We're about 45 hours from the Madness. I'm excited and hope you are too.I'd love to hear your thoughts on the tourney and we can go back and forth.
hey keith,if my louisville cards get by cal, we have a realistic shot at beating duke right? considering their not a dominate #1 seed
Brett, I certainly think Louisville would have a shot, but the good Louisville would have to show up. I know you've seen enough of the "bad" Louisville to know that they can't hang with Duke if they're not at their best. Samardo Samuels and Edgar Sosa would have to be on point.
Can Vandy make some noise in the West? Or will Murray State be too much too early for them?
Hiram in the house! Danny, I think that so many are talking about the Racers pulling the upset that it's getting lost how good Vandy can be. I know they've been bitten in the tourney in recent years, namely two years ago against another 13-seed in Siena, but if they can limit turnovers and not allow Murray to impose its will on them, I think the Commodores will move on. It won't be easy, but I like Jermaine Beal to play well and for Vandy to win.
What were the expert picks for the East bracket?
Most people I've talked to and heard from seem to think that Kentucky and West Virginia are on a collision course. And the way those teams are playing right now, it's hard to argue with that line of thinking.But this is the Big Dance we're talking about and one bad day (or one great game from an opponent) can end a favorite's season in a hiccup.I really feel like New Mexico is not getting its due as a quality team which received a decent draw in the first couple of rounds. If the Lobos get past Montana, they'll face Marquette or Washington, two teams which are also on the smaller side, and I think New Mexico has to feel good about its matchup against those squads.
And if they do meet up with West Virginia in the Sweet 16, I think it would be a very good game, and in my bracket I actually chose the Lobos to pull off the mini-upset.
temple or cornell?
This has to be one of the most talked about matchups in the first round, and rightly so. These coaches know each other well, with Steve Donahue having worked under Fran Dunphy. The reason I don't think Cornell will pull the upset lies in the fact that the Big Red's strength -- outstanding perimeter shooting -- plays perfectly into Temple's biggest strength, perimeter defense. Something's got to give and in this case, I think that's going to be Cornell's 3-point shooting percentage. But I'd be shocked if this game didn't go down to the final minutes.
Keith, when I first saw your picture, I thought you had something in your eye, but when I looked again, I realized it was just your sparkle!!
You noticed that, too, Joely? Hard to miss at this time of year. :-)
The West bracket looks like it could get really interesting to me. Am I crazy to think that a sweet 16 matchup between BYU and Minnesota is very possible?
Almost nothing would surprise me in this tournament, Randy. After the top 6-7 teams, there's a great deal of volatility. BYU needs to get off the schnide in the tourney, and if they're going to get by Florida, they'll have their hands full with K-State. The Cougars will have to be tough inside, which I'm not 100% sure they are capable of.As far as Minnesota goes, they've been so moody this season, it's hard to predict how they'll play. But they could certainly knock off Xavier, if they play like they did early in the Big Ten tourney.
Keith, My Noles are getting no love from anybody. Obviously, beating Syracuse would be a tall order but i see no reason they shouldn't or won't beat Gonzaga. These aren't your brother's Zags.
You're right, Chris, and I think the Zags-Noles game is one of the most interesting in the first round. I'm really interested to see how Gonzaga is affected by the length and athleticism FSU overwhelms many teams with at the defensive end. I picked the Zags to win this game, because I'm concerned about Florida State's ability to score. It's definitely not a strong suit, but if this game is played in the 50s or low 60s, the Noles will be right where they want to be.
Keith, I love the mens tournement as much as anyone but i think the Men are lacking something this year and that the wemons might have the better tournement what do you think about that
I may just be a little biased when it comes to the men's tourney, so I'm probably the wrong guy to ask about that. Besides, I don't see how anyone's going to beat UConn anyway, so I gotta go with the fellas, even in a year with no truly great teams.
What's with all the love for UTEP over the last couple days? Have they actually beaten anybody? They squeaked out two wins over UAB...and that's it. We know they're big, but can they play?
Although C-USA is not one of the big boys, it's still a decent conference, and I think the reason many seem to like UTEP is the potential they have, with an explosive player like Randy Culpepper, a skilled big man like Derrick Caracter and a big point guard in Julyan Stone, who takes good care of the ball. Sometimes it's more about the matchups than it is about the actual teams when it comes to many having teams moving on in their brackets.
Are there any 4 or 5 seeds that you see with a legitimate shot at making the Final 4?
Hi Dennis, I don't love the 4s and 5s this year, to be honest. Purdue was strong before the Hummel injury, but is just not the same team now and I don't see them winning more than two games. When you have a great player like Greivis Vasquez, anything's possible, but I have a hard time imagining Maryland beating Kansas. Wisconsin may be the most likely No. 4 to knock off a No. 1 seed -- if the Badgers get that far.
And the 5s all seem to have enough flaws that it's hard to see them winning four games. But in this thing, all bets are off.
what do you think the big tens shot at winning the championship is?
John, I think those hopes rest on the shoulders of Ohio State's Evan Turner. We've seen great players carry a team deep and he could do that. And once you get to the Final Four, teams are playing with such great confidence, that a team like the Bucks could do it. I don't see any other Big Ten with a great chance to win it all, though.
hey keith how far do you think the maryland terps are oing to go in the big dance?
In my bracket, I have them advancing to the Sweet 16, but they need to be careful Friday night in Spokane against Houston first of all. The Terps obviously need the role players to help Vasquez out, but much like Ohio State, I think Maryland can only go as far as Greivis takes them.
Winthrop or Arkansas pine bluff which one will be facing Duke and winning the first NCAA tournement game of the year
I think this could be the ugliest Opening Round game yet. Neither team shoots well from the field and both are atrocious from 3-point land. UAPB rebounds better and if they can avoid turning it over so much, they can beat Winthrop. But I wouldn't expect the scoreboard operator to get much work.
With the injury to Syracuse's big fella, K State has to be the favorite to reach the final four out of the West right?
If not the favorite, maybe the No. 2 seed with the best chance to reach the Final Four, if Onuaku can't get back to 100% by the time they'd face off. As it is, without him, Syracuse will be challenged by either Gonzaga or Florida State in the second round.
I know UTEP is getting a ton of love but what about Butler? I know you're saying you don't love the 5 seeds but out of the 5's they have a decent run to the sweet 16 and are battle tested while still relatively young (mostly Soph's with a jr. starting)?
You're right, Greg, Butler really is getting lost in the shuffle here. To me, the key for the Bulldogs is Matt Howard staying out of foul trouble. It's a very different offensive attack when he's not on the floor. They definitely played a strong schedule and won't be intimidated by anyone, and I think the winner of the Butler-UTEP has a good shot at the Sweet 16. That pod is really up for grabs.
What's your biggest upset you picked?
Andrew, if you mean in the first round, I shied away from picking any of the 13s, although they were tempting. I selected UTEP to beat Butler, because I expect Caracter to give Howard trouble. Just a hunch. But maybe my biggest upset came in the South bracket, where I decided to take a few chances and took Notre Dame to reach the Elite Eight ... with Richmond beating Villanova, too. Gotta pick some upsets, so that's what I went with.
USU to sweet 16 baby!!!!!!!!
You know, Hayden, that's another wide-open pod. Purdue can be had (and may be by Siena), and A&M's poor perimeter shooting could do them in, especially against a team like YOUR Aggies, which executes well in the halfcourt and hits a high percentage of its shots.
The Lobos arent even going to see the mounties! Hard to give the Lobos their due when the best team they beat was BYU and they also have a lose to Oral Roberts! Come on now!
They may not get that far, Stephen, but one thing I feel strongly about when it comes to the Big Dance is that the slate is wiped clean and it often doesn't matter who you've beaten or didn't beat entering the tourney, all that matters is how you play on gameday ... and the Lobos are talented enough to beat almost anyone. I don't think you'll find many who would take UNM over WVU, but I do think it's possible. I think Dairese Gary is one of the toughest point guards in the country and really wills this team at times.
Keith, mind elaborating on your pick of Richmond over the Cats? It's an interesting choice, and I know Nova is a bit over hyped, but having watched Richmond all year, I just don't see enough athleticism?
That actually is one of my concerns, Greg, so that's a very fair point. Beyond the fact that I just don't like the way Nova is playing right now, I get the feeling that Richmond is going to play with a chip on its shoulder ... and has great guard play to match that of Villanova's. Many might say that Nova is deeper in the backcourt, but I'm not sure that depth will matter as much in a tournament setting. The big dogs will be out there for as long as they can and I really like the duo of Anderson and Gonzalvez. The Spiders defend well, especially on the perimeter, but they'll have to hang at least somewhere close on the glass. Just a gut on my part.
Like the commercial, "Gut, research, favorite, sleeper ..." This is mostly a gut.
Why Can't Only Conference Champions play in the Men's & Women's NCAA Tournament for the National Championship so it will be less confusing?
With the possibility of the tourney expanding to 96, I think the simple answer is "money."
Should UK really worry about Texas IF they even play Texas in round 2? UT lost 7 out of their last 9 or something like that.
I know that Texas has been quite underwhelming since losing its grasp on the No. 1 spot in the rankings, but the reason I would warn about taking them lightly is the fact that Kentucky still is starting three freshman and occasionally they play like it for stretches and let teams hang around a bit too long. Do that in the tournament, give a team a reason to believe and a stud like Damion James is capable of knocking you out. That would be my reasoning of how Texas could take them out, but I don't expect that to happen.
Well, I hope you all enjoy the NCAA tournament. It's going to be outstanding once again. Make sure to sign up for Tournament Challenge, Hardcourt Challenge, the player-based game (very fun to play) and our new offering College Hoops Pick 'em, where you'll get to pick every game each day during the tourney ... so even if your bracket goes south, you'll still have something to play for.
Thank you for all of your questions and have a great day!