No need for an intro (even though this is technically an intro), let’s get right back to the brackets.
#1 North Carolina vs. #16 Eastern Kentucky: This one is right in UNC’s backyard but it would not matter if it were literally being played in Eastern Kentucky’s backyard as it should get ugly quick.
UNC 88 â€“ Eastern Kentucky 60
#8 Marquette vs. #9 Michigan State: Tuesday night it was revealed that Marquette will be without guard Jerel McNeal, which certainly changes the outlook of this game. I was prepared to anoint Marquette as the winner but now I am not so sure. Michigan State makes up for its lack of talent with feistiness and without McNeal, that may be enough to get the job done.
Michigan State 62 â€“ Marquette 58
#5 USC vs. #12 Arkansas: All season long, Arkansas has been one of my favorite teams to watch because they are loaded with talent but they just can’t seem to put it all together. The Razorbacks are probably still a year away from doing any damage so it looks like USC’s defense and shooting should reign supreme in this one.
USC 70 â€“ Arkansas 60
#4 Texas vs. #13 New Mexico State: New Mexico State has been given the unenviable task of trying to stop Kevin Durant, good luck! State happens to be rather talented due to a boatload of transfers but their only chance is if Rick Barnes manages to coach the Longhorns worse in this game than he did in the Big 12 tournament.
Texas 77 â€“ New Mexico State 64
#6 Vanderbilt vs. #11 George Washington: Coming off a remarkable year last year, GW has managed to somehow go under the radar and win 23 games. Vanderbilt comes into this one struggling a bit but I think that they should be able to regroup and get things back on track.
Vanderbilt 71 â€“ George Washington 63
#3 Washington State vs. #14 Oral Roberts: Oral Roberts has already knocked off Kansas in Lawrence this year so don’t be so quick to put Wazzu in the 2nd round just yet. Oral Roberts has two scoring weapons in Kevin Tutt and Caleb Green and is probably a more athletic team than Washington State. State needs for teams to be lulled into their slower, ball control offense and I don’t know if Oral Roberts will bite on that. I’m certainly going with the upset here and you should too.
Oral Roberts 59 â€“ Washington State 55
Winston Salem, NC
#7 Boston College vs. #10 Texas Tech: Many, including myself, thought that Boston College’s season would go down the drain once Sean Williams was kicked off the team but it has been quite the opposite. BC gets a favorable draw here playing in a familiar environment and it also does not hurt that Texas Tech is not very good.
Boston College 74 â€“ Texas Tech 61
#2 Georgetown vs. #15 Belmont: Georgetown is absolutely rolling at this point and Belmont should not serve as much of a roadblock.
Georgetown 81 â€“ Belmont 63
#1 Ohio State vs. #16 Central Connecticut State: CCSU has some fight in them but that and 25 cents buys you the New York Post.
Ohio State 91 â€“ CCSU 75
#8 BYU vs. #9 Xavier: Based on talent alone, I think that BYU has the edge. Having said that, Xavier is playing rather close to home and these types of things tend to matter in the tournament. This game could go either way but I am going with the â€œhomeâ€ team in Xavier.
Xavier 71 â€“ BYU 68
#5 Tennessee vs. #12 Long Beach State: Tennessee does not have the size advantage that most major schools have so this one could be very interesting. Again, factoring in that Long Beach State is traveling across the country while Tennessee is playing somewhat close to home certainly has to at least be in the back of your mind when filling out your bracket and was the deciding factor yet again in my choice.
Tennessee 66 â€“ Long Beach State 62
#4 Virginia vs. #13 Albany: If Virginia is not careful here, they could be ripe for an upset. Like Tennessee, the Wahoos are a guard-dominated team but Albany has one of the better point guards in America in Jamar Wilson. Virginia should be able to pull this one out but I’m looking forward to this game as it should be close.
Virginia 77 â€“ Albany 69
#6 Louisville vs. # 11 Stanford: Color me unimpressed by the Stanford Cardinal. Many â€œexpertsâ€ continue to sing their praises but I just do not see it. Louisville finished the season scorching hot and that certainly counts for something entering the tournament.
Louisville 78 â€“ Stanford 64
#3 Texas A&M vs. #14 Pennsylvania: Acie Law is my favorite player to watch in America, there I said it.
Texas A&M 71 â€“ Pennsylvania 54
New Orleans, LA
#7 Nevada vs. #10 Creighton: Yours truly is going to be live and in color for this one and I am quite excited. Nevada has the potential to do a lot of damage but due to an unfortunate draw of Memphis in the 2nd round, your chances to see Nick Fazekas may be limited. Creighton reminds me a lot of Michigan State in that they aren’t the most talented but it is hard to count them out of any game.
Nevada 71 â€“ Creigthon 65
#2 Memphis vs. #15 North Texas: North Texas got quite â€œluckyâ€ when it was given a #15 seed because they deserve to be in the Opening Round game instead of Niagara. Need I say more?
Memphis 89 â€“ North Texas 55
And with that, I am off to New Orleans for the 1st and 2nd round of the tournament. Good luck to everyone in their respective office pools!