Archive for Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Opinion: Dissecting the 2007 bracket

March 13, 2007

Sub-state and state brackets have given way to NCAA Tournament brackets and the madness is finally here.

As the college basketball season neared its end, predicting the No. 1 seeds became easy.

But things won't be as smooth the rest of the way. Which team will be this year's George Mason? Which top seeds will fall? Who will run all the way to Atlanta and cut the nets down on the first Monday night in April? None of us have any idea, but here's a deeper look at this year's field in case you're up for the challenge of figuring it out.

East Regional:

My pick: (2) Georgetown -- The Hoyas are one of the hottest teams in the country, their size is tough to contend with and they have guards who can play D and run the floor at a fast pace.

Sleeper: (8) Marquette -- The Golden Eagles slipped a little as the season went on, but early in the year they were among the country's elite. A tough second-round game with North Carolina looms, but something tells me Marquette won't be scared.

Best Round 1 game: (7) Boston College vs. (10) Texas Tech

Best potential game: (1) North Carolina vs. (4) Texas -- I'm sure UNC coach Roy Williams was less than thrilled when he realized his Tar Heels might have to face Mr. Wonderful, Kevin Durant and Texas in the Sweet 16. If it happens, look for Durant to shine and the Longhorns to pull the upset.

South Regional:

My pick: (3) Texas A&M -- I'm a Big 12 homer, but I think the Aggies are special. Acie Law IV can carry this team on offense and the rest of them are as good as it gets on defense.

Sleeper: (5) Tennessee -- Last year the Volunteers were overrated and went out early. Look for them to last longer this year.

Best Round 1 game: (7) Nevada vs. (10) Creighton

Best potential game: (3) Texas A&M vs. (1) Ohio State -- I'm not sold on OSU but they're talented and their offense against the A&M defense would be something to watch.

Midwest Regional:

My pick: (3) Oregon -- The Ducks are explosive, play in a tough conference and are battle-tested entering the Big Dance.

Sleeper: (11) Winthrop -- Everyone's saying that Winthrop could be this year's George Mason. I don't disagree. They're athletic, tough and will create serious match-up problems.

Best Round 1 game: (5) Butler vs. (12) Old Dominion

Best potential game: (1) Florida vs. (8) Arizona -- Lute Olson's boys against the defending champs. Say no more.

West Regional:

My pick: (1) Kansas -- The Jayhawks are ready to exorcise the demons and make a serious run at a national title.

Sleeper: (5) Virginia Tech -- The Hokies beat UNC twice and play a reckless brand of basketball that can be tough to deal with.

Best Round 1 game: (6) Duke vs. (11) Virginia Commonwealth

Best potential game: (1) Kansas vs. (2) UCLA -- Two of college basketball's most storied programs battle it out for the right to get to Atlanta. As a KU fan, I'd rather face anyone but UCLA. But, as a college basketball fan, this is the ultimate game.

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