Monday, March 16, 2009

Breaking Down the Bracket (cont.)

Here is the other half of the bracket with thoughts on the first round games (I'm also sure that Mike will disagree with me wholeheartedly so check back for his picks later -- it will make for good talk around the water cooler):


No.1 Pittsburgh vs. No.16 East Tennessee St. --
The Panthers are simply to physical for the Bucs and DeJuan Blair will have a big game inside. The Pick: Pittsburgh 75 East Tennessee St. 51

No.8 Oklahoma St. vs. No.9 Tennessee --
Tennessee is a very dangerous nine seed. If they shoot the ball well from the outside they have a chance to spring a few upsets in this tourney. The Pokes' will provide a tough test, but just too much Wayne Chism and Tyler Smith for OSU to handle. The Pick: Tennessee 78 Oklahoma St. 70

No.5 Florida St. vs. No.12 Wisconsin --
This is all about Tony Douglas. The explosive FSU point guard will be a handful for the Badgers. You can never count out a Bo Ryan coached team, but they just won't have an answer for Douglas. The Pick: Florida St. 75 Wisconsin 67

No.4 Xavier vs. No.13 Portland St. -- Portland actually gets to play this game at home and although the Musketeers sleep walked through the back-end of the A-10 schedule Sean Miller can coach em' up in March and the X-Men are battled tested and will be ready to make another deep tourney run. The Pick: Xavier 67 Portland St. 53

No.6 UCLA vs. No.11 Virginia Commonwealth --
Ben Howland's Bruins have been to three straight final four's, but they will be tested right out of the gate. Eric Maynor is one of the top five point guards in college basketball and Anthony Grant is a rising star in the coaching ranks. The Rams knocked out Duke in a 6-11 game two years ago and Maynor and co. will do it again pulling a major upset in Philly. The Pick: Virginia Commonwealth 74 UCLA 72

No.3 Villanova vs. No.14 American -- Combine Nova' in Philly and Scottie Reynolds (right) and Villanova will be just too much for the Eagles. The Pick: Villanova 83 American 65

No.7 Texas vs. No.10 Minnesota -- The Longhorns have been incredibly inconsistent, but if J.J. Abrams can be effective from three than the Horns' will beat Tubby Smith's Gophers. By the way how great is it to see Smith back in the tourney after being run out of town by Kentucky. And where are the Wildcats? N.I.T. The Pick: Texas 76 Minnesota 69

No.2 Duke vs. No.15 Binghamton -- Binghamton probably deserved better than a 15 seed, but Duke is just two talented for a Bearcats squad that won the America East regular season and tourney titles. The Pick: Duke 72 Binghamton 59


No. 1 North Carolina vs. No.16 Radford --
A 16 has never beaten a one, but Radford...just kidding! The Pick: North Carolina 95 Radford 57

No.8 LSU vs. No.9 Butler --
The Tigers were one of the nation's surprise team's, but Butler has been here before and the LSU players have not. The Bulldogs gut out a close win. The Pick: Butler 71 LSU 67

No.5 Illinois vs. No.12 Western Kentucky --
Illinois point guard Chester Frazier has a band hand and the Illini struggle to score without him. Upset alert here -- the Hilltoppers get it done for the second straight year. The Pick: Western Kentucky 68 Illinois 59

No.4 Gonzaga vs. No.13 Akron --
Another potential upset here as the MAC champs enter having won six of eight, but Josh Heytvelt and Jeremy Pargo will be too much down the stretch as the Zags' avoid another disappointing early exit. The Pick: Gonzaga 72 Akron 66

No.6 Arizona St. vs. No.11 Temple -- Christmas in March. Dionte (left) leaves the Sun Devils with a lump of coal after his three point barrage lifts Fran Dunphey's club into the second round. The Pick: Temple 64 Arizona St. 60

No.3 Syracuse vs. No.13 Stephen F. Austin -- Do the Orange have anything left in the tank? They are bound to throw in a clunker and hopefully it comes against the Lumberjacks because they are still good enough to win this game. The Pick: Syracuse 69 Stephen F. Austin 60

No.7 Clemson vs. No.10 Michigan -- Two clubs that are inconsistent, but could be dangerous if they start firing on all cylinders. It has been a while for the Wolverines and they will use that as motivation to get at least a win here. The Pick: Michigan 69 Clemson 65

No.2 Oklahoma vs. No.15 Morgan St. --
Morgan St. beat Maryland this season, but the Terps didn't have anybody like Blake Griffin. It will be close for a half before the Sooners pull away. The Pick: Oklahoma 81 Morgan St. 64

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