Virginia is the #1 seed in the South bracket. Last year they became the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed. These guys will be taking the court with a vengeance, or one would assume. This year, their first round game should be a slam dunk. Virginia still has a top notch defense, but this year they have added a pretty good offense to go with it. #2 Tennessee should easily dispose of Colgate. The rest of the games in this bracket aren’t exactly easy picks. Sure, there may be a blowout or 2, but some of the lower seeds here can play well.
Ole Miss vs Oklahoma is a game that I would have thought would be played in the NIT. However, they face off in the first round of the tournament. Wisconsin vs Oregon gives us 2 teams in slightly down years who can still beat some top teams on any given day. This game will be a good one. Kansas State vs UC Irvine is one where I’ve seen people saying an upset could happen. I think KSU pulls away late.
Villanova vs Saint Mary’s and Purdue vs Old Dominion are 2 games that will more than likely be closer than they should be. Villanova is better than Saint Mary’s, but Villanova has looked lazy at times this season. Purdue has a strong inside presence, but if they leave ODU’s sharpshooters open, they could get caught. Purdue needs to play their game and not get drawn into Old Dominion’s game plan.
That brings us to the Iowa Hawkeyes vs my beloved Cincinnati Bearcats……..with a coach I don’t care for. UC is favored by 4 points at the moment. Here’s the catch though; they have often been favored in March under Mick Cronin. We all know the results. Cronin is 10-16 lifetime in the tournament. That’s the exact opposite of impressive. Until yesterday with their win over Houston, they didn’t have a quality win all season. I get it, they play in a weak conference. They still lost to teams that could have boosted their resume. Ohio State, Mississippi State, and 2 regular season losses to Houston. They split with UCF, which, before yesterday, was their best win of the season. To say I have no confidence in them beating Iowa is an understatement.
My feeling is that Tennessee comes out of this bracket and into the Final Four. I could also see Virginia or Kansas State making it out. The South bracket is going to be a blast to watch. I doubt we’ll see all chalk here. With all of this unfolding in a matter of days, we have a short time to break these games down and pick our winners. Choose wisely and good luck on your bets and brackets.