Bracketology with Aaron: My Picks and Why
No matter if you're a sports fan or not, you have got to love March Madness. The excitement, energy and passion is unbelievable. As a result, in this day and age if you don't fill out a bracket, you are kind of the odd ball out. Everyone is going to ask you "Did you fill out a bracket?" or "Who do you have winning in your bracket?" When they ask this, you have got to have an answer. So for those that have no idea what they are doing I'm going to give you a little help. There is of course a guy named Joe Lundardi that you could learn from but what does he know?
The study of college basketball brackets, also known as "Bracketology" is more studied in March than any homework or test. Here is my bracket breakdown for this year's NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Take this as a guide but just like in school, don't copy or you may get in trouble for plagiarism and get kicked right out of this school.
Aaron's Bracket By Region:
Starting in the region with the overall #1 seed, the newest NBA franchise team, the Kentucky Wildcats. The Wildcats will play in Cleveland if they make it to the Sweet 16 and to be honest, they might as well just end right there and play the Cleveland Cavaliers as the championship game when they get their. This team is loaded and my job right now is to say who I think will win and not how they got the players that they have. Moving on, I think Purdue will win in a blood bath to Cincinnati and go on to lose to Kentucky. In a very common #12 vs #5 seed upset I will take the team that has never been to the tournament from Buffalo over the Mountaineers of WVU. Bob Huggins may need his Huggies when his team gets update by Buffalo and is sent home early. Buffalo will then go on to face a very good Maryland team. Maryland is just too good for Bobby Hurley's Buffalos and will move on to face Kentucky n the Sweet 16.
In the other half of the MidWest bracket, the Texas Longhorns are much better than their record shows and they will take down a good Butler team. Cameron Ridley is a beast down low and will be too much to handle for the Butler bulldogs who are no longer a Cinderella story. The luck of the Irish will end early as it normally does in this tournament as they will beat whoever Northeastern is but then fall to the Long Horns of Texas.. Kansas will take care of New Mexico State which willl set themselves up for an in state grudge match against the Wichita State Shockers. The Shockers still have Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet who have no question used up their four years of eligibility but somehow still manage to be on the team. The Shockers will take down Kansas for state bragging rights.
In the Sweet 16, Mellow Tremble and Des Wells will give Kentucky problems for the first thirty five minutes but then like every game this year, they will turn it up in the last five minutes and close the Terrapins out and send them home. Texas will play Wichita State and will win in a nail biter to get the opportunity to face Kentucky. The sleeper run of Texas will end against the Wildcats. Kentucky will move on to the Final Four.
The West was probably the most difficult for me to choose because there are two schools that I think match up as good as one can agains Kentucky. Wisconsin will take out Coastal Carolina. Frank "The Tank" Kaminski is just too much to handle for a little school like Coastal Carolina. I'm not real high on the PAC 12 conference this year and so I say Oklahoma State will move past Oregon and have the privilege of playing Wisconsin who will beat them handily. I can see the Arkansas Razorbacks losing to Wofford but I decided to go with the Razorbacks for my pick because Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls will be too much to handle for the Wofford "Rat" Terriers. North Carolina will destroy Harvard on the boards and send them back to the books. The Tar Heels will continue smashing the boards and take down the Razorbacks to get to the Sweet 16.
On the bottom half of the West bracket, Ole Miss, who came back from 18points in the second half of the play in game against BYU will win again against a very over ranked Xavier Musketeer team. Baylor will take down Georgia State and move to play Ole Miss. Baylor rebounds the ball like Michigan State and when you rebound well you can win even on a bad shooting night. Baylor will move on by beating Ole Miss. Arizona may struggle initially with Texas Southern as they did beat both Michigan State and Kansas State earlier in the year but the Wildcats are on a role and will move on. Their opponent will either be Ohio State or VCU. One of VCU's best players, Melvin Johnson who is also an outstanding defender went out with a devastating knee injury, but the Buckeyes have been struggling lately and you can't just rely on one DeAngelo Russell to carry you every game. Shaka Smart and the Rams will force Ohio State out of their game with the full court pressure and VCU will move on.
In the Sweet 16, Wisconsin will get a scare from North Carolina but the Badgers don't make mistakes and the Tar Heels do. Bo Ryan, also known as "Skeletor" will move his team on to the Elite 8 where they will face the winner of Baylor and Arizona. This game will be a scare for Arizona and will go right down to the wire but the Wildcats are just too talented. Arizona will move on to set up one of the best games in the tournament to get to the final four, Wisconsin vs Arizona. This will be a rematch of last year's battle where Wisconsin just squeaked by Arizona. Revenge will be on the Wildcat's minds and this game is a total toss up but I am going to go with Arizona to stun the Badgers and make it to the Final Four to play Kentucky.
The East bracket is where I see upsets happening left and right. To be honest I don't think Villanova is that good and they have history of getting knocked out of the tournament well before they are expected to based on seeding. They will win their first game against Lafayette but will be the first #1 seed to go down by losing to NC State who is a major dark horse in this tournament. The Wolfpack have tons of star power with their many transfer players and will take out LSU in the first round and then upset Villanova to get to the Sweet 16.
Northern Iowa is very good but I hesitate to pick them over the Wyoming Cowboys who have Larry Nance Jr back from illness and ready to dominate. I put through Northern Iowa but this one could be a pick that I regret. Montrezl Harell will send the Anteaters of UC Irvine back into their ant holes with his monster dunks and Louisville will move on to play Northern Iowa. The Cardinal's season will end there as their full court pressure won't trick Northern Iowa who has proven all year that they are team to have a hangover against.
In the bottom half of the East bracket, Providence will defeat whomever wins in the game matching Dayton with Boise State. The Sooners of Oklahoma will struggle against Albany but will pull it out and will face Providence. In a toss up, I'm picking Providence over Oklahoma to move onto the Sweet 16.
In the bottom half of the bracket, Michigan State will face a good Georgia team and will struggle with the Bulldogs not necessarily because Georgia is an exceptional team but because they exuded so much energy in their down to the wire game in the Big Ten Championship game to Wisconsin. The first game of the tournament for the Spartans scares me because I don't know how they are going to come out after the emotional game this past weekend. Regardless, I think the Spartans will prevail and will move on to play the Virginia Cavaliers setting up a rematch of a game from last year's tourney. The Spartans will get their mojo back and take out UVA once again to make it to the Sweet 16.
In the Sweet 16 matches NC State will continue upsetting people and will end Norther Iowa's season. Michigan State will play Providence and will continue behind veteran play from Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine to take on NC State in the Elite 8. The Wolfpack's little Cinderella run will end in the Elite 8 and the Spartan's Brandon Dawson will show them how they do an Alley-oop dunk in the Big Ten. The Spartans will move on to the Final Four.
Duke will win its first game whoever it is that they play and move on to play San Diego St. who will beat St. Johns in a toss up game. The #12 vs #5 match up in this bracket is going to be a maker or breaker for my bracket. Utah is very good but I'm going to have to take Stephan F. Austin to upset them and move on to play Georgetown who will struggle against Eastern Washington but prevail. SF Austin will then play shocker to its next victim Georgetown, setting up a Sweet 16 match up with Coach K and Duke.
In the bottom half of this bracket, SMU will show UCLA why they never should have been in the tournament to begin with. Iowa State may struggle with UAB but as they always do will come back in the end and win. The Cyclones will also win against SMU in the next round but I would also see them getting upset by SMU. You can only play from behind so many times and keep coming back before it bites you in the butt. The matchup between Iowa and Davidson will be a good one and I'm going to pick the upset as Davidson can shoot the three. Davidson won't get much further though because they will get trounced by Gonzaga in the next round. This will set up a match up between Gonzaga, a team of two foreign giants in the center vs captain comeback Iowa State. Gonzaga's big boys down low will be too much for the Cyclones and "The Zags" will go back to the Elite 8.
Duke will play Stephan F. Austin for a ticket to the Elite 8. In a monumental upset that may make or brake my bracket I'm taking S.F. Austin over the Blue Devils in a game that will be remembered more than Christian Laettner's shot at the buzzer to win the title. This will be the end for S.F. Austin though as they will go down to Gonzaga in a blowout. The Pacific Northwest will erupt in excitement as they finally have a team in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
THE FINAL FOUR
In a Final Four of only one #1 seed, the real National Championship game will be played in the first Final Four game with Kentucky playing Arizona. I think the Wildcats and Wisconsin are the only teams that can give Kentucky a true run for their money and therefore whoever comes out of this matchup victorious will win the title. Kentucky will win in a close one as they have many times this year.
The second semifinal will bring former Spartan Coach Jud Heathcote back close to his old team and create the dilemma of who to root for, his hometown team of Gonzaga or his real team, The Spartans. I am sure deep down inside he would be pulling for the Spartans but would not make this outwardly visible. Regardless, who Jud is rooting for there would still be a game to be played and although I would be rooting my heart out for the Spartans, I just don't know if they have it in the tank to win this many in a row with the team that they have this year. I am going to go with Gonzaga to make it to the Championship game to play Kentucky.
As much as I don't want it to happen, this year I just can't pick against 12 McDonalds All Americans on one team. If Kentucky doesn't win, as a school they should be ashamed of themselves. It could happen that they choke up and play horrible in a game along the way but I just don't see them getting beat at the end of forty minutes. I think the Wildcats will be the first ever 40-0 college basketball team by the end of March Madness. The good thing about March Madnes though is that you never know and that is why they play and we watch the games.
Let the Madness BEGIN!!!!
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See if you can beat me!