March is the worst month of the year, at least if you live in the north east like me. You never know what to wear because there are those days that bring unusual warm weather form time to time. Just when you think spring has arrived, the long and bleak 31 days are filled with cold, bitter rain combined with sleet and the occasional snow instead.
Basketball can be a little comforting before baseball season comes to town. Every year the shenanigans of college basketball make conversations at school and work a little bit more interesting.
This year my final four consists of Louisville, Kansas State, Miami, and Florida. If I’ve taken away anything from past years of bracket experience, it is this: Always pick a decent amount of upsets early and never have more than two number one seeds heading into the final four. Rarely will there be a year of boredom where the favorites go the distance. With that said, don’t be foolish and think that any big name team is safe. After all, Duke almost slipped up against Belmont a few years back, and Kansas lost in the second round to Northern Iowa.
What makes the tourney challenge difficult is the factor of play-in games. This year, 6-seed Memphis will play the winner of Middle Tennessee and St. Mary’s. I would choose St. Mary’s but how can I choose them if they might not even win to play Memphis?
All in all, I think that Louisville should have no problems in their bracket except to face either Oklahoma State or St. Louis. I don’t see teams like Duke, Ohio State, Indiana, or Kansas going very far. And I also don’t expect Gonzaga to even make it to the elite eight just because their resume is very shaky in my opinion. A 31-2 record does not justify the lack of good victories they have had this season. Their conference is not very strong in general so I believe K-State has what it takes to beat them the second time around if they do indeed meet up again. The Wildcats haven’t had much trouble in the Big 12 this year other than playing against their rivals the Jayhawks. So I anticipate this team able to handle Wisconsin or Ole Miss, and if they get past Gonzaga, Iowa State or Ohio State are the only teams that really stand in the way of a path to the final four.
In my mind, Miami has what it takes to win the championship this year. However it will not be an easy road. Butler and Syracuse won’t make it easy for the Hurricanes or the Hoosiers. Not to mention, Davidson, NC State and Cal are teams that could potentially sneak up on people’s bracket choices this year.
Overall it should be an interesting rest of the month. I made sure to pick plenty of upsets early on including South Dakota State over Michigan, Davidson beating Marquette, Harvard over New Mexico, and Valparaiso topping Michigan State.
A lot of talk goes on during March when comparing brackets, but I say live large and take some gambles instead of “playing it safe”. Plenty of the big name schools have played well this year, but anything goes in March and that’s why most of them won’t make it out on top.