2011 NCAA Tournament Preview

Hooray, the NCAA Tournament is here!

Another year of brackets, another year of getting my brackets “blowed up” by an upset or several.

Here is my breakdown of each region:

East Region

Top four seeds:

  1. Ohio State
  2. UNC
  3. Syracuse
  4. Kentucky

Dark horse: West Virginia

ANAL-ysis: This is the mother of all the regions.  What a reward for the top overall seed Ohio State!  If it survives its second round match-up with Villanova, it gets to face West Virginia or SEC champ Kentucky in the Sweet 16.  However, I think Ohio State is truly the best team in college basketball, and will prove me right in winning the East.

West Region

Top four seeds:

  1. Duke
  2. San Diego State
  3. UConn
  4. Texas

Dark horse: Texas

ANAL-ysis: Texas is the only team in this region that has a chance of preventing Duke from making the Final Four.  It’s maddening because Texas is so talented on paper, but you never know from its inconsistent play and at times bizarre coaching.  UConn  is too much of a one-man team to make any noise in the tournament.  Kemba Walker is a beast, but who else on UConn scares teams?  Plus, UConn will be worn out from its Big East tourney run (five games in five days).  San Diego State is just too green tournament wise to make a serious run.  Look for Duke to come out on top in the West.

Southwest Region

Top four seeds:

  1. Kansas
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Purdue
  4. Louisville

Dark horse: Purdue

ANAL-ysis: Purdue and Notre Dame have the potential to make some noise in this region.  The problem is that one will lose to the other in the Sweet 16.  I’ve seen enough of Louisville not to take them seriously.  In fact, I’ll be surprised if it got past Richmond in the second round.  None of that matters in the end because Kansas is just too strong and too good.

Southeast Region

Top four seeds:

  1. Pittsburgh
  2. Florida
  3. BYU
  4. Wisconsin

Dark horses: Butler, Kansas State, Old Dominion

ANAL-ysis: This is the weakest region.  Pitt should have a clear path to get to the Final Four – except Butler will put them out of its misery in the second round.  In fact, I have Butler winning this region.  Yeah, I said it!  Butler is very experienced (they were last year’s runners-up), and will come back hungrier than before.  Butler will not be intimidated by Pitt.  I mean, aside from Kansas State and Old Dominion, is there a team that could measure up to Butler’s experience and moxie?  And should we take Florida seriously (really?)?  As much as I like to see Kansas State coach Frank Martin scream his way into the Final Four, Butler should come out on top.

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