NCAA Tournament: There Will Be Blood
I hope you enjoyed the chalk fest last year, because if all of these teams have proved one thing this year, it's that they can beat and beat by almost anybody.
So let me try and keep the pain to a minimum by at least warning you on a few games that are under the radar...
4 Washington State vs. 13 Winthrop
When I saw this one roll across the screen I missed a breath or two. Winthrop is battle tested, and are going to want to make a run in honor of their fallen comrade De'Andre Adams. Washington St. is the very definition of mediocre. They do nothing all that well other than ball control, nothing overly bad. Pick'em game in my book.
Prediction: Winthrop advances.
1 Kansas vs. 16 Portland State
Now I know its never happened (a No. 1 seed falling), but if Jeremiah Dominguez can survive in the land of the giants, this team can stroke it. If they can hit 45 percent from the arc, they can keep things close, and Bill Self will start seeing his job flash before his eyes, that gym will start rocking, and we all remember Bucknell right?
Prediction: Kansas wins; they pull away late.
4 Vanderbilt vs. 13 Siena
Vandy are an aberration this team is one of the best at home, but away they are nothing special and Siena is the real deal with a marquee 12-point win over Stanford.
Prediction: Siena wins on a buzzer-beater.
7 Gonzaga vs. 10 Davidson
This is more so aimed for the people who think Zaga is still good. They aren't. with almost no tourney experience on that roster, drawing the 20-0 Southern Conference champions who played Duke (lost by six) UNC(lost by four) and UCLA(lost by twelve) is a rough first ride.
Prediction: Davidson wins this game.
7 Miami (FLA) vs. 10 Saint Mary's
Miami should just be happy to be playing. My pick to finish dead last in the ACC, they surprised many by winning 22 games, but Saint Mary's is just a better team. Led by freshman guard Patrick Mills, the Gaels were definitively the best team in the WCC this year, to the point I'm a little perturbed that they are a 10 seed, and the inferior Bulldogs are a 7.
Prediction: Saint Mary's wins a tight game.
6 Purdue vs. 11 Baylor
Here's a game to watch. The committee must not like Baylor because I thought they were good for an 8 or a 9. That aside, Purdue couldn't have wished for a better match-up and neither could Baylor.
Don't be. Baylor are a run and gun team but they don't defend very well.
Purdue can't shoot. They score in the high 50's to low 60's and don't play particularly well against bigger teams, but they can defend.
In this match-up it comes down to the style. If the game settles down to low scoring event, it will favor Purdue. A score higher than 70 favors Baylor.
Prediction: Baylor wins the game.
2 Duke vs. 15 Belmont
It's going to be one of those games that drives tourney pick'em artists like myself to pull large tufts of hair out of our heads. Its going to be a three point shooting contest. These teams can't buy a bucket from inside nor do they think they need it. Expect 20-30 three pointers in this game total. If Belmont hits and Duke goes cold, they could pull the upset.
Prediction: Duke dodge a bullet.
Please note that I left a lot of the ones that ESPN are focusing off this. No need to be redundant.
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