This is the Winning Pool Picks!
By Jake Vigliotti
March 12, 2007
Before we start, yes, I know I said youíd win the office pool last year, but, well, we had a few upsets. That isnít going to happen this year. Iíve studied and studied forÖ almost an hour, and based on some historical evidence, I know this is the year these picks will win you the pool.
As always, weíll start with the #1 seeds. No #1 has lost in a Menís tourney, and it doesnít look like itíll happen this year. As much as Iíd love to put my wifeís alma mater Central Connecticut State University into the 2nd round, but they wonít beat Ohio State (but they will cover). Put North Carolina, Ohio State, Kansas, and Florida into round 2.
The #2ís traditionally win, but there have been some upsets now and then. When a #2 loses, itís usually after they lose early in their conference tournament (like South Carolina in 1998, and Iowa State in 2001). Anyone remember Tennessee last year? They stunk up the place last year, and I said, ďIf youíre really feeling frisky, take Winthrop over Tennessee Ė The Vols donít play Defense, and Winthrop lost by 2 to Auburn, 10 to Memphis (a #1 seed) and have won 9 of 10.Ē. Tennessee won by a last second bucket and got pimped in the 2nd round. As good of a coach UCLA has in Ben Howland, lets take a chance and pick Weber State over UCLA. Besides, Weber State is one of the best upset teams historically. Send the other #2ís, Memphis, Georgetown, and Wisconsin, onto round 2.
Did you know the last two years a 14 has beaten a 3? And the year before that, two #3ís barely survived round 1. You know what that meansÖ Thatís right, the best #14 seed has a great shot at moving on. Oral Roberts beat Kansas earlier this year, so why should they be scared of Washington State? They wonít be. Texas A&M, Oregon, and Pitt should advance, but donít be surprised if one of them gets a scare.
When you get to the 4ís and 5ís, historically, this is the space that is upset city. Southern Illinois is a team that people love, but they couldnít hit water if they fell out of a boat. But theyíre aggressive enough to beat up a bunch of white boys from Holy Cross, so letís advance Southern Illinois begrudgingly, along with Texas, and Virginia (who is very streaky). I have no faith in Maryland, even if you want to advance them, donít put them into the sweet 16.
I always advance all the 12ís, historically the best lower seed against a larger seed. This year is no different. There is no reason that 3 of the 4 12ís canít advance. Put Old Dominion, Arkansas, Long Beach St, and Illinois into round 2.
Duke is Duke, even as a #6 seed. Louisville looks OK too. But last year, two #11ís advanced, including George Mason going to the Final 4. Weíll at least advance Winthrop, and take George Washington as well, simply because Vanderbilt isnít the same on the road, despite having a pretty good history of making a run in tourneyís.
7-10 and 8-9 are interesting games. The 10ís actually have a better record then youíd think against #2ís in the next round, so I always like to put a few #10ís into round 2. Gonzaga loves being a 10, so advance them. Creighton plays this nice zone defense, so lets put them into round 2 as well. The two other matchups, weíll take the 7ís, UNLV and Boston College. Besides, Bobby Knight stinks as a low seed.
The 9ís only one 1 last year, which is rare (47 wins vs 41 loses in 8-9 games for the 9ís). Still, lets put Villanova and Michigan State through (MSU owes us for last year), and the 8ís will be Arizona and BYU - but BYU is a team that a lot of people like, which scares me.
OK, so we potentially got 31 out of 32 right so far (which would tie my personal high). The 2nd round is where the money is made. Letís put Florida and North Carolina into the round of 16 immediately. As a bit of history, a #1 hasnít lost in the 2nd round since 2004, when two went down. In 2000, two also went down. Hey, Columbus took a chance; BYU over Ohio State, and Nova over Kansas. Besides, SI picked Kansas in their pre-season poll, and theyíre always wrong.
Of course, we could be in trouble already, but we wonít be. Gonzaga as a 10 over our #15 seeded 1st round upset team Weber St.. Our other upset, Creighton as a 10 over Memphis who is as soft as a babyís bottom. Georgetown and Wisconsin will survive their 2nd round games (barely).
For the 3-6 potentials (or 14-11), Pitt and Oregon should get by, but lets take #11 George Washington and advance them. For another upset, lets take Louisville as a 6 over #3 Texas A&M.
Now, itís getting a bit messier. We already put the 12ís through. So we have a chance to put a 12 into the round of 16. The last time Arkansas was a 12 (1996), they went to the sweet 16 Ė good enough for me: Arkansas over Texas (which also means weíre knocking out the top two Freshman this year, Ohio Stateís Greg Oden and Texasí Kevin Durant). Weíll advance Old Dominion too, since this is a DMB fan site and they are from the Old Dominion. Hell, with that rationale, we have to take UVA as well. And as much as I hate to do it, letís make Dickie Vitale stand on his head again (see 1987 tourney) and take Southern Illinois over the big boys of the state.
AhÖ the sweet 16. This bracket doesnít look good now, but itíll sure look good on that 1st Sunday night. Letís start at the top.
Florida over ODU, enough of this DMB junk, weíre trying to win some cash! (which we will report on our taxes, of course). Wisconsin over Oregon in the other game.
In the West, lets take those thugs from Southern Illinois over poor Nova (canít believe Iím picking against Philly in what would be a street fight). Down in the bottom of the bracket, Pitt knocks out the Zags.
North Carolina will take care of Arkansas in Jersey, and the battle of D.C. (loser actually gets D.C.), weíll take ďlittleĒ Johnny Thompsonís Georgetown Hoyas.
Mess bracket #2: BYU vs. UVA Ė in San Antonio. Good seats still available. Letís hope the Cavs keep that hot shooting, and take Virginia over a good BYU team. Rick Pitino finds a way to surprise people when they think he stinks. Louisville over my beloved Creighton and their defense.
Final 4 time: Florida gets by Wisconsin (barely). Pitt represents and finally shows Southern Illinois that you have to knock down a bucket here and there to win a game.
North Carolina may be the most talented team in the country, Georgetown may be the hottest. If Gítown had a few more seniors, Iíd probably pull the trigger on them, but I just canít. Carolina moves on.
And our mess bracket: Virginia or Louisville is going to the final 4. Really? Who picked this crap! (donít answer that or email me, please!) This oneís for Fenton: Virginia goes to the final 4: ACC team #2.
Florida, Pitt, North Carolina, and Virginia. If someone else has that pool, Iíd be shocked. Florida defrocks Pitt. Carolina over UVA, who will go cold in the 2nd half.
So, for the national championship, we have the Gators defending against the winner from two years ago, UNC. The last team to try and repeat lost (Arkansas in 1995), and Florida is an SEC team. But who are we kidding? Too many seniors, too much UF. Florida wins going away from UNC, making them back-to-back champs.
You can thank me later.
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