Monday, March 16, 2009

Bracket Breakdown

Now that everybody has had about 24 hours to digest the brackets and listen to the talking heads at ESPN and every other network, it's time for me to take my shot at swaying you to alter your bracket and utterly destroying any hope you had at winning any sort of prize (note: we do not condone gambling here at thebigbeastnj). But here comes a region-by-region breakdown of the first round anyway:


No.1 Louisville vs. No.16 Alabama St./Morehead St.
– The rout will be on early as the Cardinals are too athletic for either of these minnows. The Pick: Louisville 94 Alabama St. 58

No.8 Ohio St. vs. No.9 Siena – The Buckeyes got to the Big Ten finals so they come in with a little bit of momentum, but nothing they have done this season has been overly spectacular. Siena blindsided Vanderbilt last year and played a tough non-conference schedule although they didn’t win any of those games. Kenny Hasbrouck averages 14.8 points per game and three other Saints average in double figures. Hasbrouck will be the difference as Siena advances. The Pick: Siena 68 Ohio State 62

No.4 Wake Forest vs. No.13 Cleveland St. –
Gary Waters makes his first tourney appearance with the Vikings and they will keep it close against an athletic Wake squad, but Geoff Teague will be too much down the stretch. The Pick: Wake Forest 73 Cleveland St. 62

No.5 Utah vs. No.12 Arizona – So Arizona gets in as one of the final teams included and they are a dangerous twelve seed. But the Utes won a very tough Mountain West and have showed up in big games. They beat Gonzaga and LSU (by 30). Picking Arizona looks appetizing, but Utah is going to win this game. The Pick: Utah 75 Arizona 63

No.6 West Virginia vs. No.11 Dayton –
This is an extremely intriguing game because the Flyers have shown brilliance this year, beating a full-strength Marquette, but they backed into the tourney losing four of their last seven. WVU looked good at the BET and Devin Ebanks is star in the making. The Mountaineers will get it done in a close grind-it-out game. The Pick: West Virginia 64 Dayton 58

No.3 Kansas vs. No.14 North Dakota St. – NDSU is led by guard Ben Woodside who scored 60 points in a triple overtime game earlier this year. Mr. 60, as he’s known in Bison territory will keep it close in the first half, but the Jayhawks just have too much talent and will overwhelm the Bison in the second half. The Pick: Kansas 77 North Dakota St. 60

No.7 Boston College vs. No.10 USC – This game is a toss-up. The Eagles have shown they can beat good teams and the Trojans have momentum after playing their way in by winning the Pac 10 tourney. Go with the higher seed. The Pick: Boston College 76 USC 73

No.2 Michigan St. vs. No.15 Robert Morris – Remember how ole’ Sparty lobbied for a number one seed then got clobbered by Ohio St. in the Big Ten semis. MSU is where they belong on the two line and Tom Izzo’s club will beat-up on the Northeast Conference champions. The Pick: Michigan St. 79 Robert Morris 59


No.1 Connecticut vs. No.16 Chattanooga – The last time UConn was a one seed in the west region they won a national title. The last time UConn was a one seed and opened play in Philly they almost lost to No.16 Albany. Jim Calhoun won’t let that happen again. The Pick: Connecticut 81 Chattanooga 63

No.8 BYU vs. No.9 Texas A&M – I can’t seem to place why this sounds so familiar – oh, wait they met in this same exact matchup last year with the Aggies winning. The Cougars want revenge and will get it thanks to Lee Cummard, one of the best players you’ve never heard of. The Pick: BYU 63 Texas A&M 61

No.5 Purdue vs. No.12 Northern Iowa – The Big Ten champs have a lot of momentum and they will need Robbie Hummel to shoot the ball well if they want to get far. The Missouri Valley champs will be a tough first round game, but the Boilers should have enough to avoid the upset.
The Pick: Purdue 61 Northern Iowa 56

No.4 Washington vs. No.13 Mississippi St. – Talk about on a roll and just look at the Bulldogs who played their way in by winning the SEC tourney. Jarvis Vernardo is a beast inside, but so in the Huskies’ Jon Brockman who averages 14.9 points per game. People haven’t got to see a lot of Washington because they play on the west coast, but U-Dub is really good. The Pick: Washington 74 Mississippi St. 65

No.6 Marquette vs. No.11 Utah St. – The Golden Eagles have a clipped wing without superstar Dominick James, but they showed a lot of heart coming back against Villanova in the BET, and Buzz Williams crew will be good for a win here against an Aggies team that has a very inflated 30 wins. The Pick: Marquette 72 Utah St. 61

No.3 Missouri vs. No.14 Cornell –
It took Mike Anderson and his ’40 minutes of Hell’ just three seasons to bring the Tigers back from the dead and with all their athleticism they are primed for a deep tourney run. The Pick: Missouri 87 Cornell 62

No.7 Californ
ia vs. No.10 Maryland – Cal is another team we don’t know a lot about because they are on the west coast, but they do have very good guard play with Jerome Randle who averages 18.4 points per game. The Terps will counter with Greivis Vasquez, a guy who loves to make big shots. He will make one in this game to lift Maryland into round two. The Pick: Maryland 73 California 72

No.2 Memphis vs. No.15 Cal-State Northridge – Too big, too long, too athletic. Tigers roll. The Pick: Memphis 80 CS Northridge 55

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