NCAA Bracket 2011 Predictions: A Complete Bracket to Help You Win

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2011

NCAA Bracket 2011 Predictions: A Complete Bracket to Help You Win

0 of 20

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 13:  John 'Big Nut' Peters, fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes holds up a sign which reads 'March Madness' after they won 71-60 against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the championship game of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tou
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    March Madness has arrived and the excitement is at a fever pitch.

    The madness started last week but now it’s time to fill in your office brackets or the ones you do with the family.

    Everyone has their strategies, but it’s far from an exact science.

    This is my complete bracket that could help you settle some of your mental battles.

    (Bolded teams are winners.)

First Round: Playing to Get In

1 of 20

    GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 12:  Milton Jennings #24 of the Clemson Tigers shoots against Justin Watts #24 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half in the semifinals of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 1
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    No. 16 Alabama State vs. No. 16 Texas-San Antonio

    No. 12 UAB vs. No. 12 Clemson

    No. 11 USC vs. No. 11 VCU

    No. 16 UNC Asheville vs. No. 16 Arkansas-Little Rock

    Now that the tournament has expanded to 68 teams, the first round will consist of four games that will decide the last four into the traditional 64-team bracket.

    This is where all of the discussion of snubs came in with Colorado, Harvard and Virginia Tech missing the tournament in favor of teams like VCU and UAB.

    Now it's on to the real first round!

Second Round: East Pt. I

2 of 20

    NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  Maalik Wayns #2 of the Villanova Wildcats dribbles the ball against the South Florida Bulls during the first round of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden o
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 16 Alabama State

    No. 8 George Mason vs. No. 9 Villanova

    No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 12 Clemson

    No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Princeton

    While Ohio State, West Virginia and Kentucky are favorites, these games could be tough for these high-ranked teams.

    The upset of this set is Villanova. The team is on a bad slide but head coach Jay Wright can get his guys to play big when they need too.

Second Round: East Pt. II

3 of 20

    SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 25:  Brian Walsh #3 of the Xavier Musketeers reacts after being defeated by the Kansas State Wildcats during the west regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Energy Solutions Arena on March 25, 2010 in
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    No. 6 Xavier vs. No. 11 Marquette

    No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 14 Indiana State

    No. 7 Washington vs. No. 10 Georgia

    No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 15 LIU

    While I don’t have any upsets in this bracket, that doesn’t mean these teams don’t have a chance.

    The two teams most likely to upset the favorite are Marquette and Georgia. Both teams are built well and they will give their opposition fits.

    I feel Marquette would be closer to an upset than Georgia.

Second Round: West Pt. I

4 of 20

    ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Scotty Hopson #32 of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts during their 74 to 85 loss to the Florida Gators in the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Ke
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    No. 1 Duke vs. No. 16 Hampton

    No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 9 Tennessee

    No. 5 Arizona vs. No. 12 Memphis

    No. 4 Texas vs. No. 13 Oakland

    Another bracket with not a ton of upsets. This season just doesn’t feel like a wild upset season but that never stopped it from being wild before.

    While Tennessee is a slight upset, I think Memphis and Oakland have a good chance against their opponents. Both teams play to their opponents' weaknesses and an upset by either team wouldn’t be that big of a stretch.

Second Round: West Pt. II

5 of 20

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 18: Scootie Randall #33 of the Temple Owls drives for a shot attempt against Aksel Bolin #32 of the Northern Illinois Huskies at the Liacouras Center on December 18, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Chambers/
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    No. 6 Cincinnati vs. No. 11 Missouri

    No. 3 UConn vs. No. 14 Bucknell

    No. 7 Temple vs. No. 10 Penn State

    No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 15 North Colorado

    I can hear it already, people telling me I picked nothing but favorites and slight underdogs.

    Each team I picked is better than their opponent but I think they all will win. The biggest possible shocker could be Penn State taking down in-state rival Temple.

Second Round: Southwest Pt. I

6 of 20

    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 11:  Oscar Bellfield #0 of the UNLV Rebels looks to pass during a semifinal game of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball tournament against the San Diego State Aztecs at the Thomas & Mack Center March 11, 2011 in Las Vegas,
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Boston University

    No. 8 UNLV vs. No. 9 Illinois

    No. 5 Vanderbilt vs. No. 12 Richmond

    No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 13 Morehead State

    To be honest, Illinois has been bad down the stretch and I feel the only team that has a legitimate shot at an upset is Richmond.

    I do not believe there will be any upsets, though.

Second Round: Southwest Pt. II

7 of 20

    GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 11:  Terrance Shannon #15 of the Florida State Seminoles shoots against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the quarterfinals of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 11, 2011 in Greensboro, North Caro
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    No. 6 Georgetown vs. No. 11 USC

    No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Saint Peter's

    No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Florida State

    No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 15 Akron

    Look, an upset!

    One of the few second-round upsets I picked. Florida State matches up well against Texas A&M and could easily hand them a loss.

    USC has a good chance of taking down Georgetown but I think the Hoyas' experience will carry them on.

Second Round: Southeast Pt. I

8 of 20

    CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 9: Shelvin Mack #1 and Matt Howard #54 of the Butler Bulldogs come off the floor during a timeout in the game against the Xavier Musketeers at Cintas Center on December 9, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Xavier defeated Butler 51-49. (
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 16 Arkansas-Little Rock

    No. 8 Butler vs. No. 9 Old Dominion

    No. 5 Kansas State vs. No. 12 Utah State

    No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 Belmont

    Butler was the Cinderella of last year’s tournament and the Bulldogs look to try to make another splash this season.

    Some pundits at ESPN are taking Belmont over Wisconsin but I just don’t see it. Belmont is good but I don’t know if they are good enough to go on.

Second Round: Southeast Pt. II

9 of 20

    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 30:  D.J. Kennedy #1 of the St. John's Red Storm is fouled by Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils  at Madison Square Garden on January 30, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    No. 6 St. John’s vs. No. 11 Gonzaga

    No. 3 BYU vs. No. 14 Wofford

    No. 7 UCLA vs. No. 10 Michigan State

    No. 2 Florida vs. No. 15 UCSB

    While St. John's had a solid run this season, I believe the loss of D.J. Kennedy is too much for the Red Storm to overcome.

    I think Florida could possibly be a big upset but I think the Gators will get out of the second round.

Third Round: East

10 of 20

    NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Darryl Bryant #25 of the West Virginia Mountaineers dribbles passed Dwight Buycks #23 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second round of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters a
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Villanova

    No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 4 Kentucky

    No. 6 Xavier vs. No. 3 Syracuse

    No. 7 Washington vs. No. 2 North Carolina

    It seems like the trend of favorites winning continues into the third round but we have one blip on the upset radar.

    While North Carolina has been playing solid, Washington is a solid team that can get under the Tar Heels' skin and steal a victory.

Third Round: West

11 of 20

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:  Jesse Perry #33 of the Arizona Wildcats shoots over Justin Holiday #22 of the Washington Huskies in the second half in the championship game of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on Marc
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    No. 1 Duke vs. No. 9 Tennessee

    No. 5 Arizona vs. No. 4 Texas

    No. 6 Cincinnati vs. No. 3 UConn

    No. 7 Temple vs. No. 2 San Diego State

    While this is one of the strongest divisions on the bracket, it is not exempt from upsets.

    Duke, UConn and San Diego State are going to move past their opponents but I believe Arizona will upset Texas.


Third Round: Southwest

12 of 20

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11:  E'Twaun Moore #33 of the Purdue Boilermakers looks on dejected against the Michigan State Spartans during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2011 in Indianapol
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 UNLV

    No. 5 Vanderbilt vs. No. 4 Louisville

    No. 6 Georgetown vs. No. 3 Purdue

    No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 2 Notre Dame

    Kansas looks too strong to lose to UNLV, and Notre Dame looks strong as well.

    If Louisville and Vanderbilt meet in the third round, it will be a war.

    My upset of this division will be Georgetown beating the injured Purdue Boilermakers.

Third Round: Southeast

13 of 20

    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10:  Jacob Pullen #0 of the Kansas State Wildcats looks to move the ball against the Colorado Buffaloes during their quarterfinal game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2011 in
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 8 Butler

    No. 5 Kansas State vs. No. 4 Wisconsin

    No. 11 Gonzaga vs. No. 3 BYU

    No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Florida

    While the obvious favorites Pittsburgh and BYU will move on with little resistance, both Michigan State and Kansas State will upset their opponents.

    Florida is overrated, and something about Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans teams helps them win in the tournament.

    K-State is good and Jacob Pullen will help the Wildcats pull out the victory.

Sweet 16: East

14 of 20

    ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13:  The Kentucky Wildcats bench reacts during their game against the Florida Gators in the championship game of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 13, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty I
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Kentucky

    No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 7 Washington

    This round is always my favorite because you start weeding out the teams that shouldn’t be there.

    Ohio State will have a test in Kentucky but I think the Buckeyes will pass.

    Washington will give Syracuse a hard game but I don’t think the Huskies can finish the Orange off.

Sweet 16: West

15 of 20

    NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies speaks with head coach Jim Calhoun during the championship of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    No. 1 Duke vs. No. 5 Arizona

    No. 3 UConn vs. No. 2 San Diego State

    While the Arizona-Duke game will be great, the best game of the Sweet 16 could be San Diego State against UConn. 

    While UConn may be the hottest team in the nation right now, having to win five games in five days may have cost the Huskies some serious stamina.

Sweet 16: Southwest

16 of 20

    NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals brings the ball up court against Eric Atkins #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish  during the semifinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfit
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Louisville

    No. 6 Georgetown vs. No. 2 Notre Dame

    While I didn’t pick any upsets, this could be the set of games that sees two underdogs win.

    Notre Dame is tough but a Georgetown team could try to shut down the Irish's three-point shooting.

    Louisville is a tough out for any team, even the Kansas Jayhawks.

Sweet 16: Southeast

17 of 20

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 12:  Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans walks off the court after they lost 61-48 against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the semifinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on M
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Kansas State

    No. 3 BYU vs. No. 10 Michigan State

    I think BYU will roll over Michigan State but I think that Pittsburgh will have trouble with K-State.

    Kansas State comes to play every game and they will not lie down for a Pittsburgh team that can be exposed.

    I think Pitt's defense is strong enough to stop Kansas State; be on upset alert.

Elite Eight

18 of 20

    NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Ben Hansbrough #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on during a timeout against the Louisville Cardinals during the semifinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madiso
    Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

    East

    No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Syracuse

    Syracuse is one of the best teams in the nation but Ohio State has too many weapons.


    West

    No. 1 Duke vs. No. 2 San Diego State

    The Cinderella story comes to a halt for San Diego State when Duke shows its true colors and runs through the Aztecs like a freight train.


    Southwest

    No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 Notre Dame

    Kansas will out-shoot a shooting team in Notre Dame. This won't be as close as people think.


    Southeast

    No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 3 BYU

    I think BYU is too strong and Pitt's defense can't handle Jimmer.

Final Four

19 of 20

    GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 13:  Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts as teammate Kyrie Irving #1 and the bench cheer him on during the second half of the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the championship game of the 2011 ACC men's baske
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 1 Duke

    No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 3 BYU

    While Duke has the pedigree to win it all, it just seems like Ohio State has all the tools to beat a squad like Duke.

    Kansas is arguably the best team in the nation, but my notion for this bracket is to ride the Jimmer train.

National Championship

20 of 20

    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 12:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young University Cougars gets away from Billy White #32 of the San Diego State Aztecs during the championship game of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball tournament at the Thomas & M
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 3 BYU

    I think Jimmer Fredette takes the national championship and makes it his personal showcase.

    I think he takes Ohio State’s defense and rains all over the Buckeyes with big shots. While Sullinger will be a tough stop, Fredette will score over 40 points to help BYU win it all.

    Whether I am right or not, I can predict it will be a wild ride.