Since I know Kyle and Mike are giving you in-depth looks at each game, I’m going to take a slightly different approach. I’ll give you my top five trap picks and my top five best upset picks for the Round of 64.
Top Five Trap Picks (Don’t make ‘em)
VCU over UCLA— I love Eric Maynor’s point-guard skills as much as anyone, but let’s be serious. Darren Collison has been to three Final 4s. He just wins games and Ben Howland’s crew wins this one by 10+.
BC over USC—I always thought Al Skinner was slightly overrated, even during the years he roamed the Big East sidelines. Tyrese Rice is extremely talented, but I’m not sure that the Eagles’ wings and posts can hang with Demar Derozan and Taj Gibson. Tim Floyd’s team is just too athletic.
Temple over Arizona St.—For those of you making this pick, why? Seriously, really, why? Dionte Christmas is good, I get that. But A-10 vs. Pac-10 and Christmas versus one of my favorite players in the nation in James Harden—those both swing the momentum in the favor of the Sun Devils. The Owls will get blown out here.
Butler over LSU—Marcus Thornton may be the best scorer in the country that nobody knows about down in the Bayou. I know they ran things in a very weak SEC, but I’ve had enough of the obsession with Butler. Coach Brad Stevens has done an awesome job there and he looks like he’s 20 years old in the process. The Bulldogs took a hit with the loss to Gary Waters and his Cleveland St. crew and will keep this game close. Too much Thornton though…
Wisconsin over Florida St.—The Badgers are probably one of the top three least-deserving teams of a bid in this field and now they’re a trendy upset pick? I don’t get the rationale other than the fact that Bo Ryan finds a way to get it done. Toney Douglas at FSU is a prolific offensive threat and he will single-handedly beat Wisconsin.
Top 5 Upset Picks (Roll with ‘em)
Western Kentucky over Illinois—This WKU team knows how to pull upsets… they bounced Drake from last year’s Big Dance. Illinois will most likely be without superstar point guard Chester Frazier… hurting the chances of an already mediocre team that scored 33 against Penn St. in a game this year.
Maryland over Cal—Greivis Vasquez (pictured) can score in so many different ways and I’m not 100 percent convinced that Gary Williams has let the game pass him by yet. It pains me to bet against Mike Montgomery and his offensive brilliance, but I think that the Terps have what it takes.
Arizona over Utah—Don’t worry about what the pundits are saying—about how Utah was strong in a tough Mountain West, about how they beat LSU by 30, etc… Arizona can score in bunches. I like Chase Budinger and Jordan “Double-Double Machine” Hill to bring the Wildcats through to the Round of 32.
Tennessee over Oklahoma St.—This is purely a by-seed upset. Bruce Pearl’s team has so much talent with Wayne Chism, Tyler Smith and Scotty Hopson. They can light it up from deep, but must limit the stupid mistakes that cost them in the SEC title game against Mississippi St. Pearl’s late-game management was atrocious. A hobbled Byron Eaton tries to keep the Cowboys in it but can’t find a way…
Cleveland St. over Wake Forest—I’m not taking it in my bracket because I’m a wimp, but this is certainly possible for Mr. Waters. St. John’s transfer Cedric Jackson is coupled with hard-nosed post J’Nathan Bullock. Don’t sleep on the Vikings, but I’m worried about the Demon Deacons ability to score, hence why this is my least confident pick.
Enjoy the start of the Madness. I know I will.