Sunday, March 14, 2010

NCAA Tournament Predictions

The Madness has arrived. Let's do this.


Kansas is the clear tournament favorite as the overall No. 1 seed, so I'm not going to pick against them. The Jayhawks are the least vulnerable of the top seeds because of so much talent, experience and depth. In the regional final, I think they will go up against the Georgetown Hoyas. With Monroe, Freeman and Wright, they reached the Big East title game, losing only because of another game winner by West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler.


On Kansas' half, a possible second-round match-up with Northern Iowa could be really tough. They dominated the MVC, which is perennially one of the best non-power conferences. They have an inside presence with Jordan Eglseder and excellent guard play.

In the bottom half, the Tennessee Volunteers are the most dangerous outside of the top seeds. They are incredibly inconsistent but as good as anyone when Wayne Chism plays well. UT is the only team to beat the top two teams in the nation and are certainly capable of doing it again.

Burning Question: Can Evan Turner carry Ohio State to the Final Four?

Winner: Kansas


Even with the two losses down the stretch and minor injury of Onuaku, Syracuse is clearly the best team in this region. The Orange have the most talent and are the most difficult to prepare for since they play a 2-3 zone defense. In the other half, Kansas State has exactly what it takes to make the Elite Eight. They have two exceptional guards in Pullen and Clemente and a fiery coach in Frank Martin.


In the top half, the fourth-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores have the team capable of defeating Syracuse's zone. With Jermaine "Dolla'" Beal and John Jenkins shooting well from beyond the arc, Vandy can be a dangerous team. Also, the Gonzaga Bulldogs will give the Orange a challenge. With veteran guards Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray and freshman forward Elias Harris, the Zags could find themselves in the Sweet Sixteen.

In Kansas State's half, the Xavier Musketeers are a team to watch out for. You may remember forward Jordan Crawford dunking on LeBron James. He's also scoring about 20 points per game and is difficult to defend.

Burning Question: Will Syracuse's slide at the end of the season continue?

Winner: Syracuse


The Kentucky Wildcats are the most talented team in the nation. They win even if they aren't playing well. John Wall will be the No. 1 pick in the next NBA Draft and has set himself apart through his play-making abilities in clutch situations. Also, DeMarcus Cousins is going to be tough to match-up with for almost every team the Wildcats will come across. The West Virginia Mountaineers are the best team in the bottom half. They proved that this weekend by taking home the Big East tournament championship. Butler's heroics and the versatile Devin Ebanks will make this team a tough out.


Texas is one of the most enigmatic teams, starting 17-0 and ending up as an eight seed. They have the depth and size to push Kentucky in a possible second-round game. Also, if a four seed can be a sleeper, Wisconsin's style of play could throw some teams off. They slow things down and shorten the game, and that could force Kentucky to hit shots from the outside to advance.

Marquette is a team capable of making a run. They've played great competition throughout the year in the best conference. Lazar Hayward is an underrated player who is averaging 18 points and almost eight rebounds per game. He can light it up at any point.

Burning Question:
Will the youth of Kentucky hold up in another single-elimination scenario?

Winner: Kentucky


The Duke Blue Devils have the experience and the easiest draw of the top seeds. I expect Scheyer, Smith and Singler to carry them to the regional final. Villanova has struggled, losing five of seven. But they made the Final Four last year and still have Scottie Reynolds. I'll take their guards in March every time.


Louisville could be a tough out for Duke in the second round. They have great upside with Edgar Sosa and Samardo Samuels but are on/off. In a one-game situation, coach Rick Pitino could rally his team to a major upset. Siena also has a great draw. They have a tournament win in the recent past and face a Purdue team who has struggled without Robbie Hummel. In the bottom half, Notre Dame has a decent shot to advancing a couple rounds. They learned how to play without Luke Harangody and have greatly improved at the end of the season.

Burning Question: Can Duke capitalize on the favorable bracket they lucked into?

Winner: Villanova

Final Four

No.1 Kansas over No.1 Syracuse.
No.1 Kentucky over No.2 Villanova

Championship: Kansas versus Kentucky

National Champion: Kansas

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