2017 NCAA Tournament Preview

NCAA tournament, arguably my favorite time of the year.  

Even though my brackets will be set ablaze after the second round (again), I am looking forward to the paegentry.  This should be one helluva tournament.

Let’s begin, shall we?…

East Region

Top four seeds:

  1. Villanova
  2. Duke
  3. Baylor
  4. Florida

Dark horse: Virginia 

Analysis: Villanova will have an easy road to the Sweet 16, though Virginia will be there waiting for them.  The Cavaliers lost to the Wildcats at the buzzer on the road earlier this year, so they are not afraid of them. 

Duke is not only red hot, it is healthy.  The way the Blue Devils ran through the ACC Tournament (winning four games in four days), gave me cause to pause.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Duke comes out of this region.  

Region winner: Duke

West Region

Top four seeds:

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Arizona
  3. Florida State
  4. West Virginia 

Dark horse: Notre Dame

Analysis: While Gonzaga is a great story coming from a mid-major conference into being a top seed, the committee didn’t do them any favors in this bracket.  

Notre Dame would be the Zags’ opponent in the Sweet 16.  And guess who would be waiting on them in the Elite 8 should Gonzaga get by the Irish. 

Arizona, the regional winner…

Region winner: Arizona 

Midwest Region

Top four seeds:

  1. Kansas
  2. Louisville 
  3. Oregon
  4. Purdue

Dark horse: Iowa State

Analysis: Kansas has done what is always does every year for a while – dominate the Big 12 in the regular season.  Unfortunately, save for 2005, the Jayhawks have failed to cash all of those 13 straight regular season titles.  

It’s funny that Iowa State is not only in their region, but may be Kansas’ opponent in the Sweet 16.  Purdue, who is a squad full of giants, may be the Jayhawks Sweet 16 opponent as well. 

As for me, I like Louisville.  Something tells me coach Rick Pitino will fire his squad up after pissing away that lead to Duke in the ACC tournament.  

Region winner: Louisville 

South Region

Top four seeds:

  1. North Carolina
  2. Kentucky
  3. UCLA
  4. Butler

Dark horse: Cincinnati 

Analysis: If Gonzaga thinks it got a raw deal in its bracket, it has nothing in what UNC is facing.  Kentucky, UCLA, Butler, AND Cincinnati?!  Damn. 

That said, I still like UNC to come out of this bracket.  The Tar Heels are too deep, too experienced and too good to be denied…

Region winner: UNC (I just threw up in my mouth)

Final Four matchups: Duke over Arizona, UNC over Louisville

2016-2017 NCAA Champion: Duke Blue Devils (God help this NC State alum…)

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