couple hours a “Knight.” All this despite the fact that this former coach turned analyst hasn’t been relevant for about a decade or more. Can we get CBS a lifetime contract for the NCAAs? Yeah, their studio guys try too hard, but at least they aren’t self-aggrandizing when they do it. (Unlike a certain four-lettered network). If Winthrop can beat Wazzu, it sets up an interesting rematch with Notre Dame, whom the Eagles eliminated last year.

Midwest Regional
Winner: Georgetown
Sleeper: Siena
Early Exit: Vanderbilt

Georgetown just knows how to win. Plus, I love that Jordan brand commercial they’ve got going. Gives me goosebumps. That’s not why I’m picking them though, I swear. As for sleepers, I’m just taking 13 seeds until I think of something better to do. Two weeks ago, I was taking Davidson no matter who they played. Today I heard that they’re favored
over Gonzaga…which obviously means the Zags will make the Elite 8.
South Regional
Winner: Texas
Sleeper: Marquette
Early Exit: Stanford

This was the toughest region for me to find a winner for and I’m not all that happy with the Longhorns. I really dislike Mempis because they’re too thuggy and I can’t root for them, Texas seems far from a lock (DJ Augustin gets a bit too “shooty”), I can’t cheer for Stanford (I followed Arizona as my #1 college team until I went to college), Pitt can’t stay as hot as they were during the BET, and Michigan State totally bores me. Which brings us to Marquette, whom I’ll discuss below and is maddeningly inconsistent. Other than that, I own the south like T.I.

West Regional
Winner: UCLA
Sleeper: West Virginia
Early Exit: Purdue

I’m interested to see what Xavier does. Also interested to see who comes out of the Drake-UCONN subregional. No one would surprise me there. Arizona-Duke could be a good one if they can manage to stop Joe Alexander in the first round. Of course, Arizona is stacked with those kinda guys that David K. loves to put in his mock draft lottery but who don’t seem to have any preference towards winning.

National Championship Game
UCLA over UNC… I’m not ready to live in a world where someone with the worst nickname in sports Tyler “Psycho T” Hansbrough is a national champion. And God forbid he does that thing he did after hitting that game-winner in the ACC tournament. (I’m assuming Q is referring to that “doggie paddle on land” thing he did with his hands while getting back on defense Saturday). Plus, I still think UNC can be inconsistent enough to lose somewhere along the way.
MARQUETTE
My team’s chances (optimistically)

Even though Marquette lost to Pitt in the Big East tournament quarterfinals, I found solace in the way they came back. Many times in a game like that when their shots weren’t falling and the other team seemed to be getting the breaks, this team has packed it in and gotten blown out. The fact that they didn’t do just that gives me hope that they’ve realized the urgency needed to play in March. Talent has never been a question with this team—they can play with anyone. It’s just a matter of consistency. If they’re on, even a Final Four run isn’t impossible.

MARQUETTE
My team’s chances (realistically)

Unfortunately, there’s no telling what we’ll get when Marquette plays Kentucky on Thursday afternoon. I told myself all year that I wouldn’t get caught up in the potential of this team until they proved that they could be consistent. Prior to the BET, I would’ve said that winning even one game in the NCAAs would have to be considered a success.
There’s no fun in that though and unlike everyone else, I don’t see the Lopez brothers to be that unstoppable. The past two seasons were made up of a great early run followed by a disappointing conference season and postseason, and this year has managed to be even rockier. Realistically, I have no idea what will happen. But that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to it.

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BILL PORT

East Regional

Winner: UNC
Sleeper: Butler
Early Exit: Notre Dame

North Carolina is the easy pick for this region.  Along with being the best team, they are playing in their home state until the Final Four.  No matter what anyone says, that is a huge deal.  Butler got screwed in getting a 7 seed.  They only have 3 losses and they are nationally ranked 10th.  South Alabama is a tough draw in the 1st round, the best 7-10 match-up in years.  Notre Dame is just overrated.  They may get beat by George Mason in the 1st round.  I would pick the Patriots as a sleeper but they’ll only win one game, while Butler will win two.
 

Midwest Regional

Winner: Kansas
Sleeper: Davidson
Early Exit: Wisconsin

Kansas will win this regional, but the elite 8 game with USC will be one for the ages.  Yes, USC will make it to the elite 8.  It will be great to see the Beasley-Mayo battle, but USC has too much talent around their Freshman.  USC will roll over Wisconsin in the 2nd round, if the Badgers actually win against Cal State Fullerton.  As for Davidson, they have played some good teams pretty tough this year.  They are a classic smaller team that will show they belong with the big teams.  I think Georgetown could be a bit overconfident and Davidson will get the upset.

South Regional

Winner: Texas
Sleeper: Kentucky
Early Exit: Memphis

Let’s start with the sleeper.  I think Marquette is just too inconsistent and Kentucky is too good for the 11 seed.  They were a team lagging at the end for a bit, but playing against big competition all season will benefit them.  Yes, Marquette played in the Big East, but they didn’t exactly plow through teams.  Memphis will suffer from the “our conference sucks, and so do we” syndrome at this point of the season.  Yes, they are good…but with the way some teams play out of their mind this time of the year, Memphis will be lucky to go to the Sweet 16.  Texas is the only logical choice for winning this region, except for maybe Stanford.
 

West Regional

Winner: UCLA
Sleeper: Purdue
Early Exit: Xavier
This regional is full of upset possible upsets.  After looking at 3 of my brackets, the only teams I have winning their 1st round games in each of them are UCLA and Duke.  Georgia could keep the magic going and beat Xavier, and I think they will.  But Purdue seems to know how to play each game (warning: horrendous cliché alert) one day at a time.  UCLA is too strong and too talented to lose before the Elite 8.  When they face Purdue in that round, it will be close, but the Bruins will prevail.

National Championship Game
UCLA over UNC.  Love vs. Hansbrough.  This will be a game for the ages.  The junior and the freshman.  I could go on and on about how great of a match-up this would be with all of the talent on the floor.  My prediction is that Kevin Love will play this game, and the entire tournament, with back spasms, and still smash his way through, becoming the best player of the season.

USC my team chance’s, both realistically and optimistically

Everyone is talking about Mayo vs. Beasley in the 1st round.  But I think Mayo will steal the attention because he has too many good players around him as well.  He has also come on as the season progressed.  When he came to USC, he wanted to make his mark and be on his way.  I think he realized that lots of talent with a ton of cockiness doesn’t get him as far as playing with the goal of making the team better.  The win over Kansas State will not be easy, but they basically have a bye in the 2nd round facing Cal State Fullerton or Wisconsin.  I think Davidson could pull off the upset over Georgetown, which would make USC vs. Davidson in the Sweet 16.  I really like Davidson, and I would love to pick them, but the combination of speed and more speed of PAC-10 play will be too much to handle.  Reality will hit Mayo in the Elite 8, and the Trojans will lose to the Jayhawks.  But the good news is, Mayo wanted to leave a bit of a legacy wherever he went to college, and he didn’t do it in just this one season.  He will return for next season, USC will be a 1 seed, win it all, and the legacy will be made.

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Trenni Kusnierek Final Four Picks:

East Regional
Winner: North Carolina
Sleeper: Louisville
Early Exit: Tennessee

I realize a three seed may not be a ‘sleeper’, but it’s easy to over look a team that started out so slow.  Ricky P is a hell of a coach.

Midwest Regional
Winner: Kansas
Sleeper: USC
Early Exit: Georgetown

Maybe I’m still bitter over Marquette’s loss to Georgetown, but I’m still not buying the Hoyas.  They’ve won a lot of close ones against teams they should have manhandled. Sooner or later the luck runs out.

South Regional
Winner: Texas
Sleeper: Marquette
Early Exit: Kentucky

Hey, every girl has the right to be a homer.  This is my moment.

West Regional
Winner: UCLA
Sleeper: Purdue
Early Exit: Connecticut

I’m going to be honest, so don’t mortgage your house to bet on these picks.  I do really like UCLA however, and Ben Howland is a great coach.  They’ve got to bring the glory back before it’s too late for the legendary John Wooden to see it happen again.

National Champion: UCLA over North Carolina

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