Now that the brackets are out I will be breaking down each region over the next couple of days with my predictions. I would love to hear feedback from you guys on how you think these regions will play out. Let's start out West where UConn and Memphis headline a group with a lot of offensive firepower.
Most Intriguing Game: Washington vs. Mississippi State - This has a chance to be a very entertaining game. For the second year in a row an SEC team caught fire and stole a tournament bid. The question is: Can the Bulldogs keep the magical run going? Jarvis Vanardo is playing great ball right now and will pose a challenge for Jon Brockman in the paint. Isaiah Thomas leads the Huskies potent three-guard attack that will no doubt try to turn this into a track meet. This could be a wild one.
Potential Blowout: Purdue over Northern Iowa - I love the Missouri Valley but this was a down year for the conference. You need to look no further than Bracket Buster weekend when Northern Iowa and Illinois State were demolished my MAAC schools Siena and Niagara. Both Valley teams looked slow and unathletic in those games. Normally this would be a great spot to take the Panthers catching nine points. But the Boilermakers have too many athletes for Northern Iowa to handle. Don't be surprised if this one turns ugly.
Possible Upset: Utah State over Marquette - This is a bad draw for Marquette. Utah State can really slow the game down and take the air out of the ball. Marquette likes to get up and down the court and I really see Utah State frustrating the Eagles by playing tough defense. Utah State also hits 40 percent from behind the arc so if their shots are falling, Marquette will be going home early.
Overrated: UConn - If there is a more undisciplined, sloppy team in college basketball than UConn I haven't seen them. I am not questioning the Huskies talent by any means but I've seen a lot of things from this team over the last month that I don't like. Throw in the loss of Jerome Dyson and I won't be shocked if UConn exits the tourney sooner than expected.
Sleeper: Texas A&M - Read above. The Aggies must get by BYU first but if they do, they match up very well with UConn because of their match-up zone. UConn gets into a bad habit of settling too much for long range shots and neglecting its big men when teams play zone against them. If they do that against the Aggies, A&M could be headed to the Sweet 16.
Possible Cinderella: Cornell - A possible Cinderella is a team that could pull off a shocking win. In this region that team might be the Big Red. I really like Missouri and I don't see them getting upset here but this game represents a huge contrast in styles. And as we've seen many times in the Tournament, if one team can slow down an opponent that likes to run and can also hit some shots, they have a chance. Cornell is a smart team that could frustrate the Tigers if they are cold from the field early on.
Fright Night's West Region Winner: Memphis - I think the Tigers have a pretty nice road to get out of this region. Missouri plays a similar style as Memphis but I give Calipari's boys a big edge on the defensive side. And as I stated above, I wouldn't be surprised to see UConn get upset. I really like Memphis' chances of returning to another Final Four.
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lay off the crack pipe man
Cal shoots as many 3's as anyone Virginia, which makes them a tough team to predict. They could blow Maryland out if they are hot from long range or lose outright if the shots aren't falling. Should be a good game.
Yes, trying to predict Maryland is an awful lot like trying to predict Wake... you could get a great show- depending on whether they're Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde at the time...
I have no doubt that both teams are capable of winning, so that doesn't help. I'm leaning towards MD in the 1st round because they're ACC tough. I'm not as familiar with Cal, so my preference is just towards the devil I know.
interesting read...cal/maryland is definitely a toss up for me as well.
Virginia, after looking deeper into this game I changed my mind. I like Cal. Good luck.
Virginia, the Cal/Maryland game is a toss up to me. It's one of the toughest tournament games to call in my opinion. I went with the Terps based on the fact that they played in a tougher conference but I sure won't be surprised if Cal wins, especially if they are hitting their shots from long range. Thanks for the feedback and good luck.
I agree about UConn- certainly very talented, but they can be pretty sloppy. Losing their conference tourney got them an extra coupla days of rest, but I'm guessing if they wanted a rest that bad, they wouldn't have played 6OT's with Syracuse...
Of all the games that I've dithered over, Washington/ Miss State is giving me the most trouble. Yes, I know that Wash is playing much closer to home & I also see the seedings but damn, those MS guys are scrappy! It's hard to tell if this SEC Cinderella is destined for more than one night of dancing, but I agree this could be a great game...
What do you think of the MD/Cal matchup?
in fact,the huskies will be the only #1 seed to get to final four
Great info right here, cant wait to read your breakdown of the other 3 regions...
don.'t forget last 2 times uconn was sent out west they won 2 national titles! they were also a 1 seed and a 2 seed
Great read Fright Night
Thank you RJ, Matty and Goodfella. I'm just thankful that RJ allowed me a platform to share my thoughts and discuss sports with the Pregame community. Best sports site on the web right here. You all do a great job. I can't wait until Thursday to get here!