bracketology breakdown: cardinals, jayhawks, hoosiers and zags…oh my!

NCAA_FinalFourLogoOnce Indiana fans get over the disappointment of not locking down the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, they’ll quickly realize it’s probably for the best. Louisville may be the overall No. 1 team in the tournament, but they also have one of the toughest roads to the Final Four. Look at the top four seeds in the Midwest Region:
* Louisville
* Duke
* Michigan State
* Saint Louis

Three of those teams are championship caliber programs every year.

Hoosiers Begrudgingly Decamped East
The East Region, where the Hoosiers will be playing, is no slouch. Indiana, Miami, New Mexico and Syracuse are competitive, but Syracuse has a propensity to lose very winnable games. Then again, same goes for Indiana and Miami. Steve Alford’s Lobos could be the dark horse in this region.

Rock Choke Chalk JayHawk
Even though I thought Duke was a No. 1 seed, I can’t argue with Kansas earning the top seed in the South Region. They seem to be completely over whatever was ailing them in the middle of the season and are poised to dominate this bracket. For my money, Florida is the least deserving No. 3 seed in the field. They won the SEC regular season—and lost to Ole Miss in the postseason tournament—in a very, very weak year for the SEC.

Zags Already on Upset Watch
If you want a possible major upset, look to the West Region. Gonzaga has a very tough road ahead of them, with Ohio State, Marquette and Kansas State looming. I don’t think we’ll see a No. 1 seed fall to a No. 16 this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pitt or Wichita State take out the Zags.

In the end, I correctly picked 10 of the top seeds:
No. 1 – 3/4
No. 2 – 3/4
No. 3 – 2/4
No. 4 – 2/4

I would’ve been perfect on the top two lines, but I felt Duke still deserved No. 1 over Kansas. I still think Syracuse and Kansas State deserve higher seedings over Florida.

I had 15 of the same 16 teams as the selection committee. The only difference: I gave Memphis a No. 4 seed over Marquette because the Tigers won both their regular season and conference tournaments. Why would I do that? Because, unlike the committee, I do not view the Big East through a romantic prism that allows me to believe a third-place Big East team is better than a top-ranked team that wins both its regular season and tournament championships.

If I’m going to give Gonzaga a No. 1 seed—and that is still a very weak No. 1 seed—I can’t discard a Memphis team that has a similar resume as the Zags. Unlike the committee, I was consistent.


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