The 2011 NCAA Tournament "What If?" Bracket: Cinderellas Galore
Yup, it's that time of year again. It's the time when you either win or go home. It's the time when legends are born. It's the time when Bracketologists cash in. And, most importantly, it's the time when Cinderellas emerge.
We all know that not every David can beat Goliath, but there are some that some upsets are very possible. I have compiled my Tournament predictions chock-full of realistic upsets (I don't consider a 16-sed beating a 1-seed likely). Let's get started!
East Region Opening Round
Ohio State takes care of UTSA easily, though it would be sweet to see the biggest upset in Tournament history. The Buckeyes advance to take on the Cinderella-happy George Mason Patriots. Clemson will get their first top-50 RPI win over the Mountaineers of West Virginia and will take on upstart Princeton, who just beat inexperienced Kentucky.
Moving to the lower half of the region, Marquette will knock off Xavier to face Syracuse who will end Indiana State's season (if Indiana State still had Larry Bird, this might be a different story). Flexing their SEC muscles, Georgia upsets the Pac-10 Champs, Washington, and move on to face UNC, who will coast by LIU.
East Region Road to the Final Four
Ohio State proves to be too much for George Mason and wins by a narrow margin. They square off against bracket-busting Princeton, who beat stunned Clemson. Marquette shoots their way to a victory over the 'Cuse and move on to entertain the Bulldogs of Georgia, who use their athleticism to knock off over-seeded UNC.
Which team has the best shot at the Final Four
Princeton shocks the world and wins in a thriller over Ohio State behind hot shooting. They win a chance to play Georgia, who will overpower Marquette inside. In the match-up for the Final Four, the geeks beat the SEC squad and Princeton is going to the Finals Four.
West Region Opening Round
Duke sends Hampton home and continue their title quest against inconsistent yet talented Tennessee will have beaten Michigan. Karma gets to Arizona as former Arizona player and Assistant Coach, Josh Pastner, leads his Memphis squad over Arizona. Keith Benson out-hustles Texas in a win by Oakland to earn them a date with Memphis.
Mizzou beats overrated Cincy, while UConn continues their hot streak over Bucknell. Talor Battle proves to be the best player on the court in Penn State's win over Temple, and they advance to play San Diego State in Round Two.
West Region Road to the Final Four
Tennessee beats Duke just like they beat Pitt during the regular season. They face Memphis after the Tigers beat Oakland. UConn beats Mizzou while Penn State beats overrated SDSU.
Tennessee escapes past Memphis and face Penn State for a trip to the Final Four. Talor Battle has a huge game in a win over Tennessee, and Penn State is going to the Final Four.
Southwest Region Opening Round
Kansas beats up on Boston U. while UNLV advances past Illinois. Richmond and Morhead State square off after wins over Vandy and Louisville, respectively. VCU builds off a play-in game win to beat Georgetown and face Purdue, who beats St. Peters in a surprisingly close contest. Florida State beats Texas A&M to earn a date with Notre Dame, fresh off of a win over Akron.
Southwest Region Road to the Final Four
UNLV plays like UNLV of old and stuns Kansas to face Keneth Faried and the hungry Morhead State squad. Purdue beats VCU and take on Florida State, who outplay Notre Dame in the paint. For the Final Four, UNLV faces Florida State, and UNLV prevails to advance.
Southeast Region Opening Round
Pitt beats up on N.C. Asheville and faces defending runner-ups Butler, who take down ODU. Under-seeded Utah State face upset-happy Belmont in the second round after they beat Kansas State and Wisconsin, respectively. After beating St. John's, Gonzaga faces BYU, who will have beaten Wofford. And finally, Michigan State will beat UCLA to face Florida, who will have beaten UCSB.
Southeast Region Road to the Final Four
Butler looks hungry for another run at the National Title with a win over Pitt, while Belmont stuns Utah State. Gonzaga beats undermanned BYU to face Izzo-lead Michigan State. Butler beats Belmont by a slim margin while Michigan State advances past Gonzaga. In a rematch of last year's national semi's Michigan State goes to a third straight Final Four behind Tom Izzo's superb coaching.
The Final Four
In a battle between Penn State and Princeton, the smarter teams gets the victory, and Princeton is headed the the National Title game. Michigan State faces former powerhouse UNLV for a shot at Princeton. UNLV turns back the clock and knock off the Spartans to advance.
In the battle of Davids, Princeton shocks the world and does the impossible with a thrilling win over UNLV for the National Title. Sharp-shooter Dan Mavraides takes home the Tournament MVP honors.
Okay, most, if not all of this, will not happen, but didn't you have a fun time reading this? Didn't you think, "What if?" I certainly did.
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