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

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2011

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

0 of 20

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.