2011 NCAA Bracket Pool: Breaking Down The Top Of The West Region
Does Duke Have The Stuff To Win The Loaded East Regional Bracket?
When Duke won the ACC Tournament, the belief was that they would get one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. That did end up being the case, but they were put in arguably the most difficult bracket in the tournament.
Duke is joined by San Diego State, Connecticut and Texas at the top of the region.
Duke could be getting a BIG boost if Kyrie Irving returns for the NCAA tournament. He is a difference-making player for this team, and if he plays they are a National Championship team. He changes the entire complexion of the team on offense and defense, he is that good.
San Diego State is the best team that no one seems to be talking about. They went 32-2 with the two losses coming to one team (BYU). They have been tested by some good teams this year, including BYU, Gonzaga and UNLV. Though they haven't played any of the elite teams, they are more than capable of holding their own with anyone. With Kawhi Leonard and Malcolm Thomas, this team has the inside presence that is so valuable come tournament time.
Connecticut is coming off one of the most improbable runs that we have ever seen. They won five games in five days to win the brutal Big East Conference Tournament. Kemba Walker is a stud, but is the rest of the team good enough to keep up with him? Can they ride the emotional high of winning the Big East, or are they completely spent after that run?
Texas was at one time one of the best teams in the country. They struggled down the stretch, but they still have a lot of talent that can play well in the tournament. They have a tough draw right out of the gate with No. 13 Oakland. If Texas can get by the Golden Grizzlies, they can put together a deep run because of all the speed and quickness that they have.
Ultimately, Duke with Kyrie Irving, assuming he plays, is going to be the class of this bracket. If the Blue Devils are without Irving, they can win the region, but their path becomes a little less clear.
One team to watch out for is No. 9 Tennessee. They underachieved greatly this year, but they are as dangerous as any higher-seeded team in this tournament. If you are looking for a team to surprise, bet on the Volunteers.
Related Story: Download The NCAA Tournament Bracket Here
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