Wednesday, February 28, 2007

March Madness in February, Part III 

Continuing the grand tradition, here are my predictions for the 65-team NCAA field:

Vermont (23-6); East Tennessee State (21-8); Pittsburgh (25-5); Georgetown (22-6); Louisville (21-8); Notre Dame (22-6); Syracuse (21-8); Marquette (22-8); West Virginia (20-8); Winthrop (26-4); Kansas (26-4); Texas A & M (24-4); Texas (21-7); Texas Tech (18-11); Virginia Commonwealth (24-6); Old Dominion (24-7); Drexel (22-7); Butler (26-5); Penn (19-8); Akron (22-6); Delaware St. (15-12); Brigham Young (22-7); UNLV (23-6); Air Force (23-7); Austin Peay (20-10); Bucknell (20-8); Appalachian State (24-6); Mississippi Valley (15-14); Gonzaga (21-10); North Carolina (24-5); Virginia Tech (20-8); Virginia (19-8); Boston College (19-9); Duke (22-7); Maryland (22-7); Massachussetts (21-7); Xavier (21-7); Weber State (18-11); Ohio State (26-3); Wisconsin (26-4); Illinois (21-9); Indiana (18-9); Michigan State 21-9); Long Beach State (20-7); Memphis (25-3); Marist (23-7); Oral Roberts (20-10); Southern Illinois (25-5); Creighton (19-10); Central Connecticut State (19-11); UCLA (25-3); Washington State (23-5); USC (21-8); Oregon (22-7); Arizona (18-9); Florida (25-5); Vanderbilt (19-9); Tennessee (21-9); Kentucky (19-9); Sam Houston State (20-9); Western Kentucky (21-10); Nevada (26-2); Wright State (21-9); Davidson (26-4); Bradley (20-11)

Last Team In - Davidson
Last Team Out - Villanova

A little wishful thinking here, hoping the NCAA will recognize how much better the tournament is with the unpredictability provided by quality mid-major schools, and give bids to 2nd and 3rd place teams in those conferences as opposed to the ninth place finisher in the Big East or whoever finishes seventh in the Big 10. Personally, I'd rather see teams like Wright State and Drexel given a shot ahead of Villanova, Purdue, or Alabama, which have all had fairly pedestrian records in power conferences. I even tried to be responsible, giving the Missouri Valley only 3 bids (Missouri State and Bradley both rate a shot, but I think three is the limit for the Valley, and the Braves are hotter right now.)

If you must take BCS conference also-rans, the NCAA should at least make them participate in the play-in game. Why not have, say Oklahoma State vs. Stanford in the play-in game, winner gets a 12 seed and a date with, say Maryland, as opposed to having Sam Houston State and Mississippi Valley play a game nobody's going to watch two days before the winner gets killed by UCLA.

There's about seven or eight teams that are legitimate shots to win it all, and another five or six dark horses that wouldn't surprise me a ton. Let's say Wisconsin over North Carolina in the finals.

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