Being a website based out of New Jersey, earlier this week we took a look at the local talent that will be participating in this years NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Today we take a look at the national picture and try to pick apart the brackets…
The East is one of two loaded brackets. Top seed Ohio State has a very tough road to the Final Four. The top ranked team in the country finds itself in the same region as teams like Villanova, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Syracuse.
First Round Upset Watch: While Villanova over George Mason would not normally be considered much of an upset, the Wildcats have struggled of late and are the No. 9 seed. George Mason is the No.8 seed. I just think ‘Nova is a team that can regroup and if they get hot, can make a deep run.
Top Contenders: Ohio State, Kentucky, North Carolina
Others to watch: Washington, Syracuse, Xavier
Regional Final: Kentucky over North Carolina
Duke earned the No. 1 seed by winning the ACC Tournament, but they have to travel west. This is another loaded region as Duke will find potential opponents Texas, Arizona, Connecticut, and San Diego State very tough to handle. The potential return of point guard Kyrie Irving will be key for the Blue Devils.
First Round Upset Watch: No. 11 Missouri over No. 6 Cincinnati. Cincinnati quietly had a solid season in the Big East. Missouri is a team that had been highly ranked at times this season. The Tigers will give Cincy all they can handle, in fact, more. Tigers move on.
Top Contenders: Duke, Connecticut
Others to Watch: Texas, Arizona, San Diego State
Regional Final: Connecticut over Duke. Something to be said about one of the country’s hottest teams and hottest player, Kemba Walker.
At first glance, the Kansas Jayhawks may have the easiest route to the Final Four. They won’t face a true threat until the regional final when a potential matchup with Notre Dame awaits.
First Round Upset Watch: No. 13 Morehead State over No. 4 Louisville. Louisville has had problems rebounding all year. They are a very athletic group but one that does not have any major inside threat. Morehead State brings Newark native Kenneth Faried and his NCAA rebounding record with them. Faried has the game to dominate the Cardinals inside.
Another First Round Upset Watch: No. 12 Richmond over No. 5 Vanderbilt. Sure Vandy had a very good season with some quality wins. They play solid basketball as a team. Richmond is very dangerous however. They run, they shoot, they play defense. Go with the Spiders!
Top Contenders: Kansas
Others to Watch: Notre Dame
Regional Final: Kansas over Notre Dame
The Pittsburgh Panthers are one of the country’s most complete teams. The pressure of the Big East may land squarely on Pitt’s shoulders. The Panthers have never reached the Final Four under head coach Jamie Dixon. They have the favorable region this year.
First Round Upset Watch: No. 13 Belmont over No. 4 Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Badgers have not played well of late and like to control the pace of a game. Belmont will not allow them to do that. They are a team that loves to get out and run and run until the final whistle. To much for the Badgers.
Top Contenders: Pittsburgh, Florida
Others to Watch: BYU
Regional Final: Pittsburgh over Florida
Kentucky, Connecticut, Kansas, Pittsburgh