Perfect NCAA Tournament Picks

Perfect NCAA Tournament Picks
Mar 15, 2006, 01:10 pm
It’s late in the week, and your NCAA tournament brackets are sloppier than Tara Reid. Your team of consultants includes every print and internet pundit on the face of the earth, your friends, your shrink, and your Magic 8 Ball. Looking for direction in these troubling times can be tough on all of us, but luckily, readers now have an ace up their sleeve: me. It’s time to get paid, so dive into your office pool and let me be your water wings. Here are all the NCAA Tournament winners, round by round until the nets are cut down.

Atlanta Region

Round 1: Duke, UNC Wilmington, Texas A&M, LSU, WVU, Iowa, Cal, Texas
No big surprises here, save Texas A&M, who will send the Orange packing in a horribly ugly game. I’m pretty sure Gerry MacNamara’s deal with the Devil only covered him through the Big East Tournament, and Jim Boeheim is the only other guy on the Syracuse bench who can hit a shot from outside of 12 feet. What saddens me isn’t that G-Mac’s career will come to a crashing halt with an upset loss, but that no one has the heart to tell him that his Crayola Crayon chin-strap beard isn’t fooling the public any more.

Round 2: Duke, LSU, WVU, Texas
Sorry Iowa, you’ve been Pittsnogled. The over under on how many times the announcers mention Kevin’s wife and newborn son, Kwincy, during this game is 897,375,780.

Round 3: Duke, Texas
No points for originality here, these two teams are favorites for a reason. LSU doesn’t have a quality win since January, and Duke will expose Glen Davis as more of a Baby Oliver Miller than a Baby Shaq. The Texas-West Virginia game will be an absolute classic, but WVU has no answer for the Longhorns inside, where P.J. Tucker and Brad Buckman will out-rebound the entire Mountaineer team.

Bracket Winner: Duke
Coach K is a leader who happens to coach basketball. He is also a leader who happens to have led his team into Austin earlier this season and embarrassed Texas worse than Vince Young’s Wonderlic test score. Everyone is scared to pick the Blue Devils because of Greg Paulus’s shaky point guard play, but Dockery is a steady replacement if the freshman loses his head, and the Texas backcourt isn’t good enough defensively to exploit Duke’s biggest weakness.

Oakland Region

Round 1: Memphis, Bucknell, Pitt, Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga, Marquette, UCLA
You would think, after all this time, that Oral Roberts University would just change its name to Roberts. The “Oral sucks” chant has to be the lowest hanging fruit on the taunting tree. Of course, we at are too classy to pick at such fruit, but Memphis fans will sing it loud and proud after they go up 20 in the first half.

Round 2: Memphis, Kansas, Indiana, UCLA
Since Mike Davis resigned, his team has been playing like a house afire, which leads me to their upset of the Zags, which will happen for 2 reasons. First, they’ll get ball pressure on Derek Raivio, who wants no part of physical tournament play because he has the body of a 14 year old. Second, Davis is no dummy, so he’ll get himself ejected early in the game to ensure that he can’t sabotage the Hoosiers as they get into crunch time. If the Hoosiers can block everything out, including the coach’s directions, they should win by at least 10.

Round 3: Kansas, UCLA
This just in, Kansas is for real. Their freshmen aren’t freshmen anymore and they’ve got no weaknesses on either side of the ball. When they won the Big 12 Tournament, Bill Self didn’t crack a smile, because he knows how good they are. Rush’s draft stock is going to be so high after the Sweet 16, he might skip the rest of the tournament.

Bracket Winner: UCLA
Picking against myself here, because I didn’t like UCLA’s backcourt chemistry a month ago. I still don’t like it, but they don’t have to leave the state of California to get to the Final Four, and home court advantage matters as the pressure builds.

Washington, D.C. Region

Round 1: UConn, Kentucky, Utah State, Illinois, Michigan State, UNC, Seton Hall, Tennessee
I’ve never understood why 16 seeds don’t forfeit their games. Albany had a landmark win in their conference tournament, and if I were them, I’d want to skip the game against UConn and end the season on a high note. So take the trip to D.C., go see the monuments, and call it a weekend.
Also of note, George Mason’s best player is suspended for their first round game against Michigan State for punching an opponent in the testicles. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Round 2: UConn, Illinois, Michigan State, Tennessee
Two of college basketball’s great truths emerge here. First, it doesn’t matter who or where Michigan State plays, they’re going to the Sweet 16. Second, it doesn’t matter what Bruce Pearl’s suit is made of, he’s going to sweat right through it. You could get NASA to come to the Tennessee campus and personally outfit Pearl in some anti-matter full body invisible cloak; he’d wear it out like a piece of tissue paper.

Round 3: UConn, Michigan State
This is the round that Rudy Gay wakes up and realizes that sleepwalking through these games might actually be hurting his draft stock. Illinois has a bunch of tough, savvy players who concentrate on defense, but there is no answer for Gay when he decides to turn it on.

Bracket Winner: UConn
Poor Paul Davis. Going up against Boone and Armstrong all night can’t be good for his chronic depression and anxiety. It also can’t be good for his draft stock, and NBA scouts will notice a lot of Curtis Borchardt in his game when he’s matched up with athletes his size. As talented as UConn is, this season should be considered a failure if they don’t make it to the Final Four.

Minneapolis Region

Round 1: Villanova, Arizona, Nevada, BC, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgetown, Ohio State
The biggest bone I have to pick with the committee isn’t Utah State, or Air Force, which somehow snuck at large in despite playing in dreadful conferences. Arizona getting an 8 seed is without question, the most outrageous development of the college basketball season. The Wildcats were 19-12 overall and 6-6 in their last 12. They beat one ranked opponent all year, and that win was in December. An 8 seed?! Preposterous! They threw their best defender off the team and then reinstated him when Lute Olson realized he couldn’t beat Oregon or Oregon State without Rodgers’s help. I hope Wisconsin beats the ‘Cats to a bloody, overrated pulp, and the committee stops rewarding programs for past glory. Unfortunately, it won’t happen.

Round 2: Villanova, BC, Florida, Ohio State
Hate the players, not the game. It’s no fun picking the top four seeds to go to the Sweet 16, but I just don’t see anyone matching up with the talent on these four rosters. If they were in different regions, these teams could all end up in Indianapolis.

Round 3: BC, Florida
The more Billy Donovan’s hairline recedes, the more I like the job he’s done with Florida this year. Green and Noah have clearly emerged as money players who bring it every night, and the rest of the team knows their roles and plays to win. I don’t know how he did it, but Donovan made the basketball Gators more relevant than the football Gators, which is the equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of one of Steve Spurrier’s old visor.

Bracket Winner: BC
BC is the best road/neutral site team in the country, and Al Skinner recruits second tier prospects who play with a huge collective chip on their shoulder. The Eagles are going to turn this game into a wrestling match, and in a wrestling match, I’ll take Craig “Twisted Steel” Smith over Joakim “The Pony Tail” Noah any day of the week.

Final Four Winners: Duke; UConn

Once UCLA leaves California and the stands at their games are filled with noticeably fewer aspiring models and actresses, the Bruins will forget what they’re playing for: attention from chicks. With nothing but basketball to motivate them, Ben Howland’s defense-first tactics will seem less and less appealing with every heartbreaking contested jumper J.J. Redick nails, and Afflalo and Farmar will forget about the game and start daydreaming about the homecoming party in Westwood during the second half. Can’t blame them.
UConn vs. Boston College is going to be an absolute war, but I just think the Huskies will shoot it a little better when it counts. This will be the type of game that reminds Al Skinner why he was happy to leave the Big East, and reminds Jim Calhoun why he recruits first and worries about coaching later. Talent counts, and blue chip prospects beat leftovers.

Champions: UConn

Congratulations to the Huskies! I’ve already covered all the reasons UConn is better than the rest, talent, depth, coaching, etc. So let me leave you all with this: If your picks are wrong, you will have lost your money for no reason. If my picks are wrong, I will have lost your money for no reason. This burden, I can bear, so lean on me.

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