2011 NCAA Tournament: Southeast Regional Bracket Breakdown

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Jimmer Fredette BYU

Warning: I will not be responsible if you copy these brackets and are out of your NCAA Tournament pool by Sunday.  However, if you do listen to my college basketball wisdom and win some money, I want 20% of the pot or at least a shout-out on your twitter or facebook page.  Check out my East and West Regional Bracket Breakdowns.

By: David Kay

Overview:
This is by far the worst of the four regions.  Outside of Pitt, the top teams are an over-seeded #2 Florida, #3 BYU which has not been the same without suspended forward Brandon Davies, #4 Wisconsin who is coming off a 33-point outing in the Big Ten Tournament against Penn State, and #6 St. John’s who is without senior starter D.J. Kennedy who tore his ACL in the Big East Tournament.  In other words, no team stands out in this bracket and it is up for grabs.

Butler basketball

Most Intriguing First Round Game: #8 Butler vs. #9 Old Dominion
ODU is another team who I felt was under-seeded as they could have reasonably been a seven seed.  Instead they get a classic 8/9 match-up pitting two quality mid-major opponents.  The Bulldogs have some inexplicable losses this season but have pulled things together down the stretch winning nine straight.  I like the Monarchs scappiness and expect this to be one of the best games of the opening round.

Early Exit: #5 Kansas State
The Cats have overcome their share of adversity to end the season on a positive note despite falling to Colorado in the Big 12 Quarterfinals.  My concern is how difficult K-State’s bracket ended up being.  They open with an experienced Utah State that I had as an eight seed in my final bracketology but somehow were bumped down to a 12-seed.  If they are able to escape out of the first round, a disciplined Wisconsin team or sleeping giant Belmont awaits in the second round.  Their success may rest on whether or not Jacob Pullen can play as well as he did in the tourney last year.  More than likely, they will not be playing after the first weekend.

Sleeper: #11 Gonzaga
Despite being screwed a bit by receiving an 11 seed, Gonzaga actually drew a fairly favorable spot in the brackets.  They get St. John’s team in the second round that at times has been very Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.  Their likely second round match-up would be against BYU who is very beatable if Jimmer does not go nuts shooting the ball.  The Zags have good size across the board but their point guard play has been very shaky all season long.  Still, they have the experience to make a run into the Sweet 16, possibly the Elite 8.

jordan taylor badgers

Five Players to Watch:
Jimmer Fredette, BYU
His days of lighting up the college basketball world are coming to an end.  Now that he will actually be featured on national television, tune in because you never when Jimmer might drop 50 points in a game.

Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin
Taylor made the leap from the Badgers sixth man to one of the top point guards in college basketball.  Wisconsin is very patient and deliberate on the offensive end and anytime the shot clock gets below ten seconds, Taylor will be forced to make something happen.  The Badgers have lost back-to-back games for the first time all season; a blow-out loss at Ohio State and embarrassing offensive performance versus Penn State.  They will come into the tourney with a chip on their shoulder as a lot of “experts” are picking them to be upset by 13 seed Belmont in the opening round.  Taylor has to be the catalyst to avoid an early exit.

Dwight Hardy, St. John’s
Hardy went through a stretch during Big East play where he was unconscious from the field and worked his way into conference player of the year conversations.  With Kennedy sidelined, even more of the scoring load will be put on his shoulders during the tourney.

Reeves Nelson, UCLA
Besides looking like a serial killer, Nelson is the stabilizing force for the Bruins who does the dirty work, is not afraid to dive all over the floor, and mix it up down low.  He has one of those annoying non-stop motors that analysts will surely praise.

Tai Wesley, Utah State
Wesley is a physical force for an under-seeded Aggie team that is poised to be the 12 seed that makes a run to the Sweet 16.  He is only 6-7 but knows how to throw his body around in the paint.

pitt panthers mascot

Regional Final: #1 Pitt over #6 St. John’s
I really hate this regional and feel as unoriginal as the Michael Bolton look-alike in Good Will Hunting by picking my fourth number one seed to make the Final Four, but I just cannot see any team in the lower half of the bracket making a run and then knocking off Pitt unless they get ridiculously hot.  I mean, Florida?  Meh, not sold on their guard play.  BYU? Not unless Jimmer scores 50 a night? Another Tom Izzo Michigan State miracle run?  Not this year.

Pitt has the experience, toughness, and balance to win take this regional.  I am rolling the dice a bit by picking St. John’s without D.J. Kennedy especially since it is possible they could get bounced in the opening round by Gonzaga.  I do like the Storm’s versatility and ability to force turnovers and get transition buckets.  If Hardy plays like he did in the latter half of Big East play, I think they make the run to the Elite 8 before falling to Pitt.

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and former contributor for The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    nice shot of Roc, the Pitt mascot!

    God I hate Reeves Nelson. he is the most disgusting, white trash looking guy in college basketball. you nailed it on the serial killer vibe

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