This is my fourth year writing one of these little NCAA region breakdowns. And in these four years of writing, I’ve yet to create something witty, creative, funny or remotely close to accurate.
However, I have to have learned something from covering four years of Mountain West Conference basketball, right?
So, without further ado, here it goes.
After filling out my bracket, I predicted 10 first-round upsets. Oddly enough, the region I was assigned, the West one, was also the one in which I had nearly half of my first-round upsets. For one, No. 10 Penn State should beat No. 7 Temple. I know, Penn State is awful and has 13 losses and doesn’t even have 20 wins in its regular season. But how can a Big 10 team not beat an Atlantic 10 that couldn’t even win its conference tournament?
I’ve also predictedTennessee beating Michigan, Missouri beating Cincinnati and lastly, Memphis beating Arizona (because I have no respect for the Pac-10).
Can a three seed be a bracket buster?
Yes. Because I don’t have anybody else.
Connecticut did the unthinkable last week, playing five games in five days and winning the world’s toughest NCAA college basketball conference tournament (the Big East.) Junior guard Kemba Walker went absolutely bananas and the team showed why it was ranked in the Top 15 for most of the season. If the Huskies have enough Gatorade left in their water coolers, I could see them upsetting No. 2 SDSU, then No. 1 Duke and making a Final Four run.
PLAYER TO WATCH
This bracket features two National Player of the Year candidates and one surefire Top 20 pick in next year’s NBA Draft. Duke’s Nolan Smith, UConn’s Walker and SDSU’s Kawhi Leonard should, and will have to, dazzle in this tournament if their squads want to make a run. The guy that the world, and more importantly fans of this bracket, should really pay to see in person is Walker, though. He averages nearly 24 points per game, more than four assists per game and 5.3 rebounds per game. He’s basically Jimmer Fredette, only on a Big East squad.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
With all of that being said, I would cut off a portion of my right toe to have the opportunity to cover an SDSU-Duke game at the Honda Center in Anaheim next week. I’ve blasted the Dukies on Twitter all year, saying they were overrated because of program prestige. Well, the Aztecs would finally have a chance to prove me right if the two schools met in the Elite Eight.
And if that matchup never comes to fruition, at least give me SDSU versus Connecticut. Watching Billy White guard Fredette and then Walker in a two week span would make my head spin with awesomeness.