Indiana got a pretty great draw despite not being the number 1 overall seed. Miami is one of the weakest 2 seeds in my opinion, and other teams come in riding lows like Syracuse. I expect Indiana to roll through this region, but let’s take a look at some of the best storylines and possible matchups.
Butler vs. Bucknell- Coming into the tournament, I had Bucknell coined as one of my upset specials along with Belmont and Akron. Unfortunately for them, they got a tough draw. Something about two mid majors playing gives Bucknell a disadvantage, especially because Butler has been there before. If Bucknell was playing anyone else, I probably would put them through, but it should still be one of the best 1st round games.
Syracuse- They lost several games at the end of the season, almost lost to Seton Hall in their first Big East Tourney game, but ended up coming within a half of the conference title. There is so much upside that I could see them getting all the way to the final four, but if MCW makes bad decisions and Southerland misses a few threes, they are vulnerable against Montana. They are hard to pick for a bracket, so I have them losing to Indiana.
Brandon Paul- One of my favorite players in the tournament, and one of the players that can carry his team farther than they should go. A future Miami matchup will be interesting, but I think if they keep it close they can pull it out. Paul has a good chance to bring his team to the Elite 8.
NC State vs. Indiana- I feel bad for the wolf pack. They are one of those teams that underachieved, but have the talent and (maybe) the heart to pull off some upsets. But NC State’s power is offense, not defense. Unfortunately Indiana is the best offensive team in the country. If Indiana loses it will be because they were defended well, not outplayed on offense. NC State won’t believe they can win that game, and they wont.
Marquette- Lots of people have been picking Davidson to beat them, and that is a pretty sexy pick. I’m not biting. Marquette’s defense is an above average Big East defense and they have a few scoring outlets, especially Vander Blue. I just don’t think they are the type of team to have an off game to a bad Davidson team. Don’t believe the hype.
I just want to take a minute to give some of my bold predictions for the rest of the tournament. My final four is Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgetown, and Indiana. OSU beats Indiana for the title. I sincerely think one of the one seeds will lose in the second round. I have UNC beating Kansas in my bracket, but there are lots of possibilities. As for Pitt, I think they will beat Wichita State, and the Gonzaga game will be interesting. Gonzaga thrives on offense and Pitt will be the best defensive team they play all season, but too many people are picking it and I’m not sure how much I like it. My other big picks are OK State over Louisville, Illinois over Miami, and VCU in the elite 8. My bracket on espn is called thisisit and my username is cobbfay1234 if you’d like to see. Remember to join thesportsfloor group too. Enjoy.