Westside Story...

Angie MeyerContributor IIMarch 16, 2010
Don't ever jump into the pool without first learning to swim. Of course, the pool we're chattin' about is the ever-famous March Madness pool.
Word to the wise, lovely dears... before the pool party begins, you absolutely must learn how to swim. Shades? Check. Towel. Check? Understanding your 2010 tournament teams? Check. Check.
You might have already filled out your brackets, and that's okay. Time is on your side, because you can make those final adjustments until 8:59 am on Thursday morning.
Today and tomorrow, I'm gonna break it down from east to west.
Remember now, there are four regions, and each region has 16 teams, ranked (seeded) 1-16 depending on three things: win loss record, strength of schedule, and conference champions. I'm going to give you my top games, a few favorite picks, and my thoughts on this years Cinderella teams. After all, what's an NCAA tournament without it's Disney princess?
Totally Important Glam Girls Disclaimer: I can not promise you my predictions are correct, they are just thoughts and words based on my personal evaluations via each team. So basically, don't hold me accountable to it if your team loses. The tournament is always a crab shoot. A fabulous Hamptons style crab shoot, but alas, a crab shoot.
Best games on the left coast...
(11) Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. (6) Xavier Musketeers - Friday, 12:20 pm (est)
The Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Always play well in the NCAA Tourney
- Lost to Ohio State in Big 10 tournament (2nd place in Big 10)
- lost to Michigan by 28 points first week of March
- Gophers have played in the tournament the last two seasons
Xavier Musketeers
- The team is filled with many of the top names in college hoops
- Understand tournament play
- Considered one of the top NBA recruiting teams in the nation
- Won the Atlantic 10 Championship
- Going into the tournament ranked 24 overall in the nation
- Have danced 9 times in the last 10 years
Glam Gals Pick: Xavier! Experience, Experience, Experience!! This team knows how to dance, and they've have the chops to make it deep into the tournament. A team that understands tournament intensity, and knows how to play at that level of ball, has the winning mindset to progress in tournament play. We have high hopes for Xavier this year!

(9) Northern Iowa Panthers vs. (8) UNLV Runnin' Rebels - Thursday, 7:10 pm (est)
Northern Iowa Panthers
- One of the top defensive teams in the nation
- Mid Major Team
- Ranked in top 25 this year
- 2nd in the Nation in scoring defense
- Five of the starting 5 players are returning from last year
- The Panthers haven't won a tournament game since 1991
UNLV Runnin' Rebels
- Mid Major Team
- Had huge wins this season, created waves in the Mountain West, proclaiming them a strong NCAA hoops conference.
- Ranked in top 25 this year
- 3rd Place in Mountain West
- Rebels have danced seven times in the last 11 years
- UNLV Coach, Lon Kruger has a 14-11 record in NCAA Tournament games
Glam Gals Pick: UNLV - Stronger Conference, better tournament play. The strength of conference is the best way to choose a team that will continue forward. Don't always look at seeding. Teams play the majority of their games against schools within their own conference. A conference that has a large number of teams going into the tournament indicates a team's readiness. A team with a stronger conference enjoys an accelerated level of play all season long, in turn, creating a stronger competitive edge for better conference teams entering the tournament.
(10) Florida Gators vs. (7)BYU - Thursday 12:20 am (est)
Florida Gators
-Florida Gators know how to win. They won two consecutive national championships in 2006, 2007
- Played in the NIT Tournament 2008, 2009. Both years they barely missed the dance.
- Florida is 6-5 this season, each of their games were within 5 points! Crazy
- Florida has a very strong team, four of their starters average double points in every game.
- Florida finished the season losing their last four games.
BYU Cougars
- Finished 2nd in the Mountain West
- Consecutively in the Top 25 this season
- Best record in conference history (13-3)
- Cougars have danced seven times in the last ten years
Glam Girls Pick: BYU! Florida was a powerhouse three years ago, but using the operative word "was"... they had a poor showing end of season, and aren't a team capable of beating a BYU style of play. BYU is as strong as they've ever been. This game will be close, but we're gonna move the bracket in favor of the "other" Cougars.
(10) Georgia Tech Yellow jackets vs. (7) Oklahoma State Cowboys - Friday, 7:10 pm (est)
Georgia Tech Yellow jackets
- Yellow jackets have many of NCAA's most talented players including Freshman Standout, Derrick Favors, and Guard, Iman Shumpert
- The game will be held in Milwaukee. Note of interest: this was the same place Georgia Tech started the tournament in 2004, when they made the final four. In this game, they beat Oklahoma State. Will history repeat?
- This is Coach Paul Hewitt's 5th time dancing in the last ten years
Oklahoma State Cowboys
- Cowboys lost in the opening round last year
- Finished season 9-12 in Big 12
- Cowboys will start Big 12 player of the year, James Anderson
- Beat both powerhouses Kansas and Kansas State this year
Glam Girls Pick: **UPSET** Georgia Tech. We're going to say this because they have a stronger bench, meaning if their starters get tired, they still have a number of play makers on the bench who can go in and keep the game momentum alive. Oklahoma State has a strong starting squad, but lacks in depth. These tournament games are played fast and furious, if Oklahoma State's starting squad tires out, this could become a huge problem for winning this game. Glam Girls chooses Georgia Tech as this game's queen bee!
Remember Dolls, these are all my opinions, and everyone has their own personal strategies when filling out their brackets. Make sure to do your homework before making final bracket decisions. Take into consideration the mentioned scenarios above. I've addressed several game evaluations. Pro/Con lists for teams help immensely as you go further into the tournament bracket system. I've chosen winners based on strength of schedule, depth of team, win-loss records, and past tournament play. Be sure to take all of these into consideration as you finish filling out your westside brackets. We'll look to the east tomorrow! No wicked witches here, only fabulousness!
Stay Lovely,