Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA March Madness: I am officially jinxing North Carolina, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Louisville

Well, for college basketball fans, the best month of the year has arrived as the NCAA men's and women's tournaments are starting. It is a time of year when fans are tempted to call in sick to their employers just to watch a little basketball. There is nothing wrong with a case of March Madness flu.

I will start with the women's tournament because it is the easiest to forecast. The women's tourney can be summed up in one word: Connecticut. The Connecticut Huskies are undefeated and have dominated women's basketball this year. If they do not win the tournament, it will be an upset of historic proportions.

As for the men's tourney, picking a winner is much trickier. As certain as the women's game has been this year, the men's has been wildly uncertain. Because of this, there will be no attempt to pick a winner. However, here are the teams that will likely win each regional to advance to the final four.

South Regional – North Carolina. Tyler Hansbrough gets most of the publicity, but guard Ty Lawson is the real leader of the Tar Heels. Of course, Lawson is struggling with a toe injury that caused him to miss the ACC tournament. If he is healthy, Carolina will advance to the final four. If not, the regional is more wide open. For now, the pick is Carolina.

West Regional – Missouri. The Tigers played in the shadow of Kansas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 all year, but they are dangerous. They are the third seed in the West behind Connecticut and Memphis. However, Connecticut's problems at point guard will catch up with them, and Memphis is overrated. True, Memphis has won 26 in a row, but they play in a limp noodle conference. DeMarre Carroll leads the Tigers in both scoring and rebounding. Watch out for Mizzou.

East Regional – Pittsburgh. Forward DeJuan Blair is one of the best rebounders in the country, but he also leads his team in field goal percentage. Despite being upset by West Virginia in the Big East tournament, the Panthers remain formidable. Just ask Connecticut, which lost to Pittsburgh twice this season.

Midwest Regional – Louisville. It is painful to pick two Big East teams to reach the final four, but it should happen. The Cardinals have won nine games in a row, including a beat down of Syracuse to win the Big East conference tournament. Keep your eye on Terrence Williams, who leads the team in assists and steals. He is flat-out fantastic.


Joltin' Django said...

I came this close (my fingers are about 3 cm apart) from putting Western Kentucky into my bracket. I knew I shoulda ...!

Chris said...

This is the first time in probably 20 years that I have not played in any bracket picking contest. So, of course, all four of my Final Four picks got through the first two rounds. Life is a wonderful journey.