Last Man Standig: Ben's entire bracket

Last Man Standig: Ben's entire bracket
March 20, 2014, 9:15 am
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Sometime you just have to say WTH and make your NCAA Tournament picks public, no matter any future shaming. No guts, no glory. 

East:

Round of 64 upsets: No. 9 GW over No. 8 Memphis, No. 10 Saint Joseph's over No. 7 Connecticut, No. 11 Providence over No. 6 UNC, No. 12 Harvard over No. 5 Cincinnati

* Lots of early bracket-busting going on here. The Colonials have the edge inside and in the coaching box over the Tigers. As long as their starting five avoids serious foul trouble, that's enough to advance.

Sweet 16: Virginia, Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State

* I can't recall a Big East regular season champion flying this far under the radar. Jay Wright's squad has all the pieces for a Final Four run and Villanova made the seventh most 3-pointers entering this week. However, you know the story about live by the three, die by the three. Also, the matchup with fellow Philly school St. Joe's would be brutal. Kids, that's what you call a hedge. As for GW-Virginia, the Cavaliers simply have more horses unless guard Kethan Savage makes a miraculous comeback from a lingering foot injury for the Colonials. 

Elite 8: Michigan State over Villanova

* Like just about everyone else in the bracket-picking world, I ended up with the Spartans heading to Jerry World. Ironically Georgetown lost twice to Villanova, but defeated Michigan State on neutral court. Of course Tom Izzo's squad wasn't at full strength that game. They are now.

South:

Round of 64 upsets: No. 9 Pittsburgh over No. 8 Colorado, No. 11 Dayton over No. 6 Ohio State

* The Buckeyes can't avoid an in-state foe here and the Flyers certainly played ball over the final six weeks of the regular season. 

Sweet 16: Florida, Kansas, Syracuse, VCU

* Injuries to VCU guard Melvin Johnson and especially Kansas center Joel Embiid make for some trickier calls. Essentially we stick with chalk - or in the case of VCU, against UCLA coach Steve Alford's track record of no second week appearances since 1999.

Elite 8: Florida over Kansas

*Last month I convinced myself that the Jayhawks would cut down the nets, or at least that I would predict such a result. In the moment, the uncertainty with their big man gives me pause. Another reason for pause? The Gators have just about everything needed. It's been a while since coach Billy Donovan broke through this round, but he does in 2014.

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Midwest:

Round of 64 upsets: No. 9 Kansas State over No. 8 Kentucky, No. 11 Tennessee over No. 6 UMass, No. 12 NC State over No. 5 Saint Louis

* Two Atlantic 10 teams not living up their seed line. Coach K gonna break out the champagne over this one. The Billikens start five seniors and are the defensive equivalent of the  Seattle Seahawks secondary, but they struggle to score at times like a Brandon Weeden-led offense. Apologies for the football references in a March Madness story. Let's move on.

Sweet 16: Wichita State, Michigan, Duke, Louisville

* This would be one fine looking looking and star-studded Final Four. 

Elite 8: Louisville over Michigan

* The Wolverines are going to start loathing Cardinal red more than Ohio State's scarlet after losing to Louisville in the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season. The 17 Michigan fans who care more about college basketball than college football and long-standing bitter rivalries that are passed down through the generations, that is.

West:

Round of 64 upsets: No. 9 Oklahoma State over No. 8 Gonzaga

* Teams that KenPom.com ranks among the top 30 in both offense and defensive efficiency: Wichita State, Louisville, Florida, Kentucky, Villanova, Tennessee, Virginia and Oklahoma State. That combined with all-everything guard Marcus Smart plus the Zags recent NCAA track record makes the Cowboys the call.

Sweet 16: Arizona, Creighton, Oklahoma, Oregon

* Lots of upset action here, notably the fast-breaking Ducks taking out No. 2 Wisconsin. I was all set to have Oklahoma State represent the Sooner state in this round, not to mention have OU losing in the Round of 64. Guess not.

Elite 8: Oregon over Arizona

* In recent years chalk has meant one team nobody sees coming reaches the Final Four. Hello,  Nike U. The Ducks beat the Wildcats earlier this month, lost by two in Tucson back in February. If Oregon gets that far - and past Doug McDermott-, quack on.

National Championship: Louisville over Florida

*Picking a team to win a second straight title is madness. Picking any team out of the loaded Midwest bracket to cut down the next is office pool malpractice. But Russ Smith is a bit less Russdiculous these days, Montrezl Harrell is a bit more awesome these days, ex-George Mason stud Luke Hancock is a bit healthier these days and the Cardinals are way better than most teams these days. Never fight a land war in Asia, never go against Rick Pitino when death - or the NCAA Tournament title - is at stake.