March Madness 2011 Bracket: Southwest Bracket Plays Buster, 10-12 Seeds Advance

Jeff ShullAnalyst IMarch 21, 2011

March Madness 2011 Bracket: Southwest Bracket Plays Buster, 10-12 Seeds Advance

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    If you are like me and are pretty much done because of Pitt losing, you like to see the underdogs start upsetting people the rest of the way and make everyone else suffer.

    Well, the Southwest bracket is not disappointing in terms of excitement.

    According to Stats LLC, this will be the first time that a No. 11 seed and a No. 10 seed will face each other. So, this is obviously the first time the No. 10, 11 and 12 seeds all made it through in one bracket.

    This tournament is crazy. We shouldn't be surprised by things when they happen the first time. It seems as if even the experts never know what they are talking about until the thing is over.

    Let's analyze the three matchups in the Southwest bracket; one that you probably didn't care about, Richmond vs. Morehead St., and the other two, upsets that barely anybody saw coming.

    In case you didn't know, Kansas took care of business and is still alive (thank God).

(12) Richmond 65, (13) Morehead St. 48

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    I don't know if you can see the picture well enough to tell, but I picked Richmond to advance to the Sweet 16, so I was one of the few people who actually had a vested interest in this game.

    If you were lucky enough to join me in that interest, allow me to congratulate you.

    In the matchup of who had the better Harper (Demonte from Morehead St. and Justin from Richmond), it was pretty evident that Richmond won that battle.

    Justin Harper dominated the game from start to finish, and Richmond's early lead was never challenged. The Eagles were never closer than six points behind the Spiders in the second half.

    Kenny Anderson kept the Spiders alive in the Vanderbilt game and eventually took the game over in the final 10 minutes; he contributed 14 points against Morehead St. and played great defense on the perimeter.

    Kenneth Faried collected his 86th double-double, one shy of Tim Duncan's record, but was a relative-non factor in the game, finishing with 11 points and 13 rebounds, which are actually both less than his season averages.

    After playing hero against Louisville with a last-second three-pointer, crushing the hearts of many people in the first two hours of the tournament, Demonte Harper was bottled up and was only 2-of-15 with four points.

    The Eagles just couldn't buy a bucket and finished 18-of-48 (37.5 percent) and 2-of-14 from behind the arc (14.3 percent)

    Richmond was actually a somewhat popular pick to win their first game. They rolled through the Atlantic 10 tournament, which produced three teams in the NCAA tournament and is regarded as the best mid-major conference.

    Not only that, but they have gotten used to playing spoiler, as they are now the only team to win games as a No. 12, 13, 14 and 15 seed.

    If you were one of those few people who picked them to advance to the Sweet 16, you sort of lucked out when Morehead St. beat Louisville, but that's what makes this tournament so great. Anyone can win on any given night, besides, of course, a No.16 seed, which has never happened.

(11) VCU 94, (3) Purdue 76

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    I would like to thank all those ESPN analysts who ripped the Selection Committee for placing VCU in the tournament, calling the decision ridiculous and laughable, in most cases.

    Thanks a lot, guys, you definitely put a chip on their shoulder and they have rolled past their first three opponents.

    I should have stayed loyal to VCU. I picked them in the upset of Duke they had a couple years ago. Unfortunately I got sucked in to the hype of Chris Wright coming back and picked Georgetown to make the Sweet 16, so I had no interest in this game whatsoever.

    That doesn't mean I didn't watch it, but I was not into it as much as I was the other games.

    VCU got whatever they wanted against Purdue and played outstanding on the offensive end, consistently penetrating the Purdue defense to set up open shots.

    Joey Rodriguez looks like one of the best facilitators in the tournament right now and set his teammates up to the tune of 11 assists. He now has 23 assists in their first three games of the tournament.

    Purdue was once again without their consensus best player this season in Robbie Hummel, but they still had E'Twaun Moore and JaJaun Johnson to carry them.

    However, Moore had a poor game and did not play well defensively, consistently getting beat by VCU's perimeter players. The three backcourt starters combined to shoot 60 percent for the Rams.

    Johnson was dominant, scoring 25 points and grabbing 14 boards, but it wasn't enough, as this was a battle of the backcourts, and VCU clearly dominated that aspect of the game.

    This has been a surprise run for VCU by everyone's account. They certainly didn't have the resume of a Colorado or Virginia Tech, but I guess the committee saw what we are now seeing on the court.

    I imagine the chip on their shoulder has helped, but beating your first three opponents by an average margin of 16.33 points is more than just a chip on your shoulder. VCU can hang.

(10) Florida State 71, (2) Notre Dame 57

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    Florida State seems to have been rejuvenated by the return of their Defensive Player of the Year (in the ACC).

    Chris Singleton did not play the final four weeks of the regular season or the ACC tournament, but returned to make an impact against Texas A&M in the first round. FSU beat them by seven in a defensive battle.

    Texas A&M had won their previous five first-round matchups, the only team to accomplish that feat.

    The way they are playing defensively, they could surprise people with a magical run to the Final Four. They proved they can hang with anyone in the country with their upset of Duke during the season, and now by handling a Notre Dame squad that was ranked in the top 10 in the country by 14 points.

    The Seminoles have incredible length inside and rotate as many as five frontcourt players to keep them all fresh so they can dominate the paint defensively.

    Starters Okaro White and Bernard James (filled in for Singleton) are 6'8'' and 6'10'', respectively, and (for now) Singleton and Kreft off the bench are 6'9'' and 7'0'', respectively. Terrence Shannon also plays sparingly, who is 6'9''.

    Their frontcourt is a force on the defense end; they average 6.5 blocks per game and are No. 1 in the country in field-goal percentage defense. They are intimidating on the inside.

    This could be the reason that Notre Dame shot 30 three-pointers, making only seven of them.

    As a team, Notre Dame shot 30.1 percent from the field, a number not uncommonly posted by the Seminoles.

    The Fighting Irish just didn't have what it takes to penetrate FSU's defense. Will VCU be able to stand up to the test?

    We will see. It should be an exciting matchup.