If there is one thing for certain, it is that “the boy” and I are absolute NCAA Hoops junkies. We monopolize the television every night and weekend taking in whatever games cable has to offer.
So it is with great anticipation that we enter the most wonderful time of the year. I would like to say that our beloved Tar Heels are a lock to win it all this year, but much has changed since they were crowned the pre-season unanimous favorite.
Although we are students of college basketball, my recommendations should not be held against me in an office pool! This year is up for grabs like no year I have ever seen.
That being said, here is how “the boy” and I see this whole thing shaking out.
Gotta be honest and say I like Louisville to do very well in this bracket. Their defense and full court pressure are suffocating to opponents. I also think Michigan State will do well. I like West Virginia, Kansas and Utah in the first few rounds.
Potential upsets - Ohio State beating Louisville in the 2nd round and Cleveland State beating Wake Forest in the 1st Round. If OSU can pull off the upset in round 2, I could even see a rematch against Michigan State in the elite 8.
With apologies to my good friend “D-Rich”, I still like Louisville making it all the way to the Final Four.
I have said all season that UConn is the best team in college basketball. They have as much talent as anyone and Hasheem Thabit is a game changer. I also like Purdue and Marquette in this bracket.
Potential upsets - It gets really interesting at the bottom of this bracket. I don’t like Memphis. Conference USA is not the ACC, Big 10 or Big East.
Yes they have an impressive record, but they have not seen the talent these other conferences have. That being said, I like Maryland to upset Memphis in the 2nd round. Gary Williams has a way of being a giant killer.
UConn cruises to the Final Four
No question Pitt is the clear favorite here. If Blair stays out of foul trouble, Pitt can run the table in this bracket. I like Florida State because of the length on their front line. I also like Villanova and as much as I hate to say it, Duke should do well in this bracket. I see Pitt and Villanova in the final with Pitt going to the Final Four.
Potential Upsets - None that I can see. Duke has been terrible the past few years with early exits. There is potential there for Texas to steal one in the 2nd round, but I still think Duke will find a way.
Pitt goes to Final Four
Last and certainly not least, my Tar Heels should roll in this bracket. Remember you read it here…Ty Lawson is the key. If he is healthy the only road block could be Oklahoma.
If Lawson is not healthy my faith in Carolina Blue is seriously low. He is the engine. With him the Heels cruise to Detroit. Without him, it will be a battle and long road. I like Oklahoma in this bracket too.
Potential Upsets - If Lawson is not playing, every game UNC plays has the potential for upset. Six overtimes aside, I am not sold on Syracuse either. I like Michigan to beat Clemson in the first round and put together a few wins in this tournament.
Tar Heels beat Oklahoma in a classic match up with Hansbrough and Blake Griffin battling it out (if Lawson is out, Oklahoma rolls to the Final Four).
All of that leads me to what could be some great story lines. If UNC and Duke survive their brackets, we could be looking at a third match up with the winner playing for the NCAA title.
We could also see a rematch of UNC and Michigan State in Ford Field. The last time they met (December), UNC won by 40. Would make for some great story lines.
If Lawson is healthy, I like UNC to beat UConn (it goes against every fiber of my being to vote against my Heels!).
If Lawson is out, I like UConn to beat Pitt.
Let the games begin!!!!