It's been too long, but I've been uninspired lately. Looks like March Madness came along at the perfect time!
So I figured I'd share my picks, and my reasons of them. I'll start with the first round today. ACTUAL OUTCOME IN ORANGE UNDER ORIGINAL PREDICTION
Let's start with the East.
Carolina is clearly the class of the field, but Tennessee could give them a run for their money.
(1)UNC over (16) Mt. St. Mary's -- I really don't think I even need to explain this one. Plus, a 16 seed has NEVER beat a 1 seed. UNC by 20
APPARENTLY I WASN'T GIVING NORTH CAROLINA ENOUGH CREDIT -- 39 POINT WIN
(9) Arkansas over (8) Indiana -- I'm a sucker for 8 over 9, I can't really explain it. Plus Arkansas plays in a tougher division, IMO. It will be a close one, but I'm taking the Razorbacks by 7
I WENT 2-FOR-4 ON MY 9 OVER 8 SELECTIONS! INDIANA TOOK A TAILSPIN AFTER THE LOSS OF COACH SAMPSON. EASY WIN BY THE PIGS - 86-72.
(5) Notre Dame over (12) George Mason -- two years ago GM stunned the world and made the Final Four. George Mason will NOT be this year's George Mason... ha. Notre Dame played a tough Big East schedule, and probably would have gone undefeated in Mason's CAA. Irish by 10.
RIGHT ON THE OUTCOME - ND BY 18
(4) Wash State over (13) Winthrop -- Washington State played in arguably the strongest conference this year, and Winthrop never makes much noise. Wash State by 6.
RIGHT ON THE WINNER, WAY OFF ON THE SCORE - WSU BY 31
(11) St Joe's over (6) Oklahoma -- Oklahoma isn't coming into the tourney on a good note, and though this looks like an upset pick, many Vegas boards have St Joe's as the favorite. They'll take it to the Sooners and win by 11.
OFF ON THIS ONE... I THINK THE SOONERS HAD THE OLD "NO ONE THINKS WE CAN WIN!" CHIP ON THEIR SHOULDER, AND TOOK THE GAME 72-64
(3) Louisville over (14) Boise State -- Rick Pitino coaches a good college team, and they will walkover the Boise State Broncos in the first round. Boise State put together a good little season at 25-8, but they didn't face the same game-in-game-out pressure of a Big East schedule like Louisville. Cards by 14
RIGHT ON. L'VILLE WON BY 18
(10) South Alabama over (7) Butler -- for one reason, and one reason only - the game is in Birmingham. Butler is a decent team, worthy of a 7 seed, but they couldn't have gotten a worse 10 to play than the scrappy South Alabama squad playing in their own state. It will be close, but the crowd with make the difference in this one, and S. Bama will take it by 4.
APPARENTLY THE CROWD WASN'T ON S. BAMA'S SIDE. BUTLER ROLLED TO A 20 POINT WIN.
(2) Tennessee over (15) American -- Tennessee is a strong squad, American has never been in the Big Dance. Looks like a massacre to me, UT by 20.
I WASN'T OFF BY MUCH ... TENNESSE WINS BY 15, 72-57
Again, there are two teams that are the class of the field, Kansas and Georgetown, but they won't have an easy road.
(1) Kansas over (16) Portland State -- just looking at this makes me laugh. Poor Portland State. Jayhawks by 21
COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MUCH CLOSER -- KU WINS BY 24
(9) Kent State over (8) UNLV -- I told you I'm a sucker for 9 over 8. UNLV won their tourney - again- at home - again, but Kent State is a strong team and will win for the first NCAA tourney game in 6 years. Too bad they face Kansas in the second round.
OUCH, WRONG! UNLV HANDED IT TO KENT STATE, 71-58
(5) Clemson over (12) Villanova -- Clemson is on a roll, Villanova is young and inexperienced. Tigers by 9.
WRONG WRONG WRONG. NOVA HAS BEEN THE SUPRISE OF THE TOURNAMENT SO FA, IMO. THEY DEFEATED THE RED-HOT TIGERS BY 14
(4) Vanderbilt over Siena (13) -- Siena is quick and many think that Vanderbilt is overrated... but I can't forget the Commodore's win over Tennessee, who is not only an in-state rival, but was also, at the time, the #1 team in the land. Siena could keep it close, but Vandy's schedule will help them and they'll pull away at the end to win by 6.
OUCH! I AT LEAST AM COMFORTED BY THE FACT THAT NOOO ONEE PICKED SIENA OVER VANDY. COMMODORE'S CHOKE AGAIN, AND SIENA SAILS TO A 11 POINT VICTORY.
(11) Kansas State over (6) USC -- My potential bracket buster. Battle of the frosh, with Trojan OJ Mayo taking on rookie of the year Michael Beasley. I think Beasley has the Kevin Durant-esque willpower to take it to a good team in a big game, and I think he leads his team into the second round. K State by 6, with Beasley putting up over 30.
MY FAVORITE PICK OF THE FIRST ROUND - A BIT OFF ON THE SCORING, KSU WON BY 13, WITH BEASLEY SCORING 23
(3) Wisconsin over (14) Cal-State Fullerton -- Won't even be a game. Badgers by 17.
RIGHT ON - WISCONSIN WON BY 15
(10) Davidson over (7) Gonzaga -- the Zags won't get me this year. A "risky" pick, and probably an unpopular one, but I CAN NOT go for Gonzaga again until they win a big game. Davidson by 4.
I WAS SO RIGHT ABOUT THIS ONE IT KILLS ME... DAVIDSON PULLS THE "UPSET" YOURS TRULY CALLED WITH A 6-POINT WIN, 82-76.
(2) Georgetown over (15) UMBC -- As a Boston University grad, I should go for the America East school... but as a BU grad, I'm also no dummy. Georgetown in a rout.
DUH. GU SAILED IN THE FIRST ROUND BY 19... DIDN'T LAST LONG THOUGH.
Memphis is #1, but they have probably with toughest bracket, with the liklihood of facing red-hot Pitt in the Sweet 16, and, if they somehow get beyond that, Texas and DJ Augustin in the Elite Eight.
(1) Memphis over (16) Texas- Arlington -- Any D1 school with a city name after the state doesn't stand a chance, with the exception on UCLA. Look it up. Memphis by 16
SPOT-ON. MEMPHIS BY 14
(9) Oregon over (8) Mississippi State -- I again went with 9 over 8. This was the toughest, but I think Oregon was underrated in a tough Pac-10. It will be close, but I give it to the Ducks by 5.
I WAS DRAWN IN BY 9 OVER 8, AND THIS ONE WAS OFF. MISS STATE WON 76-69
(5) Michigan State over (12) Temple -- Temple has two good players - and that's it. MSU is a good team, and will exploit the Owl's weaknesses, lowpost, and win by 9.
RIGHT ON AGAIN -- MICHIGAN STATE WON BY 11
(4) Pittsbugh over (13) Oral Roberts --A team with a person's name doesn't stand a chance in the NCAA tournament. Pitt shocked the NCAA world by defeating Georgetown for the Big East title, and are probably the hottest team in college bball. Pitt by 15
RIGHT -- PITT WON 82-63
(6) Marquette over (11) Kentucky -- Kentucky shouldn't have even made the tournament. An experienced Marquette squad will take it by 11.
ANOTHER FAVORITE PICK... A THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE BLINDED BY THE MYSTIQUE THAT IS KENTUCKY, BUT AS I SAID THEY SUCK THIS YEAR AND LOST BY 8.
(3) Stanford over (14) Cornell -- Battle of the smarty-pants will be taken by the "a little less" smarty-pants, ie the school that can give scholarships. Stanford by 13.
RIGHT ON THE WINNER, A BIT OFF ON THE SCORE - STANFORD TOOK IT BY 24
(10) St. Mary's over (7) Miami -- The Hurricane's are one giant question mark, while St. Mary's is battle-tested. They advance to the second round for a tough rematch against Texas, where they will lose - again.
HOW VERY WRONG I WAS... THERE WILL BE NO TEXAS-ST MARY'S REMATCH, AS MIAMI TOOK IT TO THEM WITH A SOUND 78-64 WIN. CONGRATS MIAMI, NOW YOU GET TO TAKE ON THE LONGHORNS.
(2) Texas over (15) Austin Peay -- I wouldn't even know where Austin Peay was if I hadn't met a friend at Fort Belvoir who was stationed at Fort Campbell and went to Austin Peay (it's in Clarksville, Tennessee). That said, I will reiterate - a team with a person's name doesn't stand a chance in the NCAA tournament. Plus, Texas is nasty. Horns by 15.
TEXAS BY 20
UCLA is my pick to take it all.
(1) UCLA over (16) Mississippi Valley State -- unless it's a major state school (ie Penn State, Ohio State), they don't stand a chance in a D1 tourney. Kevin Love and co. will glide into the second round with a 24-point rout.
COME ON, OF COURSE I GOT THIS ONE - BUT EVEN 24 POINTS WASN'T GIVING UCLA ENOUGH CREDIT (OR GIVING TOO MUCH TO MISSISSIPPI VALLEY ) - MY PICK TO TAKE IT ALL WON BY 41
(9) Texas A&M over (8) BYU -- I picked every 9 over 8, I don't know why I do that. But I do know I have more faith (ironically) in A&M than BYU. I dunno, Mormon's just don't seem that tough to me, and you know those boys from Texas are. Aggies by 8.
I WENT 1-FOR-2 ON 9 OVER 8 ON DAY ONE, WITH THE AGGIES WINNING BY 5
(12) Western Kentucky over (5) Drake -- Why? Call it a hunch. Drake is overrated, coming from a mid-major, and the Hilltoppers will exploit their lack of experience with a 6 point victory.
GOOD PICK. GREATTT GAME. WKU IN A 2-POINT OT WIN.
(4) UConn over (13) San Diego -- Is there even any doubt? Come on. What's up. Huskies by 12.
SHOCK OF THE FIRST ROUND, RUINING THOUSANDS OF BRACKETS. SAN DIEGO BY 1 IN THE CLOSING SECONDS.
(11) Baylor over (6) Purdue -- Call me a sucker, but I love me a feel-good story. The Bears are playing on emotion, and Purdue's best players are underclassmen. Baylor by 4.
OUCH, PRETTY OFF ON THIS ONE... I LET MY EMOTIONS GET THE MOST OF ME. PURDUE HANDILY BEAT BAYLOR 90-79
(3) Xavier over (14) Georgia -- As a resident of the peach state I'd love to pick the Bulldogs, and I have to admit their unexpected SEC tourney win was shocking, especially by winning 3 games in less than 30 hours. But the buck stops here for the Dawgs, cause Xavier is better than the SEC. Xavier by 9.
CORRECT - GEORGIA STARTED OFF STRONG, BUT COULDNT KEEP UP THE INTENSITY. XAVIER TOOK OVER IN THE SECOND HALD TO WIN BY 12
(10) Arizona over (7) West Virginia -- BEST GAME OF THE FIRST ROUND, bar none. I went back-and-forth on this game about 8 times, no joke. The teams have played evenly all year, but if Zona is at full-capacity, they are better than the Mountaineers. Look for this team to make a nice little run. 'Cats by 4.
WRONG - THIS COULD BE THE GAME THAT COSTS ME. WVU TOOK IT BY 10. I HAD ARIZONA GOING TO THE ELITE EIGHT, OUCH.
(2) Duke over (15) Belmont - I hate Duke, but even I couldn't take them to lose this one. Devils by 13.
RIGHT - BELMONT MADE IT VERY INTERESTING, WITH A 1 POINT LEAD WITH SECOND ON THE CLOCK... BUT THE DUKE EXPERIENCE WON OVER, AND THE DEVILS WON BY THE SLIMMEST OF MARGIANS - 71-70.