Ok, I think I have my bracket all figured out. But before I get to telling you what is going to happen, I'm going to go ahead and strongly recommend the new Alice in Wonderland movie. With about as strong of a recommendation as I can give. I'm a huge fan of the original stories, and this managed to stay true to those while being completely original at the same time. Well, not completely original. At it's core it's kind of the same story that's been done a million times, but doing it with time-honored characters with enough of a twist so it doesn't feel cliched is a tall task, but Burton pulls it off brilliantly.
It's not for everyone, like most of Burton's work, and only scores 53% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, but if you like Burton, Sleepy Hollow, Nightmare Before Christmas, and/or the original Alice stories you need to go see this, and in 3D if you can. I was skeptical about 3D, but it's not at all intrusive or distracting, and really just gives the screen more depth. And, of course, there are the few jump scenes. I could write paragraphs on this movie, but that's not why we're here, so just go see it.
On to the tournament. Here's what is going to happen:
-Kansas over Lehigh - Slaughter.
-UNLV over Northern Iowa - UNI gets all this pub for their great defense, but they suck on offense.
-Mich State over New Mex State - This is one 12/5 game that isn't remotely up for grabs.
-Maryland over Houston - The Cougars have a few good players, but they're lucky to be here. Maryland is a Final Four contender.
-SDSU over Tennessee - The Vols are just streaky enough to lose a first round game.
-Georgetown over Ohio - Slaughter.
-Oklahoma State over Georgia Tech - The really funny thing is that the Yellow Jackets have enough talent to challenge for a Final Four berth, but they can't put it together.
-Ohio State over UCSB - Slaughter.
-Kansas over UNLV - I like the MWC, and I like UNLV, but they have no chance to match up with Kansas.
-Maryland over Michigan State - One of the toughest calls for me in the entire tournament, but I think Greivis Vasquez is the kind of player who can carry a team in this kind of tournament thing.
-Georgetown over SDSU - Like I said, I like the MWC, as shown by having SDSU win one, but they can't hang with the Hoyas.
-Ohio State over Oklahoma State - James Anderson vs. Evan Turner should be fantastic, but Turner has a lot more help.
-Maryland over Kansas - This might be my dumbest call of the tournament, but everyone really needs to chill about Kansas. They aren't nearly as good as you would all like to believe. They're basically the same team from last year, and I don't remember them in the Final Four.
-Ohio State over Georgetown - The Buckeyes have zero answer for Greg Monroe, but the Hoyas have no answer for Turner. Or Lighty. Or Buford. One of those last two is going to have a huge tournament, I'm just not sure which.
-Ohio State over Maryland - I've said since the year started that Ohio State was a Final Four team, I can't very well back off now.
-Syracuse over Vermont - VM beat the Cuse as a 14 a few years ago, and I expect this one to be closer than you'd think, despite the fact that one fact has nothing at all to do with the other.
-Florida State over Gonzaga - FSU is great defensively, as long as they can find some scoring they should roll.
-UTEP over Butler - Butler finally grabs a high seed, just in time to lose to the new Butler.
-Vandy over Murray State - I don't even like Vandy, but why are people calling Murray a possible sleeper? They're awful.
-Xavier over Minnesota - My official pick is actually the Gophers, but I'm picking X for my bracket.
-Pitt over Oakland - This is going to be tight, trust me.
-BYU over Florida - This one isn't. Florida doesn't even belong in the tournament.
-Kansas State over North Texas - Not really sure what to make of K State, but this isn't the game they're going to lose.
-Syracuse over Florida State - The Seminoles "Good D No O" shtick will work against the Zags, but you need to bring a complete game to beat the Orange.
-UTEP over Vanderbilt - I like UTEP and I hate Vandy. I actually would have picked Vandy to lose against almost anybody, but I don't want to validate morons who think Murray State is an upset candidate.
-Xavier over Pitt - Or Minnesota over Pitt, doesn't matter who wins round 1, Pitt isn't getting out of the weekend.
-BYU over Kansas State - I anguished over this one. I know taking a 7 over a 2 is a risk and really sets me up to lose a bunch of points, but I can't help it. K State is going down early, and BYU is the call.
-Syracuse over UTEP. The Miners run ends.
-BYU over Xavier. Pretty good matchup, but BYU gets to play in Salt Lake if they make it this far.
-Syracuse over BYU. The Salt Lake thing makes this close, but the Orange advance to the Final Four without having to play anyone seeded higher than a 7.
-Kentucky over ETSU - Laugher. Probably the biggest margin of the tournament.
-Texas over Wake Forest - I was looking forward to picking against both of these teams, and now they're matched up so I have to pick somebody to win. I'll go with the Longhorns since they have more talent.
-Temple over Cornell - I, like man, think both these teams were underseeded and like them both quite a bit. Somebody's got to win though, and the Owls have more talent.
-Wisconsin over Wofford - I watched Wofford win their conference championship. That was by default. They, and the entire SoCon, are garbage.
-Marquette over Washington - I heard somebody saying the Pac 10 is undervalued because of East Coast Bias. That may be true a lot of years, but this year the Pac is just terrible. There is no way this game should be a pick 'em.
-New Mexico over Montana - This game bores me.
-Clemson over Missouri - I liked Mizzou here until I found out they have a starter out and his replacement hurt.
-WVU over Morgan State - One last hurrah for the chucker.
-Kentucky over Texas - Texas actually has the talent to knock out the Wildcats, and I really hope they do.
-Wisconsin over Temple - Fascinating match up of two similar teams, but Wisconsin does it better.
-New Mexico over Marquette - A lot of people are taking Marquette here, but I have too strong of a crush on Darington Hobson.
-WVU over Clemson - Since I have Clemson winning last round pretty much by default, I can't very well have them beating my Final Four team.
-Kentucky over Wisconsin - Another good opportunity for Kentucky to slip up, but I'm not seeing it.
-WVU over New Mexico - Hobson is really good, but the Mountaineers have about five guys who are nearly as good, with a couple who are probably better.
-WVU over Kentucky - This is going to be a hell of a game. Look for De'Sean Butler to continue his heroics.
-Duke over Ark-Pine Bluff - I'm just glad the Golden Lions got to play in a real game.
-Louisville over Cal - I'm not really sure what to think of either team. Both can be really good or really bad. I'll give the advantage to Pitino.
-Texas A&M over Utah State - The Aggies knock out a team from Utah in the first round for the third year in a row. Anti-Mormon bias.
-Siena over Purdue - I'm almost starting to think this is reaching "too obvious" status, but I can't talk myself out of it.
-ODU over Notre Dame - I don't get it, the Irish went on a tear without Harangody, but now he's back. Ergo, they're going to suck again. Plus ODU is pretty good.
-Baylor over Sam Houston - I think I read somewhere that this might end up being a barn-burner. That would F up a lot of brackets.
-Richmond over St. Mary's - Love me some Spiders. If they were playing any other 10 seed they'd blow them away, bad luck getting the Gaels.
-Villanova over Robert Morris - Nova is overrated, but not so overrated that RMU could win.
-Duke over Louisville - I know some people (Snacks) are taking the Cardinals here, and although I can see it, I can't quite pick it.
-Texas A&M over Siena - I'm close to picking Siena here, but I can't quite talk myself into it, seeing as how they beat nobody this year.
-Baylor over ODU - I know Baylor is the sexy pick for the Final Four, and even I am picking them here, but this will be a dangerous game for them.
-Richmond over Villanova - I told you I liked the Spiders. But Villanova is supremely overseeded at #2. They are in a complete tailspin right now, and Scottie Reynolds is the most overrated player since Steph Curry.
-Duke over Texas A&M - You know what's sick? The Aggies are the best team the Blue Devils could possibly face in the first three rounds. NCAA loves Duke like a fat kid loves cake.
-Baylor over Richmond - Well, I don't love the Spiders quite this much.
-Duke over Baylor - I just can't put Baylor in the Final Four. Any other 2 seed, any other three seed, and a bunch of four or five seeds would go over Duke, but none of them ended up in this bracket. This sucks.
-Syracuse over Ohio State - The Orange is just such a complete team. I love the Buckeyes, but I think the Cuse is just a bit better.
-West Virginia over Duke - The Dukies finally play a real team, and they get smoked.
-Syracuse over West Virginia - A Big East showdown for the crown, with Syracuse taking it down and Andy Rautins proving me completely wrong by winning Most Outstanding Player.
There you go, the perfect bracket. Just go ahead and copy those picks and you'll be rolling in the dough Scrooge McDuck style. Unless you are in the same pool I am, in which case you can't copy my picks. It's unethical.