Thursday, March 16, 2006

March Madness: "B" Day

I don't have a clever name for today like I do tomorrow (St. Bracket's Day), but it's common knowledge that today is easily one of the best days of the year. At 12:20, the Shockers and Pirates - yes, nary a Wildcat or Tiger to be seen - tip off the 2006 NCAA Tournament, and after much deliberation and bracket-moving, my Final Four:


Connecticut, because they're supremely talented, have a great coach and don't face a team that can truly beat them until the Elite Eight potentially.

Confidence Level: 95%


Villanova, because guard play is the most important thing in the tournament. I don't believe in BC, and by the time the bottom half of the bracket sorts itself out, they might be playing Winthrop or Wichita State.

Confidence Level: 80%


There's been three constants in every bracket I fill out: Huskies, Wildcats and Jayhawks, so I'm taking Kansas for my man, Pete Winter, who handled their loss to Bucknell last season like only a real man could. They've got a tough draw with Pitt in the second round and then Memphis and UCLA/Gonzaga/Marquette, but they're capable of beating all of those teams soundly. They're young, but considering the trauma the Bison caused them last year, that's probably not a bad thing.

Confidence Level: 68%


The bracket I can't decide on. Having a Duke/Texas Elite Eight games seems so very chalkish and so very terrible, as neither team is that good, but the bracket breaks down so well for them. Wilbon picked LSU to the championship game because of their wide bodies down low, something that on its own has never won anybody anything come March. No, Duke will slip by both UNC-Wilmington and LSU, but they won't face the Longhorns. After much deliberation, I'm taking Iowa, who will edge out Southern Illinois (They're good, folks. Real good.) and Texas before knocking off the Blue Devils.

Confidence Level: 40%

Final Four

UConn over Villanova in the rubber match, Kansas over Iowa in a Plains tilt. Championship is UConn over the BabyHawks, 80-74. While the rest of the bracket might be confusing and strange, the championship pick is easy and comforting. 1999, 2004 and 2006. U-C-O-N-N.....

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