Hello, college basketball fans!
Time for Schmolik Bracket Analysis
SOUTH (Always start with Illinois's)
Illinois is in as the 5 seed here. I had them a 6 so a 5 is reasonable. I worried they were heading to Boise (the NCAA garbage dump) but they got Portland instead. Sure, it's a long trip but at least they have an NBA team. Boise doesn't even have a major (BCS) college nearby (no Boise State doesn't count - when's the last time they made the NCAA's?). I didn't like seeing Western Kentucky in their bracket. They went to the Sweet 16 last year. If they win (I put WKU's chances at 50-50), it's Gonzaga vs. the Big MAC champ (Akron). It looks unlikely Illinois will make it through the first week, but North Carolina looks to be waiting if they do. Butler looks to be trouble in the 2nd round, but the game is in Greensboro. I can't see any team in UNC's half stopping UNC. On the bottom half, I think Oklahoma is the weakest #2. I had Missouri on the 2 line. They do get a favorable 7-10 with Clemson and Michigan. But I like Syracuse to get to the regional final, losing to UNC.
I was somewhat surprised to see E. Tennessee St as a 16 and Tennessee as a 9. And they are both in Pitt's pod. Not that I think either will stop Pittsburgh, but they seem to have a harder time earlier than the others. I had FSU as a 4 over Xavier so I expect FSU to win.How about UCLA going all the way to Philly? VCU is going to be a tough out but the problem is everyone knows they can win. Most upsets will happen when the lower seed is underestimated. VCU won't be. I think Villanova has a decent chance to beat Duke and make an all Big East regional final (but watch out for Florida State).
In the Midwest, I think it's the toughest. You got Louisville, Michigan State, and Kansas. Siena might be in the toughest geographical disadvantage. They will be playing Ohio State in Dayton followed by Louisville. If OSU and Siena didn't meet in Dayton, I'd pick Siena to win. I think West Virginia could give Kansas a fit in the 2nd (ask Duke). I think Louisville is the favorite.
I can't pick all four #1's so I'll say Memphis is the favorite. Remember the Huskies lost in the 1st round last year. The West looks to be the weakest. I am not saying teams like Washington and Missouri aren't good teams but they just don't have the same ring as teams like Kansas and Syracuse, teams that won the NCAA this decade. If you want an upset waiting to happen, Utah State over Marquette (especially in Boise).
Could we have Calipari vs Pitino in a national semi? Yes. They met in 1996 with UK-UMass before both went to the NBA, failed, and came back. I have UNC beating Pitt and Louisville winning the NCAA's.
My only hope is the NCAA's never return to Boise. You play all year to get into the NCAA's and your reward is a trip to potato town.