2011 NCAA Tourney Predictions

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First game tips in an hour - so I'll skip the stories of my picking up two copies of the USA Today every Monday after selection Sunday for the past quarter century and get right to the brackets.

Like last year - I've got a "smart" bracket and a "fun" bracket - I pick some more upsets in the fun bracket, but both wind up essentially in the same spot.  I'm entering contests with both of them.

I'm going with the better seeded team unless otherwise indicated.

I've got UT-SA and Clemson in what really are still play-in games, no matter what they call them.

I've got chalk in Round One.  There are some models with Nova over GM and Marq over Xavier, and those are sustainable picks, and I don't hate Clemson against WVA - but I've got favorites in both smart and fun brackets.

I've got favorites in Round Two.  I've got a crush on Washington, they're the best team from my Pac 10 and are getting their PG back.  If they weren't playing Carolina in Charlotte, I'd pick them in the fun bracket. and have them going to the elite 8. Instead - favorites across the board.

Ohio St to the elite eight in both brackets.  Syracuse in the fun bracket, Carolina in the smart bracket.

Ohio St wins the region in both brackets - although if they actually do play Carolina that's not a great matchup for the Buckeyes - I'm taking Ohio St even in the smart bracket because Carolina's got to go through Washington (love me some Washington) and Syracuse (in Newark) to get there, and Ohio St should get there pretty cleanly.  Picking from here - take Ohio St - if we actually get to the Ohio St/Carolina elite eight game I'm picking in the smart bracket - I'm still likely to take Ohio St, but that's not a matchup Ohio St wants.

Michigan in the fun bracket, Tennessee in the smart bracket.  Favorites the rest of the way in round one.

Favorites in round two.  I don't have any model that doesn't have Duke, Texas, UConn, SD St in the sweet 16.

Favorites in round three. Consider Texas over Duke (Slate's "pick the tourney like a hedge fund manager" post has Texas winning the whole thing; I don't have any model that does that, but they had Duke last year).

In the fun bracket, San Diego St over Duke to make the Final Four - and Duke in the smart bracket.  So, it's Ohio St from the East in both my brackets, meeting SD St in the fun bracket and Duke in the smart bracket.

I've got my Trojans in the play in game.

I've got Illinois over Vegas in both brackets.

I've got Richmond over Vandy in the fun bracket - and Vandy in the smart.

I've got USC to beat Georgetown in the fun bracket, and the Hoyas in the smart.

I've got Florida St over A&M in both brackets.

I've got the top 4 seeds getting through to the sweet 16.  Kansas, Louisville, Purdue, Notre Dame in both brackets.

Purdue beating Notre Dame in both brackets.

And Kansas making the final four in both brackets.  Kansas has the easiest trip to the final four of the top seeds.

I've got UNC-Asheville in the play in.

Old Dominion to beat Butler.

Utah St to beat Kansas St.  Yeah, in both brackets.

Belmont to beat Wisconsin in the fun bracket, Wisconsin in the smart.

Gonzaga to beat St Johns in both brackets.

Michigan St. to beat UCLA in both brackets.

My smart bracket's got chalk in the next round.  My fun bracket has Utah St going to the Sweet 16.

The fun bracket has BYU beating Florida, smart bracket the other way around.

Pittsburgh going to the final four in both brackets. This is the most open bracket - Florida isn't that good but their draw is unbelievably fortunate. Whomever comes out of the top of that region - Pitt, Wisconsin, Utah St - I'm taking to go to the final four.

The fun bracket - Ohio St beats SD St, Kansas beats Pittsburgh.
The smart bracket, Ohio St beats Duke, Kansas beats Pittsburgh.

Ohio St over Kansas in both brackets.


John DeWolfe said...

I don't like Duke in the West (I picked Texas, San Diego State would be my second choice) because they're playing so far from home in the regionals (in Anaheim, IIRC) and that to me is a road game that costs them 4-6 points. I think they are ripe for an upset in either of those two games. I also don't like Pitt (or any Big East team) to go deep, because I figure the Big East teams beat each other up so badly this year they might all have some fatigue issues. However, we've got mostly the same bracket otherwise, it looks like (except I have Kansas going over in the championship game, because I figured most people would take Ohio St. and I want the points from an upset. I'd agree that OSU is slightly favoured in that matchup.)

Jim said...

I agree with the spirit of all of this.

1. Yes on Duke in Anaheim, particularly in an elite 8 game against SD St, which is why in one of the two brackets I have it going the other way.

2. I'm not bullish on Pitt particularly - but because I like Utah St and even Belmont - it's hard for me to pick Wisconsin as an alternative and with the BYU suspension I like the Pitt half of the region solidly more than the other half.

I guess I agree with everything, just to a lesser degree, enough so that my picks reflect that distinction. But the very first thing I saw when the brackets came out was that Duke/SD St game in Anaheim.

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