Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Official Sports Addict Bracket

Well, the time has come to unveil the official Sports Addict bracket. Right before tip-off, you might want to print off this one-page summary sheet from and bring it with you to the watering hole to watch the games – it has a bullet on every team, their coach, key player, conference and records. Awesome. There are not a ton of upsets outside the first or second round, but I don’t see that much talent outside of the top seeds.


First Round:
#1 Kansas over #16 Lehigh
#9 N. Iowa over #8 UNLV
#5 Michigan St. over #12 New Mexico State
#4 Maryland over #13 Houston
#6 Tennessee over #11 San Diego State
#3 Georgetown over #14 Ohio
#10 Georgia Tech over #7 Oklahoma State
#2 Ohio State over #15 UC-Santa Barbara

Kansas, Ohio State and Georgetown will hardly break a sweat and will likely cover the spreads. Northern Iowa plays enough defense to stop the Rebels and don’t turn the ball over, a recipe for an early round victory. Do you want to bet against Tom Izzo against an inferior team? Me neither. Houston coach Tom Penders has a great record of getting to the tourney, but a terrible record once there. The nation’s leading scorer Aubrey Coleman should match up with the Terp’s Greivis Vasquez in one of the best individual matchups of the first round. Tennessee has been hit or miss all season, and they play a frenetic style of play, similar to San Diego State. The difference is the Vols have better athletes. Georgia Tech has more widespread talent that can make up for the best single talent, James Anderson.

Second Round:
#1 Kansas over #9 N. Iowa
#5 Michigan St. over #4 Maryland
#3 Georgetown over #6 Tennessee
#2 Ohio State over #10 Georgia Tech

Mostly chalk, with the only exception being Michigan State. The Spartans have had chemistry issues of late, but I don’t like Tom Izzo any time other than the NCAA tournament. N. Iowa will keep it close with Kansas and put a scare into the Jayhawks.

Sweet 16:
#1 Kansas over #5 Michigan State
#2 Ohio State over #3 Georgetown

Kansas defense will keep the Spartans from scoring enough to keep up. Collins can dominate Lucas and the Spartans don’t have the inside presence to handle Aldrich and the Morris twins. The key for the Buckeyes will be the ability of Dallas Lauderdale to slow Greg Monroe and keep him off the glass. Georgetown has no one to match up with Turner on the perimeter, when they also have Buford and Lighty slashing and Diebler from the perimeter. This could be the best game of the entire sweet 16.

Elite Eight:
#1 Kansas over #2 Ohio State

The depth of the Jayhawks will be the difference. Ohio State has as much talent as Kansas in the starting five, but Kansas has the ability to bring waves of reinforcements. Thad Motta doesn’t have that luxury. The Jayhawks are the best team in the country and survive a very tough bracket to advance to Indianapolis.


1st Round:
#1 Syracuse over #16 Vermont
#9 Florida State over #8 Gonzaga
#12 UTEP over #5 Butler
#13 Murray State over #4 Vanderbilt
#6 Xavier over #11 Minnesota
#3 Pittsburgh over #14 Oakland
#7 BYU over #10 Florida
#2 Kansas State over #15 North Texas

Syracuse is probably still annoyed by their opening round loss in 2005, and won’t need their injured center to blast past the Catamounts. Kansas State will run past the Mean Green and Pittsburgh will smother the Detroit suburb school, Oakland. Florida State’s defense will be enough to swallow up America’s favorite underdog Gonzaga, which will hamper secretary brackets all over the country (“I love that they’re called the Zags and aren’t they a small school that upsets teams?”) Butler’s only size is a slow 6’8” center who can’t handle anyone outside of their weak conference. Well UTEP has a 6’11” forward and 6’9” Derrick Caracter who is too quick for the Bulldog’s Matt Howard. And the Miners then bring the offensive speed of Randy Culpepper. Murray State can score with anyone and average over 10 steals a game, which is a bad match up for a Vandy team that turns it over all too willingly. (If Butler & Vandy get to the second round, the match up of Howard & Ogilvy might cause fans to think they’re watching a game in 1950 based on the slow, plodding play of the centers) Minnesota and Florida were both lucky to make the field and their stays will be short.

2nd Round:
#1 Syracuse over #9 Florida State
#12 UTEP over #13 Murray State
#3 Pittsburgh over #6 Xavier
#7 BYU over #2 Kansas State

Florida State can’t crack the ‘Cuse zone. The Miners continue their run with more offense. Xavier has the ability to beat Pitt, but the Panther defense and grit after a tough Big East season carries them through. The Kansas State-BYU game has given me nightmares, because I want to believe that BYU could ride the hot hand of Jimmer Fredette all the way to the Elite Eight. I want to believe that the discipline of the Cougars will outdo the volatile emotions of Kevin Martin and the Wildcats. But K-State can shoot it with both guards and have an effective swingman in Curtis Kelly. I am picking the smart kids to fluster Kansas State causing them to lose their poise.

Sweet 16:
#1 Syracuse over #12 UTEP
#7 BYU over #3 Pittsburgh

The Orange is not deep, which could make this a potential upset as the Miners try to push the pace. Yet Syracuse has too many weapons for UTEP to handle, and by this point, they will start to get some contributions back from Arinze Onuaku. BYU continues their run with shooting that can overcome the physical Panther defense. Jimmer Fredette becomes the tournament sweetheart like Stephen Curry did at Davidson.

Elite Eight:
#1 Syracuse over #7 BYU

The clock strikes midnight on this year’s Cinderella when the Syracuse zone causes problems for the BYU team. The Orange are long and athletic which will cause problems for BYU’s shooters, finally slowing down Fredette. Wes Johnson completes his transformation from an unknown transfer to a key cog on a Final Four team, securing his spot in the NBA lottery next season. Jim Boeheim does caps what possibly has been his best coaching season with a trip to the final four with a team without a top-50 recruit and a team that started the season unranked.


1st Round:
#1 Kentucky over #16 East Tennessee State
#8 Texas over #9 Wake Forest
#5 Temple over #12 Cornell
#4 Wisconsin over #13 Wofford
#6 Marquette over #11 Washington
#3 New Mexico over #14 Montana
#10 Missouri over #7 Clemson
#2 West Virginia over #15 Morgan State

Barely an upset in the first round in the East bracket. Kentucky, West Virginia and Wisconsin should not be tested in their games (good gawd did I just curse my Badgers? Probably. I take it back. Wofford is really, really good and Wisconsin will have to play really well to beat this solid group of players despite the fact that their school name resembles the sound a dog makes more than it does a prestigious university) Texas has more raw talent than the Demon Deacons in a battle of underachieving and slumping squads. Temple’s defense will slow the hot shooting Big Red of Cornell and send Randy Whitman’s kid home. Darrington Hobson by himself is enough to carry the Lobos past Montana. There is no safer bet in the NCAA tournament than Oliver Purnell losing in the first round, he’s 0-5.

2nd Round:
#1 Kentucky over #8 Texas
#4 Wisconsin over #5 Temple
#6 Marquette over #3 New Mexico
#2 West Virginia over #10 Missouri

Texas has the raw talent to stay close to Kentucky, but since they haven’t put it together all season, why would they do it now? Kentucky will have two nice games to get their youngster jitters out before the toughest part of the bracket gets to them. Wisconsin plays a similar style to Temple, only better. They have veteran guard play and the Owls have no one to contend with Jon Leuer. Marquette will be able to dominate the Lobos physically and has the guards to match up with Hobson in the only second round upset in this bracket. West Virginia has the talent to overwhelm the Tigers, even if the Mountaineers are not at their best.

Sweet 16:
#1 Kentucky over #4 Wisconsin
#2 West Virginia over #6 Marquette

Both Wisconsin-based teams get the bounce in Syracuse. The Badgers have the talent, experience and defense to stymie the potent Kentucky attack, and the homer in me wants to pick Bo Ryan’s crew to keep going. If they win, it would not be a monster surprise, but the inside tandem of Cousins and Patterson will be really tough matchup for Leuer and Nankovil. Marquette’s run will be fueled by heart and energy, which won’t be enough to get past their conference rival. West Virginia has the perimeter players to keep up with the Golden Eagles, and has an inside presence that Buzz’s boys can’t match.

Elite Eight:
#1 Kentucky over #2 West Virginia

After Kentucky has survived the athleticism of Texas, and the grind of playing against the Badgers, they will not be surprised by the style of the Mountaineers. Kentucky has a minimum of 3 NBA players on the court at almost all times, and they will be able to overwhelm the game Huggins’ squad.


1st Round:
#1 Duke over #16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
#9 Louisville over #8 California
#5 Texas A&M over #12 Utah State
#4 Purdue over #13 Siena
#11 Old Dominion over #6 Notre Dame
#3 Baylor over #14 Sam Houston State
#7 Richmond over #10 St. Mary’s
#2 Villanova over #15 Robert Morris

The top 3 seeds should cruise through with blowouts, and the fact Arkansas Pine-Bluff gets to say they have won a tournament game by virtue of winning the play-in game is all the evidence I need to confirm how opposed I am to expansion. Louisville hasn’t beaten anyone of consequence outside of Syracuse (twice), and has lost to UNLV, Charlotte and Western Carolina. That concerns me, yet the Pac-10 has been awful, so I’ll take the Cards over the Bears. Utah State had no business getting an at-large bid and should be easily dismissed by the Aggies. Everyone wants to bury Purdue without Hummel but this Siena team is not as good as their past squads that won in the first round in 2009 and 2008. Purdue still has E’Twan Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Deon Grant, which will be enough to get past the Saints. Old Dominion can play the slow style Notre Dame has adopted, and the Irish are confused what to do with Harangody. Richmond’s backcourt will be enough to lead the Spiders past a solid St. Mary’s squad that is happy just to finally get past Gonzaga and into the tournament.

2nd Round:
#1 Duke over #9 Louisville
#5 Texas A&M over #4 Purdue
#3 Baylor over #11 Old Dominion
#2 Villanova over #7 Richmond

Duke’s discipline will be able to handle the Louisville pressure, allowing the Blue Devils to advance. Purdue can get past a mid-major without Robbie Hummel, but it’s a different ballgame going up against a tough Aggie team lead by Donald Sloan. Baylor’s defense will stifle the Monarchs and will blow them out. The only thing that is worrisome about the Bears in the early rounds is their lack of tournament experience, but thankfully they will not face a very tough test, even if Notre Dame manages to be their second round opponent. Villanova has guards and experience that can neutralize the Richmond attack. It is another game for the Wildcats to get back to their early season form when they got as high as #2 in the country.

Sweet 16:
#1 Duke over #5 Texas A&M
#2 Villanova over #3 Baylor

Everyone wants to find a reason to knock out the Dukies early, yet there has not been a team yet that can match up with them. Texas A&M will have the advantage of playing Duke in Houston, but Sloan can be matched by Nolan Smith and the Aggies will have a tough time if Singler gets hot. Villanova will also face a hostile crowd in Houston against Baylor, but their experienced backcourt will be the difference against the Bears defense.

Elite Eight:
#2 Villanova over #1 Duke
Just like last season, Villanova has the perimeter players to match up and best the Duke guards. Scottie Reynolds gets another trip to the Final Four and he combines with the best pair of Coreys (Stokes & Fisher) since Corey Haim and Corey Feldman.


#1 Kansas over #1 Syracuse
#1 Kentucky over #2 Villanova


Kansas Jayhawks over Kentucky Wildcats

Kansas is too deep and too talented with too many weapons for Syracuse to stop. Kentucky’s inside game is too much for Villanova. This sets up a coaching rematch from the 2008 final between Bill Self’s Kansas squad and John Calipari’s Memphis team. Calipari once again has a freshman point guard leading the charge, but this time John Wall is not as poised and mature at Kentucky as Derrick Rose was in 2008. The senior leadership of Sherron Collins and Cole Aldridge will be too much for the Wildcats to stop. Bill Self collects his second title, and cements his legacy among the great coaches in the game. It’s time for Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk to ring down from the rafters at Lucas Oil Stadium when Kansas cuts down the nets.

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