Tuesday, March 16, 2010
NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
March Madness is in full swing as the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament gets rolling on Thursday.
The four regional top seeds include Kansas (Midwest Region), Kentucky (East Region), Duke (South Region) and Syracuse (West Region) as they seek to get to the Final Four in Indianapolis on April 3 and 5 for the National Semi-Finals and NCAA Championship Game.
Kansas (32-2) is the number-one team in the land and will attempt to win it's second title in three years in what is easily the toughest region to get through.
The Jayhawks will have number-two seed Ohio State (27-7) to contend with as well as surging Georgetown (23-10) from the Big East, which is college basketball's top conference in the nation.
Maryland, an ACC team, went 23-8 in the season and is primed for a run in the tourney. Another possible speed bump for Kansas is Michigan State, which shared the Big Ten season regular season title with Ohio State and Purdue. The Spartans (24-8) made the run all the way to the NCAA Championship Game last year before losing to North Carolina.
In the South, Duke (29-5) seems to have the easiest road to the Final Four. Villanova (24-7) is the number-two seed from the Big East, but they have been slumping late in the regular season and need to get it in gear if they want to get back for a second straight Final Four appearance.
Number three seed Baylor (25-7) is a contender as is another Big 12 team, Texas A & M (23-9). Purdue (27-5) is entering the tourney without their star player Robbie Hummel and will face a stiff test in their opener against Siena.
The West Region has Syracuse (28-4) as the top seed and the Orange was the Big East regular season champion. They will face some rugged competition as Pitt (24-8), Kansas State (26-7), Vanderbilt (24-8), Xavier (24-8) and Butler (28-4) all are headed West as well. In fact, the Butler Bulldogs boast the nation's longest winning streak at 20 games entering the tournament.
The East Region features the Kentucky Wildcats (32-2) and star player John Wall as the top seed and the 'Cats are hungry to get back to the top spot since their last championship back in 1998.
However, they will also have stiff competition in West Virginia (27-6), fresh off it's Big East tournament championship win over Georgetown in a thriller.
Number-three seeded New Mexico is a team at 29-4 that not a lot of people are familiar with simply because they play out West and generally late at night where not many of their games are viewable on television.
The Lobos will look to prove they belong at number-three as will Wisconsin at number-four. The Badgers (23-8) limp into the tournament after being eliminated by Illinois in their first Big Ten tournament game.
Temple (29-5), Marquette (22-11) and perhaps Texas (24-9), which was a pre-season number two team, loom as dark horses to emerge from this region and get to Indy for the Final Four.
There are always surprises as the tournament unfolds and this should prove no different again this year.
It's wide open folks!
There is NO dominant team like North Carolina was a year ago as they steamrolled to the championship.
The picks here are for Kentucky to beat West Virginia in the East; Villanova to beat Duke in the South; Georgetown to "shock" Kansas in the Midwest and Syracuse to knock off Xavier in the West.
Yes, that's right... three BIG EAST teams advancing to the Final Four along with Kentucky.
In the Championship Game, the call is Kentucky over Syracuse.
Let the games begin.