Monday, March 14, 2011

Bracketology 101 - 2011 Edition (Opening Lecture)

Welcome to the Madness of March! As you take your seats in the lecture hall, feel free to grab a hold of your notebooks and pencils as I, Dr. Virgo Kent will present my thoughts on this year's bracket. And yes, I do hold a degree in bracketology from years of research and fandom. If you'll look at this wall, you'll notice my pick of Duke to reach the national title game last year, Memphis in 2008 and Florida winning in 2007. Let's begin shall we?

Quick caveat - no Final Four predictions until Wednesday. This is an opening lecture of my 1st impressions to help you and help me. So let's begin shall we?

- Duke got the roughest bracket. The West is loaded with Texas, Arizona, and Michigan just on Duke's side alone and then you have UConn and San Diego State in the other half. But it's fair because even though my Devils embarrassed UNC, we're a soft #1 seed. Shout out to Hampton being Duke's 1st doormat, the other HU.

- On that note, San Diego State and UConn potentially in the Sweet 16 could be one of the best matchups of the tourney. I'd say Kansas/Louisville but more on them later.

- My other squad got a nice lil matchup in Round 1. UCLA heads to Florida to face the great Tom Izzo and underachieving Michigan State. It'll be a nice showdown with my fellow Ph.D. bracketologist and die hard Spartan @MrESPN. Great game and maybe UCLA finally gets out of the 1st round for the 1st time in 3 years to see Florida for the first time since the 07 Final Four

- Tourney Expanded to 68 teams which means USC barely (but deservedly) snuck in. This is how the NCAA cons us into expansion: Add a few teams every few years and eventually we're gonna have 70+ teams in there. It's a slow racket that troubles me.

- Florida gets blown out by Kentucky in the SEC Title game but gets a No. 2 seed? Anybody care to explain that. UK gets a 4 despite beating Florida twice but yet the SEC is so down that Alabama won the SEC West and didn't get in. I'd be surprised if neither reached the Sweet 16. Fraud Alert!

- Speaking of frauds, Texas got exposed badly against Kansas in the Big 12 final. And their reward? They get   No. 13 seed Oakland who beat Tennessee and nearly beat Michigan State and Illinois early this year.

- St. John's got a great deal being that team nobody wants to see. They potentially got BYU in the 2nd round. UCLA fans know full well that St. John's head coach Steve Lavin made 5 Sweet 16's and knows how to win big games.

- More basic tips for your bracket. Trust teams with great guard play and coaches of high seeds with proven resumes. Which means watch Rick Pitino at Louisville.

- I think Kansas is a shaky No. 1. They can either win the whole thing on great talent and balance or lose early. I give em the Public Enemy treatment: "Cant Truss Em". Meanwhile Ohio State (the overall No. 1) and Pitt have the easiest brackets.

- Who's ready for Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and the NBA on TNT crew getting in March Madness? And throw in the always reliable Kevin Harlan and Gus Johnson along with Clark Kellogg + Jim Nantz. If only we could somehow get Dickie V on there.

There you have it folks. Feel free to come by my office hours and discuss what you think and don't forget to sign up for my Facebook bracket if you're down. Class dismissed. See you on Thursday with my Final 4 picks.

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