2010 Men's Hoops Tourney breakdown

The 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

It’s win or go home time – tourney time.  The brackets are set so let’s break it down, region by region. 

I consider the Midwest to be the most difficult region.  Aside from having the overall #1 in Kansas, this region features one of the nation’s best players in Oklahoma State’s James Anderson, an extremely athletic Georgia Tech team, National Player of the Year Evan Turner and Ohio State, and a #6 seed in Tennessee who has beat TWO #1’s (Kansas and Kentucky).  Oh yeah, Georgetown is the 3 seed, and they too have beaten TWO #1’s (Syracuse and Duke).  Northern Iowa is dangerous, Michigan State is last year’s National Runner-Up, and Maryland features clutch magician Greivis Vasquez.  However, I expect seeding to hold close to form as #1 Kansas, #2 Ohio State, #3 Georgetown,  and #5 Michigan State will make the Sweet 16.  This region is loaded, so a really high seed advancing far is unlikely, but the two teams to watch are #6 Tennessee and #9 Northern Iowa.  They could surprise!

The next most difficult region is the East.  #1 Kentucky, although incredibly young, is explosive and really never expects to lose.  Many thought the 2 seed, West Virginia, was deserving of a spot on the top line after their Big East Tourney win, and #8 Texas, although not playing well of late, was ranked #1 earlier this season!  Coach Steve Alford has his #3 New Mexico Lobos playing great and Missouri’s brand of 40-minutes of Hell on defense is impossible to simulate in practice.  The winner of the Temple/Cornell first-rounder could make the Elite 8 and the Washington Huskies are on fire!  Again, this is a super tough region, so deep runs by high seeds probably won’t happen.  But my upset teams are #12 Cornell and #13 Wofford.  That being said, I expect the Sweet 16 teams to be #1 Kentucky, #2 West Virginia, #4 Wisconsin and #6 Marquette.

The third most difficult region is the South.  I think #1 Duke is highly underrated.  Though not overly impressive to watch, all they do is WIN – isn’t that what’s most important?  It is to me.  The 2 seed, Villanova, was a Final Four team last year and has tons of backcourt experience, including super-stud Scottie Reynolds.  #9 Louisville has beaten #1 Syracuse TWICE and the 4 seed, Purdue, was a popular Final Four choice before star Robbie Hummel’s injury.  They’re still incredibly dangerous, though, because they defend and rebound.  Plus they are experienced and athletic.  Baylor is for real and Notre Dame has 20-10 beast Luke Harangody.  Even #11 Old Dominion could surprise.  The one big upset most predictors like that I do not is #13 Siena over #4 Purdue.  I think Purdue wins by 20.  Sweet 16 teams from this region:  all chalk — #1 Duke, #2 Villanova, #3 Baylor, and #4 Purdue.  Old Dom and Louisville and the upset specials here.

The easiest region has to be the West, especially if Syracuse big man Arinze Onuaku is unable to go with his knee injury.  #3 Pitt is vulnerable with inexperience and #2 Kansas State is unproven.  I think #4 Vandy is the weakest of the 4’s and Gonzaga is not the Gonzaga of old.  Also, BYU hasn’t won a tourney game since 1993 – that’s longer ago than it sounds.  Truthfully, I think Murray State is one of the better teams is this region.  They are one of those rare teams that shoot better than 50% from the field and hold their opponents under 40%.  If history is any indicator, the Racers could be Final Four bound – seriously.  My Sweet 16 predictions are #1 Syracuse, #2 Kansas State, #6 Xavier, and #13 Murray State.  Obviously, Murray State and Xavier are two of my upset teams – but also keep an eye on UTEP.

Final Four predictions are as follows – I expect Georgetown, lead by their terrific three-some of Freeman, Wright and Monroe to win the Midwest.  Da’Sean Butler will lead the Mountaineers of West Virgina past Kentucky, and Syracuse, pending Onuaku’s health, will come out of the West.  The South will be won by Baylor – too athletic, too hungry.  I expect the National Championship game to be a Big East Championship rematch, only with a different result.  This time, Georgetown beats West Virginia 78-69 and wins their first National Title since 1984.

Let the games begin!

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