CHALK TALK NEWS
Mar 15, 2012 posted by Josh Angulo-Bartlett
Well if the tourney is half as good as the hoops were last week then we are in for one great dance party. Besides the Big East Tourney (which is usually awesome) the rest of the tournament games were fantastic and gave those with bracket fever a distinct look at which teams might be the ones making that special run. Or at least making it out of the first weekend. Starting with the Big 12 final between two teams I feel could make a deep run in Mizzuo and Baylor and ending with the amazing Big 10 final that turned out to be for the last #1 seed between Ohio St and Mich St, the weekend of quality hoops was undeniable. But with Championship Week in the rear view now, it’s time to turn our attention to the “real” thing this coming Thursday (unless you care about the Play in Games Tuesday and Wednesday).
At first glace the brackets gave me a vibe that a ton of chalk will be making it through the first weekend. Because I could do a thesis on the brackets, I will instead just concentrate on the South and West side of the brackets and tomorrow focus in on the East and Midwest.
The #1 overall seed Kentucky resides in the South and probably has the easiest route to New Orleans in my mind. That’s because the #2 seed Duke is probably the worst #2 seed I’ve seen in 20 years. Plus, you have Indiana as the #4 seed and they just lost one of their best players to a knee injury in last weeks Big 10 tourney. I do like the #3 seeded Baylor Bears (and have all year), but even if they make to the Sweet 16 weekend they would have to beat Wildcats to make it to NOLA and that’s not likely to happen.
Now a second round match up of UCONN and Kentucky on paper sounds intriguing, but I’m not sure the defending champs get by DGools’ Cyclones of Iowa St in the 8/9 game anyway. Sleeper teams in this bracket could be Wichita St and UNLV, but look for Ashley Judd and the rest of the Bluegrass state to be invading Bourbon St come the first weekend of April. Kentucky
This bracket is loaded with teams I’ve been jocking, which has me struggling to pick a Final Four participant. The #1 seed Michigan St is gritty, senior laden and might posses the best big game coach in the college hoops Tom Izzo.
But for as much as I want to pick a sparty party to happen, there are too many mine fields along the way if coach Izzo wants to make his 7th Final Four appearance. Teams like the #3 seeded Marquette Golden Eagles come to mind as well as lower seeded teams like Murray St, New Mexico and Florida could be the ones wearing Cinderella’s shoes.
But that team I’m going with in this bracket actually probably should have been a #1 seed (if Ohio St would have beat Mich St in the Big 10 final)) and might have the best overall talent in the tourney this side of UNC. The Missouri Tigers are loaded and can get up and down the floor like the Rebels of UNLV circa ’1991. A huge front court combined with lightening quick guards that can stroke the 3 leads me to ride the Tigers to the Final Four. The sleeper teams in this bracket were mentioned above, but don’t be surprised if Big East Champ Louisville is upset by Davidson in the first round. Missouri.
Monday I concentrated on the South and West side of the brackets, so today I will tackle the East and Midwest. Syracuse is the #1 seed in the East and the 2nd overall seed in the tourament. But even before the Fab Melo suspension I didn’t think the Orange would be one of the Final Four and here’s why. Too many stars with not enough balls to go around, a la the Knicks. Plus, the scurinity of the program of late will be intensified during the tourney and I don’t think this team is mentally strong enough to handle it and win 6 straight. Now I do have them moving along to the Elite 8, but that is where this up and down season and potential career ends for coach Jim Boeheim. Yep, I have the Buckeye’s of Ohio St behind stud center Jared Sullinger making to the Final Four. I heart teams with experience at the point (Aaron Craft is silly) and go to guys in the clutch like Sullinger inside and David Lightly outside. Plus, coach Thad Motta is an under rated coach, but all he does is makes keep runs in the tourney (though he hasn’t won one yet).My sleeper team in this bracket is Montana and here’s why. They are on a heater winning 12 straight and 18 of their last 19. Plus they play a team in the first round-Wisconsin-that makes the Hoyas of GTown look like Loyola Marymount circa 1988-89 at scoring the ball. Catching the 9.5 is a no-brainer, but if you don’t think Wisconsin has a chance of beating Vandy in the 2nd round, why not take Montana as an upset pick for your bracket? Speaking of Vandy, I also like them to reach at least the Sweet 16 weekend and they even have a good shot at beating the Fab-less Orange to reach the Elite 8. The KState vs. Southern Miss game is the toughest one for me to pick, but if you pinned me down I would go with Frank Martin and the experienced Wildcats to move along and face the Orangeman in the 2nd round. Ohio StMidwest Bracket:
Waring, homer alert. Yep, I’m one of those douchey guys that likes the Tar Heels of Carolina and no I’m not from there. Though I have seen them play in both the Dean Dome and the new and improved Smith Center, if that makes a difference. Homer or not, this bracket is no cakewalk for one of the most talented teams in the dance. Especially since the #2 seed is Kansas and how badly does CBS covet that Elite 8 match up. Cha ching. But both of these blue blooded programs will have plenty of IED’s to maneuver through to give CBS this gift. After KU hammers Detroit in the first round (only laying 15), I have them matching up with St. Mary’s. You might not even know where St. Mary’s is, but after they slaughter a mediocre at best Purdue squad you will. They have a point guard in Matt Dellavedova that is fantastic and you know how I love good PG in the tourney. So if the JHawks sleep on them, Bill Self can add another choke job to this expanding resume. The Heels are nasty. But as I’ve pointed out in the past they close games about as good as Kevin Gregg does for the Orioles. Not well to say the least. But they shouldn’t be in a close game until maybe the Sweet 16 where they will play Temple (in my bracket) or Michigan.The team I wouldn’t sleep on is the NC State Wolfpack. They open vs. the #6 seeded Aztecs of SDSU and they are favored by 2. And guess what I like that even though I’m a Aztec fan boy and here’s why. The Wolfpack have seemed to get it together at the right time and played the Heels to the wire in the ACC Semi’s. The fighting Aztecs have been doing with smoke and mirrors all season and poesses a coach that has rattled off the necessary wins to cut the nets down in Steve Fisher. Problem is they are not the same team by any stretch as last year’s squad that took eventual champ UCONN into OT and would’ve won if not for some bone headed mistakes (shocker). And if the Pack do get by the Aztecs, the offensively challenged Hoyas of G-Town await, if they can sneak by Belmont in the first round that is. But when it’s all said and done the Tar Heels and Roy Williams will be going to another Final Four with a great chance to win the whole joint. Just saying. UNC.So in closing, my brackets that are sure to be up in flames by the weekend include Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio St and UNC as my Final Four selections. I also have Ohio St playing Kentucky in the final and the Buckeye’s winning the whole joint with Aaron Craft named MOP of the Final Four.