Before I get started here, can I tell you something? I really hate Saint Patrick's day, I mean REALLY hate it. A bunch of morons run around like idiots. I was in a big seminar thing today with probably 100 people or so, and at least 75% of them were wearing green. What the hell? It's so stupid. Why do we even care about Ireland? And don't even get me started on all the amateur rookie drinker types who get bombed off their ass and have no idea how to act because they're morons. Did you know that the biggest Irish bar in Denver actually closes on St. Patricks Day? Despite all the money they could make, people are such morons that they close to avoid the idiocy. And did you know they have parades for this garbage? In both Minneapolis and St. Paul? Ugh, why? Seriously, look down at what you're wearing right now. If you have anything green on please find the nearest wall and run into head first, really fast.
Ugh. Let's move on.
#1 UCONN over #16 Chattanooga. And it will be ugly.
#8 BYU over #9 Texas A&M. Not a big believer in the Aggies this year. And in doing my bracket, it seems I'm not very big on the Big 12 as a whole, even though KenPom has them as the fourth best conference, ahead of the Big Ten - who I am also not very high on. BYU is in the top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and are very, very good at shooting the basketball. Good enough for me.
#5 Purdue over #12 Northern Iowa. At first glance, I thought the Boilers got lucky in getting what I think is the worst #12 seed in the bracket, and who I consider the third best Missouri Valley team. Then I started thinking. Hummel is back, they were predicted to win the Big Ten preseason but had some struggles with his injury, and now that they are all together again, they won the Big Ten tournament. Plus they have the college KG.
#4 Washington over #13 Mississippi State. Like Washington here. Even though Miss State has maybe the best defensive player in the country in Jarvis Varnardo, overall the team is pretty bad and only got here by winning a weak SEC tournament. Not enough firepower or overall defense to hang.
#11 Utah State over #6 Marquette. Like you're surprised. Marquette just isn't the same team without James and have struggled against good teams with their only win in their last six without him over St Johns. They also struggle against bigger teams, and that's what the Aggies are. They still have plenty of firepower and Utah State can play some pretty awful defense at times, so this could go the other way, but I'm picking my second favorite team here.
#3 Missouri over #14 Cornell. I like Cornell, really I do, and I think there are some good teams they could beat but for the second year in a row they get a terrible matchup. Last year they couldn't deal with Stanford's twin towers, this year they won't be able to handle the uptempo style and athleticism Missouri brings.
#7 Cal over #10 Maryland. I know Snacks is in love with greasy haired foreigner Greivis Vasquez, but I don't trust the Terrapins despite their three top 10 wins. They also have a ton of bad losses. And you know what they say about guard play in the tournament and Cal has a couple of studs.
#2 Memphis over #15 CS-Northridge. CSN might actually be able to give Memphis a game for a half, but that's it.
#1 UCONN over #8 BYU. This will be closer than you think, but superior talent wins out.
#5 Purdue over #4 Washington. I changed this one a couple of times, but I can't get over the fact that I think Purdue has underachieved all year and is ripe for a run with Hummel back. And I like the Huskies, but they just haven't impressed. They didn't really beat anybody outside the conference.
#3 Missouri over #11 Utah State. Similar to Cornell, I just don't think Utah State can keep up with a much more athletic Missouri team who will be able to shut down their perimeter game. Add in a very good offense for the Tigers going against a pretty poor USU defense, and this one will probably be a blowout.
#2 Memphis over #7 Cal. I expect the Bruins to give Memphis a hell of a game, and it wouldn't shock me to see them pull this one out. Memphis has done it with defense all year, but the last time they played a team with a backcourt as good as Cal's was way back in December when they played Syracuse - and they lost. I still think the Tigers pull it out in the end, as Cal's defense is just bad enough to keep them out of the sweet sixteen.
#1 UCONN over #5 Purdue. And here's where it ends for the Boilers. I have no idea not only how they will handle the size of the Huskies, but also how they will handle the quickness. They score, they rebound, they play great defense, and they get excellent guard play from AJ Price and company.
#3 Missouri over #2 Memphis. I've changed this one out a whole bunch of times, but I just can't get away from how good Missouri turned out to be this year. A top 20 offense and a top 10 defense at a pace that many teams can't handle, they not only won the Big 12 tournament, but also beat both Kansas and Oklahoma in the past month and a half. Their only real weakness is stopping the opponents offensive rebounding, and Memphis is good here with Dozier and Taggert so this could be the difference, but I think Missouri is the better team.
#1 UCONN over #3 Missouri. This will be a fun game. The teams matchup well, and Missouri can handle the Huskies' size, but in the end it will come down to guard play, and Price, Walker, and Austrie have the collection of mediocre bits over at Mizzou outclassed. One thing to watch is UCONN doesn't create many turnovers on defense, and if they don't disrupt Missouri on the offensive end this could end up going the other way.