Its time for March Madness. Basketball’s craziest, zaniest, most unpredictable tournament is here! Unlike the NBA, which is pretty predicable based on regular season records and playoff matchups, March Madness always surprises us. These are college kids not professionals so the game is more fluid…teams always have the potential to play inspired basketball and give us an upset special while the favorites are liable to throw out a clunker at any time.
Despite that, people try and predict it every year. Predicting the unpredictable: that’s the fun of it. You can use ESPN Insider, Writer’s Tips, Ken Pomeroy’s famous rankings, computer simulations, the whole nine yards but what you really need to win with your March Madness predictions is a bit of luck. Luck with seeding, luck with your team’s draws, and luck with their performance on the court. Knowing that, here are a few of my own predictions for the 2011 NCAA Tournament:
Prediction 1: Ohio State will defeat Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen and reach the NCAA Championship
Ohio State, the nation’s most mature basketball squad, should cakewalk to the Sweet Sixteen but Kentucky will pose a strong challenge. The Wildcats are the nation’s most talented team and they are peaking at the right time. But if OSU can make it through that gauntlet-and I think they will-they have a good shot of making it to the final game.
Prediction 2: Kansas will reach the National Title Game and defeat Ohio State
Kansas is the most complete team in college basketball right now. The Jayhawks also have the clearest path to the final game: Purdue, Notre Dame, Florida, and Pittsburg are all tough teams but Kansas was definitely in the right part of the bracket. I expect them to play-and defeat-Ohio State in the title game.
Prediction 3: San Diego State will make the Final Four
San Diego State is my mid-major blockbuster of 2011. Their potential elite eight opponent, Duke, is very strong but has not been the same since freshman phenomenon point guard Kyrie Irving was lost to injury. The Aztecs have only two losses on the season and could bust a lot of brackets.
Prediction 4: There will be a lot of upsets in the early rounds
This is the most equal tourney field we have seen in years. What separates Michigan, an eighth seed, from twelve seeds Richmond or Utah State? Not much. There are a lot of potential upset specials out there and I’m looking forward to seeing if I predicted the right ones!
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