Sunday, March 11

Selection Sunday

Some thoughts on the bracket:

Overall, I thought the Selection Committee did an extremely good job. Way to go, leaving out Syracuse! I think the inclusions of Purdue and Illinois were very good calls and the inclusion of Old Dominion was defensible. I'm surprised to see that Stanford and Arkansas got in; Arkansas probably deserved it more than Stanford did. While not in the order I would have put them in (Ohio State probably deserved the top overall seed), Kenpom agrees wholeheartedly with the Committee's #1 seeds.

Florida gets some tough draws as both Arizona and Maryland can really bring the offensive firepower. Both could be easily upset, though, as Carl Landry & co.'s defensive capabilities could shut down the Arizona offense, and we've seen that a team as lowly as Miami can beat Maryland if they don't show up. So even though I don't forsee a Davidson victory in the first round or a Butler/Old Dominion victory in the second, it could happen and give Florida an easier road to the Elite Eight.

On the bottom half, it's really a toss-up, as I could see any of four teams advancing into the Elite Eight: Wisconsin (yes, even without Butch), Oregon, Notre Dame, or Georgia Tech. Probably the best bottom-half in the bracket. I'm just not seeing it for Winthrop, because even if they manage to beat the Irish, I don't see them getting past The Institution Formerly Known as OverratedU. Not after Oregon's dusting of the Pac-10 tournament.

Again, what a TOUGH draw for UNC. It's going to take some great focus and career nights from all of our guys to make it out of this region alive. Maybe Michigan State will fold again in the first round like it has recently, but I don't see it happening against Marquette. Arkansas is actually a better team than SoCal, but I could see that one going either way. I don't think either team has a prayer versus Texas.

In the bottom half, it looks like Georgetown walks to the Elite Eight. Vanderbilt will beat George Washington then lose to the Washington State/Oral Roberts winner (I'm not so sure that Oral Roberts can't win in this one; their big man Caleb Green is pretty impressive). Boston College rolls over Texas Tech, then gets flattened by Georgetown.

Ohio State effectively earns the #1 overall seed with their matchups here. What a cakewalk! Xavier looks better than an overrated BYU team, Tennessee gets the worst 12-seed in the field (Long Beach State? Wtf?), and Albany might get the upset over a slightly-injured Virginia squad, but none of them will put up any fight whatsoever against OSU.

It gets a bit rougher in the bottom half of this one. Louisville-Stanford should be a great game, with the winner drawing a strong 3-seed Texas A&M team. Not sure why they got a #3 this year; I would have swapped their seed with Memphis'. At any rate, Nevada-Creighton should also be a good one, with the winner (probably Creighton, but Nick Fazekas can carry the Wolf Pack all by himself if he decides to) putting up another good fight against Memphis.

Kansas also faces a tough road here. Look for the Villanova-Kentucky game to be a good one, with the winner giving Kansas a real test. Illinois over Virginia Tech is probably the most likely 12-5 upset this year, but either team could really do some damage against a slightly overrated Southern Illinois team. All could give Kansas trouble on the way to the Elite Eight.

Toss-up down in the bottom of this one, but I don't really see any good games other than a Duke-Pittsburgh matchup. Virginia Commonwealth and Wright State don't look like they'll be trouble for either. Gonzaga certainly won't put up much of a fight against Indiana, which could give UCLA a bit of trouble, but that's not likely. If Duke shows well, they could down UCLA to get to the Elite Eight.

All in all, it should be a good year ripe with upsets. Congratulations to the Selection Committee once again for making it a good field, and to CBS for threatening to take Billy Packer off tenure if he stepped one toe out of line this year in his questions for Gary Walters.

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