Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More succumbing

Ariel's son, Aidan, stars in his own basketball-instruction video, marketed exclusively to the University of Kansas coaching staff. Image found here.

(Part One of this post is here.)

I know you all have been waiting with bated breath to see my picks for this weekend's Saturday and Sunday picks, so here we go.

First of all, though: I said in Part One that, not having seen many games this season, I don't know a whole lot about the teams this year. So, I read. I always learn much from Si.com's Luke Winn; yesterday's post on his blog, "Bracket Math, Part One," for example, discusses teams who have disparate home-court and away-court records, the idea being that teams who play well away from home would tend to have advantages in tournament environments. But, see also the guiding principles I listed in yesterday's post. Stats help only to a point, which is the cool thing about this tournament. Intangibles, such as who accepted or rejected me to their grad school English programs, Texas' innate Goodness, Baylor's recovery from its program's near-death six years ago, the fact that it's very rare that a school with "State" in its name that goes very far in the tournament, and, well, one's gut all figure into this bracket-making stuff. Heck: at times, it can feel like consulting the I Ching.

Enough preamble. Below the fold are my picks for the Saturday-Sunday games. As with last night's post, numbers in parentheses indicate seeding:

EAST, 2nd round:

(1) North Carolina vs. (8) Indiana. Despite Indiana's wisdom in admitting me to their grad program, Carolina gets the nod here.
(5) Notre Dame vs. (13) Winthrop. Winthrop in a huge upset. It wouldn't be wise to underestimate any of the teams from the Carolinas this year.
(11) St. Joseph's vs. (3) Louisville. I'd picked St. Joe's to beat Oklahoma for another reason apart from OU's being overrated: a good friend of mine from Rice teaches there. In this case, though, sentimentality goes out the window. Louisville.
(7) Butler vs. (2) Tennessee. As team-oriented as Butler is, the Vols just have too many hosses.

MIDWEST, 2nd round:

(1) Kansas vs. (9) Kent State. Kansas. See what I said above about schools with "State" in their name; apply, rinse, repeat. Especially when the opponent is the Jayhawks.
(5) Clemson vs. (13) Siena. Much as I would like to pick Siena here, Clemson's play in the ACC this year is too much to argue against.
(6) USC vs. (3) Wisconsin. Of the schools that accepted me into their grad programs in my senior year of college, Wisconsin is where I would have gone.
(10) Davidson vs. (2) Georgetown. Davidson (one of those Carolina schools) in the upset.

SOUTH, 2nd round:

(1) Memphis vs. (8) Mississippi State. This is a game Memphis could potentially lose if it's close (Memphis' team free-throw percentage is barely over 50%), but I'll go ahead and pick Memphis anyway.
(12) Temple vs. (13) Oral Roberts. Having beaten Pittsburgh, another Eastern team won't intimidate ORU.
(11) Kentucky vs. (3) Stanford. Go with the school with the better English department--the Cardinal.
(10) St. Mary's vs. (2) Texas. See the rules above. Also, Texas played St. Mary's earlier this season and beat them.

WEST, 2nd round:

(1) UCLA vs. (8) BYU. The Bruins shouldn't have trouble here.
(5) Drake vs. (4) Connecticut. It'll seem like an upset because of UConn's tradition, but when Drake's combination of patient, team-oriented play and deadly perimeter shooting should prevail here.
(11) Baylor vs. (3) Xavier. Baylor is a scrappy team. If this is at all close, I like their chances.
(7) West Virginia vs. (2) Duke. The Mountaineers put Duke out of our misery.

So, then: Here are my Sweet 16 picks:

East: North Carolina, Winthrop, Louisville, Tennessee.
Midwest: Kansas, Clemson, Wisconsin, Davidson.
South: Memphis, Oral Roberts, Stanford, Texas.
West: UCLA, Drake, Baylor, West Virginia.

Tomorrow, I'll post my picks for the Elite 8 and Final Four.

1 comment:

Winston said...

So pleased to see that you included my beloved Vols in the 16. Now, your true worth as a man will be measured by your Elite 8 and Final 4 picks. I am watching and waiting...