By now you’ve seen my bracket. If not, it looks a little something like this:
Maybe you have questions? Surely you have disagreements and agreements? What else would March be without the madness behind people’s picks and then the madness of upsets and Cinderella stories in the tournament?
So here they are explained – region by region.
NC AT&T vs. LIBERTY
PICK: LIBERTY :: The Flames seem to be better in scoring and rebounding, at least on paper. Plus the Aggies just made their first conference tournament final in 16 years. Baby steps.
Middle Tennessee vs. St. Mary’s
PICK: ST. MARY’S :: A young Australian man will be the key in this one. St. Mary’s Matthew Dellavedova was part of the 12-man squad for Australia’s National Team that played all the way to the quarterfinals of the London Olympics. He was the youngest member.
Louisville vs. Liberty
PICK: LOUISVILLE :: a No. 16 seed has never beaten a one seed. I know they keep saying this tournament is wide open. I don’t think it’s that wide open.
Colorado State vs. Missouri
PICK: MISSOURI :: it’s an 8/9 game so it’s pretty evenly matched but I give Mizzou the nod because they have a good journalism school. Just kidding. I gave them the nod because of their victories over VCU, Bucknell and the tight loss to UCLA.
Oklahoma State vs. Oregon
PICK: OREGON :: Oregon is under seeded and so is Oklahoma State for that matter – so it’s an unusual match-up for a 5/12 game that is prime for an upset.
Saint Louis vs. New Mexico State University
PICK: ST. LOUIS :: The Billikens – the mysterious creature an art teacher/illustrator saw in a dream. That sounds like a good story for how a mascot came about. Plus St. Louis won the Atlantic Ten and drew a four seed. NMSU won the WAC and drew a 10 seed. Strength of conference anyone?
Memphis vs. Saint Mary’s
PICK: MEMPHIS :: The Tigers won the Conference-USA title, went 16-0 in the conference, 17-1 at home and 10-1 away.
Michigan State vs. Valparaiso
PICK: MICHIGAN STATE :: The Spartans have had stronger competition all year than the Crusaders. Switch these two teams level of competition and they are two totally different seeds.
Creighton vs. Cincinnati
PICK: CREIGHTON :: One name: Doug McDermott
Duke vs. Albany
PICK: DUKE :: Duke had its fair share of losses — yeah, I see you N.C. State. — but I don’t think one of them will be to Albany.
Louisville vs. Missouri
PICK: LOUISVILLE :: Louisville’s No. 1 overall seed starts to shine and show why the selection committee gave it to them.
Oregon vs. St. Louis
PICK: OREGON:: The Ducks are still riding the jubilation train of downing the ‘Pokes and also add a little shine to the Pac 12.
Memphis vs. Michigan State
PICK: MICHIGAN STATE :: Tom Izzo’s coaching and tournament experience wins out. Sure the players have to play but the coaching sure helps too.
Creighton vs. Duke
PICK: DUKE :: Tight game for two National Player of the Year candidates in McDermott and Duke’s Mason Plumlee. Give the nod to Plumlee this time.
Louisville vs. Oregon
PICK: LOUISVILLE :: Really, there’s no stopping them. Not yet, at least.
Michigan State vs. Duke
PICK: MICHIGAN STATE :: The Spartans lost to eventual Big Ten Champions Ohio State in their conference tournament — but the Blue Devils lost to Maryland, who is now playing in the NIT. Spartans edge, but barely.
Louisville vs. Michigan State
PICK: LOUISVILLE :: Michigan State is good, but nowhere near good enough to pick off Louisville. The Cardinals and Rick Pitino keep chugging.