Clearly to me the toughest bracket, anchored by tOSU. I had thought that Villanova would pose as a major "uh oh" 8 or 9 seed for whoever the number 1 was and sure enough it is my boys. They have been underachieving recently for sure but are capable of playing more like a 3 or 4 seed. Plus the more than a week of rest will likely have them fresh and ready to go. Not that I don't think tOSU can beat them, but they would take a lot out of them, more so than an 8 or 9 should. I am pulling for Mason here.Kentucky looks good to make the Sweet 16, and have been on a roll as of late. Keep an eye on Clemson if they beat UAB in the play-in..they have a chance to take WVU to the limit.
Xavier is underrated, and that Marquette game should be a dandy. Washington could give UNC a struggle if they both survive their openers..but all in all Syracuse stands out to me as the biggest threat in the bottom half of the region.
WestDuke looked good today, but I think is the least secure of the #1 seeds. Michigan or Tennessee could give them a ballgame, but I will still advance them into the regional semis. UConn, SDSU, Zona or Texas could all pose formidable threats to them in Anaheim.
Mizzou and Cincy have both been hot n' cold teams..I am struggling with that choice. Oakland-Texas is an interesting upset game, not sure whether I'll pull the trigger or not. Oakland has experience playing with the big boys though, as they came close to taking out Michigan and MSU and did beat Tennessee.
PSU has a surprisingly good shot at the Sweet 16, depending on which SDSU team shows up. I won't pick it, but it wouldn't floor me either.
The second #1 seed Kansas has roost in this region, and they have a great chance to make the Elite 8 or further. UNLV-Illinois..can I flip a coin? I see Vandy and Louisville making the round of 32 and am toying with idea of giving the Commodores the nod. Either way, should be some good hoops in the top half.Purdue doesn't strike me as a team with their heads in the right places for tournament play..I think the Hoyas are capable of winning a close game in the second round.
Notre Dame impresses me..I would have been fine with them getting a #1 seed over my second love, Pitt. But they are a 2 here and can make some noise. They will defeat either G'Town or Purdue and advance to the regional finals, where I just might select them over the Jayhawks.
SoutheastThe aforementioned Panthers of Pitt headline this region. There are a few threats to their trip to Houston..in the top half either KSU or Wisconsin could give them a struggle, more likely the Wildcats in my mind. Belmont is one of the top "under the radar" teams and will test the Badgers' mettle at the very least. I try to avoid picking too many upsets but this one is screaming at me like Oakland over the Longhorns out West..we shall see.
St. John's were the real surprise in the Big East and I see them topping the Zags and then the BYU Cougars who are sans-Davies, their leading rebounder. Florida may be a bit high on the 2-line, but should be able to handle MSU or UCLA.
I really became a fan of the Red Storm this year, so I will go out on a limb and match them up with Pitt in the Elite 8. The Big East would love that one. KSU could make a run to the Final Four themselves though.
Ohio State's ChancesAs I said to open, I think the East is a barn-burner of a bracket. The top four teams could make anyone's Final Four list. I think tOSU can match up favorably with any of them if they stay out of foul trouble and keep the excellent perimeter shooting going. They need to be more assertive and force other teams to play to their pace.
At the end of the day I likely will choose the Buckeyes as my champions, as I think they have as good a shot as anyone in the country. It will hardly be a steel-trap lock though. One thing is certain, if they do make it to Houston they will be more than ready to square off with the winners of the other regions because it will have likely required wins over Villanova, Kentucky, and Syracuse or North Carolina.
Let the Madness begin! Should be a great few weeks.