March Madness 2k7

Toughest Bracket: East
North Carolina might have to face (9)Michigan State, (4)Texas, and (2)Georgetown to reach the Final Four. Out of the #1 seeds, I think that the Heels have the toughest road to the Final Four. Texas, with Kevin Durant, and Georgetown, with Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert, have the talent to run through the bracket.

Easiest Bracket: South
Out of the #1 seeds, I think Ohio State has the easiest road to the Final Four. The Buckeyes might have to face (9)Xavier (Head Coach Thad Matta’s former team), (4)UVA/(5)Tennessee, (2) Memphis / (3)Texas A&M. I think that the Buckeyes are a lock for the Elite 8, and should easily mow over their Elite 8 opponent en route to the Final Four.

Darkhorses:
Midwest – (4)Maryland
Before the first round loss to Miami in the ACC Tournament, Maryland was one of the hottest teams in the league. They have an excellent Head Coach in Gary Williams; proven leaders in DJ Strawberry, Mike Jones, and Ikene Ibekwe; and talent/athleticism with James Gist and Greivis Vasquez. Maryland could match up well with (1)Florida; however, if they don’t show up against (13)Davidson (and Dell Curry’s son Stephen Curry) they could get sent home early.

West – (6)Duke
Duke is Duke. With Coach K at the helm the Blue Devils are always capable of making a tournament run. Duke has reached the Sweet 16 in each of the past 9 tournaments, and they have the talent (McRoberts, Paulus, Scheyer, Nelson) to challenge (3)Pittsburgh, (2)UCLA, and (1)Kansas. However, just like Maryland, Duke is coming off a poor ACC tournament and a 3 game losing streak. If they don’t show up against (11) VCU the Blue Devils could see their miserable season come to an end.

East – (4) Texas
Freshman Kevin Durant is the best player in the country, and when he’s on the floor Texas always has a chance to win. Durant poses a matchup problem with just about every team they face, however, he’ll need other people on the Longhorns squad to step up. Texas had Kansas on the ropes earlier today in the BIG 12 Championship, and they’re peaking at the right time. A potential matchup versus (1) UNC’s Brandan Wright must have NBA scouts salivating. The Longhorns might be the only team in the country that can run with the up-temp Tar Heels.

South – (3) Texas A&M
Acie Law is the best player you’ve never heard of, and the Aggies were very close to being a #2 seed. Texas A&M went 25-6 during the season, and they lost to LSU, UCLA, Texas Tech (2), Texas, and Oklahoma State. Law’s scoring and team’s excellence defense could help the Aggies beat (6)Louisville, (2)Memphis, and (1)Ohio State.

Potential First Round Upsets:
Midwest
(4)Maryland vs. (13)Davidson
(5)Butler vs. (12)Old Dominion
(6)Notre Dame vs. (11) Winthrop

West
(5)Virginia Tech vs. (12)Illinois
(6)Duke vs. (11)VCU

East
(6)Vanderbilt vs. (11)George Washington

South
(4)Virginia vs. (13)Albany

Potential Cinderellas:
Winthrop – The Eagles compiled a 28-4 record during the season, and their losses were to UNC, Maryland, Texas A&M, and Wisconsin. Winthrop is the popular Cinderella pick, but they’ve proven that they can hang with the “big boys.” I saw them play UNC early in the season, and I think they have the experience and athleticism to make a Sweet 16 run.

Albany – Albany would have to beat UVA and Tennessee to reach the Sweet 16. I like Albany because both UVA and Tennessee have struggled in past tournaments, and in recent years Albany has proven to be a “pesky foe” in the tournament.

My favorite to win is North Carolina, but I need to dissect the teams before I can make my official picks. UNC, Florida, Kansas, and Ohio State have been playing very well as of late; however, there has never been a tournament where all of the #1 seeds have made the Final Four.

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