I’m not picking anything yet (well, that’s not entirely true), but here are my quick initial thoughts following the release of those beloved brackets...
(1) North Carolina vs. Play-in Winner.
No issues here.
(8) Indiana vs. (9) Arkansas
The Arkansas placement is dead-on, but do we really think that Indiana’s an 8? Even if I thought about it for an hour, I can’t see myself taking Arkansas.
(5) Notre Dame vs. (12) George Mason
Mason’s not a 12. O’Connor, the chair of the selection committee, is the AD at Mason, so I question this seeding. Could they upset Dame? Sure, but Mason’s truly a 14 in my book.
(4) Washington State vs. (13) Winthrop
I like WSU, but didn’t think they’d get such a gracious seed placement. This Winthrop team isn’t the same as last year, but an upset is possible.
(6) Oklahoma vs. (11) St. Joseph’s
What a boring game. There’s always an unbearable 6/11 and this seems to be it.
(3) Louisville vs. (14) Boise State
(7) Butler vs. (10) South Alabama
This is what everyone has to be talking about. What a gross, disgusting mis-seeding by the committee. Butler is a 5 at worst, but this is the second time in three years that they’ve been wrongly pegged. South Alabama is a sketchy at-large (really? a 10???), so I think Butler dismisses of Team USA. What’s worse: South Alabama gets to play in their home state. Butler got hosed.
(2) Tennessee vs. (15) American
Weird that Tennessee gets the 2 seed in the same region as the overall No. 1, North Carolina. So … you’re telling me that Tennessee is the eighth-best team? I hate the lack of consistency.
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Portland State.
No issues here. This will be a 25-point blowout or worse.
(8) UNLV vs. (9) Kent State
Best 8/9 game out there. I won’t be picking this one until Wednesday night, I know it.
(5) Clemson vs. (12) Villanova
Intriguing. I think the seeds are dead-on.
(4) Vanderbilt vs. (13) Siena
Serious upset potential.
(6) USC vs. (11) Kansas State
Beasley. Mayo. Walker. Jefferson. Hackett. What a great game. I hope this one’s a 7:30 tip on Thursday night.
(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Cal State Fullerton
Thought Wisconsin was a 2, but they get a good matchup.
(7) Gonzaga vs. (10) Davidson
Battle of the small guys again. I don’t like pitting the mids against each other, but this one really intrigues me.
(2) Georgetown vs. (15) UMBC
Love the local flavor. I’ll be pulling for UMBC more than any other 15 or 16.
(1) Memphis vs. (16) UT-Arlington
This will not be worth watching, unless you like a lashing.
(8) Mississippi State vs. (9) Oregon
Hmm..Oregon is definitely over-seeded. This will be a tough one.
(5) Michigan State vs. (12) Temple
An underwhelming 12 vs. 5, but maybe that’s why we love when a game like this really surprises us. Let’s be honest: Temple can certainly keep up with the Spartans. You wonder if MSU has the horses to get ahead early, though.
(4) Pittsburgh vs. (13) Oral Roberts
Eh. I’m never pumped about a Pitt game.
(6) Marquette vs. (11) Kentucky
Perfectly seeded and I like the matchup. Kentucky would have a lot of traction as an upset pick if they had Patrick Patterson (and might be a higher seed), but without him, they could have a hard time.
(3) Stanford vs. (14) Cornell
Battle of the smarties.
(7) Miami vs. (10) St. Mary’s
No one will like Miami. That probably means that I will.
(2) Texas vs. (15) Austin Peay
You can’t think Texas will lose in the first weekend.
(1) UCLA vs. Mississippi Valley State
I’m guessing they bury this game during the 5 p.m. hour on Thursday.
(8) BYU vs. (9) Texas A&M
BYU gets another 8/9 game. Remember that tight one against Xavier last year? This one’s pretty tough to read.
(5) Drake vs. (12) Western Kentucky
I’ll be supremely let down if Drake can’t beat the Towel Wavers.
(4) Connecticut vs. (13) San Diego
High upset potential. I think UConn’s a 5 anyway, but this could be 68-60 San Diego type of win.
(6) Purdue vs. (11) Baylor
Purdue as a 6? When they finished ahead of Michigan State, who is a 5? I don’t get it. I know it’s hard to make this thing perfect, but how do you screw that up?
(3) Xavier vs. (14) Georgia
I rooted for Georgia … until now.
(7) West Virginia vs. (10) Arizona
A tough game to pick if you think about what your thoughts on WVU were about a week ago.
(2) Duke vs. (15) Belmont
I truly see this as a 3-14 game, but Duke should win, regardless.