Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sports: College Basketball (NCAA Tournament)

With the first game of the First Four looming, it's time for me to write out my NCAA bracket. In this post, I'll predict the winner of each region so that I have my final four. I'll also predict a winner but I plan on doing another post highlighting the actual final four teams and pick a winner from that selection before I recap the final three games of the tournament. This year I filled out more brackets than usual but I have one bracket that I'll use for this blog.

After the first two rounds, my bracket is already busted but that's the enjoyment and excitement of March Madness. Three of my final four are gone meaning I only have one pick left, fortunately that is my champion pick in Kentucky, but they have a tough road ahead. 

East
First Round
Villanova is the top seed in this region and my pick to win it. They should beat the winner of the first game tonight. In this bracket, I'm choosing Mt. St. Mary's to top New Orleans but I have no idea. Villanova will face Wisconsin after the Badgers beat Virginia Tech. Below them, Virginia will top UNC Wilmington and Florida should put away East Tennessee State. I've got SMU over USC who will beat Providence in a game tomorrow. I'm picking Baylor over New Mexico State, South Carolina over Marquette and Duke over Troy. 
Second Round
In the second round, I think Villanova will beat Wisconsin, Florida tops Virginia, Baylor eliminated SMU and Duke gets past South Carolina. 
Sweet Sixteen
My sweet sixteen matchups in East are Villanova vs Florida and Baylor vs Duke. I think Villanova will beat the Gators mostly because I'm making up for completely being taken off guard by the Wildcats last year. Duke impressed me in the ACC tournament so I think they'll beat the Bears.  
Elite Eight
Duke will face Villanova in the Elite Eight but I think the Blue Devils will lose here ending their tournament run.
Final Four
The Villanova Wildcats are my pick to represent the East.
First Round
I didn't get off to such a bad start with this round in the East. I only missed one with USC coming from the First Four and upsetting SMU. 
Second Round
This round totally blew my bracket out of the water with Villanova being upset by 8 seed Wisconsin and Duke to 7 seed South Carolina. I did have Baylor and Florida. 
Sweet Sixteen
With two of my Sweet Sixteen picks active, I did not do well predicting but as I had now seen the teams, I was going for a SEC sweep. I didn't think South Carolina had the chance but their dominant defense shut down Baylor. Florida played an overtime thriller with a final millisecond three saving the game to guarantee an SEC team in the Final Four. 

West
First Round
In the West, Gonzaga is the leader but I've made some strange picks in this region. I did pick the Bulldogs to beat S. Dakota St. and have them facing Northwester who will beat Vanderbilt. Below, I have Notre Dame beating Princeton and facing West Virgina who eliminated Bucknell. Maryland beats Xavier avoiding an upset and Florida State beats its fellow Florida school the Florida Gulf Coast. Finally, St. Mary's will beat VCU and Arizona will top North Dakota.
Second Round
In the second round, I have Gonzaga beating first timer Northwestern and Notre Dame beating West Virginia. I have Maryland losing to Florida Stat and Arizona beating St. Mary's. 
Sweet Sixteen
My two matchup in the West are Gonzaga beating Notre Dame the Seminoles beating the Wildcats.
Elite Eight
Finally, I'm predicting an upset when FSU beats Gonzaga to represent the West Region and the ACC in the Final Four
Final Four
The Florida State Seminoles are my Final Four pick for the West Region.
First Round
Another region that I did well with, at first, only one miss from Xavier beating Maryland. 
Second Round
This round brought the end of FSU's run to Xavier, the killer in my bracket and Notre Dame also went down to West Virginia. Now that my top pick is gone, I'm looking toward Gonzaga.
Sweet Sixteen
Gonzaga took down West Virginia and Xavier played the late game to win over Arizona. I had Gonzaga getting this far and my second pick of Xavier worked out alright. 


Midwest
First Round
The Midwest is a little more conventional for my picks. Kansas the number one seed should top UC Davis, my First Four pick. I also have Miami avoiding a close upset against Michigan State. I'm picking Iowa State to beat Nevada and face Purdue who will beat Vermont. I'm taking Creighton over Rhode Island and Oregon over Iona. In the last part of the Midwest bracket, I'm picking Michigan against Oklahoma State and Louisville over Jacksonville State.
Second Round
I'm taking one seed Kansas to beat Miami. I think Iowa St. will lose to Purdue. I am expecting Oregon to take down Creighton and face Louisville who will knock off Michigan.
Sweet Sixteen
Kansas should be able to handle Big Ten regular season leader Purdue and Louisville will take down Oregon. 
Elite Eight
Louisville versus Oregon would be a great matchup if it happens. I think that the Cardinals will be the second team from the ACC to make it past the Elite Eight.
Final Four
The Louisville Cardinals are my pick to represent the Midwest in the Final Four.

First Round
The worst of my first round picks with Miami losing to Michigan State and Creighton being upset by Rhode Island. 
Second Round
I only missed one pick from this round in the Midwest but it's that big red bird from Louisville so my whole bracket has red on it in the top right.
Sweet Sixteen
I had Kansas making it this far, actually topping Purdue too, which was a blowout. Oregon was not my pick at all but Michigan's run could not take them through a leader in the PAC-12. 


South
First Round 
The South is the region where my home team the Kentucky Wildcats are playing so, of course, I'm picking them to go all the way because of my bias. They'll beat Northern Kentucky and a face Wichita State who will upset Dayton. I have UCLA facing Cincinnati after the Bruins beat Kent State and Bearcats beat Kansas State, who I think will win in the First Four. A Middle Tennessee upset destroyed my bracket so I'm not letting that happen again with a win over Minnesota. I've also got Winthrop upsetting Butler. UNC should beat Texas Southern and Arkansas could be Seton Hall.
Second Round
I have North Carolina topping Arkansas and the strange matchup between Middle Tennessee and Winthrop going to Mid. Tennessee. I'm taking UCLA over Cincinnati for a rematch against Kentucky after the Wildcats beat Wichita State.
Sweet Sixteen
The Tar Heels should take out the Blue Raiders and Kentucky will redeem themselves against UCLA.
Elite Eight
A match between the 1 and 2 seed would be fun, especially if Kentucky upset North Carolina.
Final Four
The Kentucky Wildcats will represent the South and the Southeastern Conference in the Final Four.
First Round
I didn't do so bad with only Butler beating Winthrop, shouldn't have gone for that upset.
Second Round
My only miss here came from Butler continuing their run when I had them out a round early. UNC, UCLA, and UK all remain for the next round.
Sweet Sixteen
These picks are actually good for me. While I didn't have Butler, I did have UNC going all the way to the Elite Eight and they proved it with a blowout. This section of the bracket is flawless for me so far and I'm riding Kentucky all the way to the Final Four if at all possible after their showed up and did well against UCLA. 

I let this bracket get away from me but it was one of many that I'll be monitoring as the games play out. I killed the hour before the first game writing out this bracket so now I'll get to watch the First Four.
My picks for the final four will result in a Villanova versus Florida State game and a rivalry match between Kentucky and Lousville. I have Kentucky beating Lousiville to face Villanova for a Wildcat finale. I'm definitely pick the University of Kentucky to win it all in this bracket.

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