Today is the first day since Selection Sunday, and there is much buzz about what may go on in the Big Dance. Who got snubbed? Who’s going to be this year’s Cinderella team? Who’s going to make the Final Four? Who will win it all? Questions like these have been the talk of the college basketball nation today.
There is absolutely no doubt that the biggest snub in this year’s tournament is Kentucky Wildcats. Although they got nowhere near matching the caliber team that they had last year when they won the National Championship, they still played decently. Kentucky received a major blow this year as five of their players from that championship team declared for the 2012 NBA Draft, including No.1 overall pick Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. But they did pick up the No.1 high school recruit from last year, Nerlens Noel. Noel was the heart and soul of the team, and when he went down mid-season with an ACL tear, this Kentucky team was not the same. Many analysts thought that Kentucky’s win over the Florida Gators at home in the last game of the regular season would be enough to bump them into the tournament, but it wasn’t and the Wildcats have to settle with playing in the NIT Tournament.
This region, in my opinion, is the most competitive in the entire bracket. It features the No.1 overall seed, the Louisville Cardinals. Most of the games in this bracket should be fun and interesting to watch.
Teams to Watch: 1 Louisville Cardinals, 7 Creighton Blue Jays, 12 Oregon Ducks
I believe that Oregon will be one of the infamous 5-12 upsets. They have played well throughout the season in the Pac-12. The Blue Jays will be another team to keep an eye on because they have the ability to beat any team they face. Lead by Doug McDermott, Creighton has a legitimate shot of making the Elite Eight. Louisville is the big talk of this bracket. In their final year in the Big East, they won the conference title. Next year they will make the move to the ACC. The Cardinals are favorites to win the NCAA Championship, and I personally believe that they will show it.
In contrast to the Midwest region, I feel that the South region will be the least competitive side of the bracket. Many of the match-ups can be easily predicted and it will be shown when the tournament starts.
Teams to Watch: 3 Florida Gators, 5 Virginia Commonwealth Rams, 15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
Probably the only thing that will give this bracket some talk is if there is a major upset. I feel that this region will have the biggest upset in the entire tournament. I believe that the FGCU Eagles will beat Georgetown in a 2-15 upset. This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve see such an upset, as the Lehigh Mountain Hawks and the Norfolk State Spartans beat the Duke Blue Devils and Missouri Tigers, respectively, in last year’s tournament. I won’t stop there. I believe that the Eagles can make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Making the tournament in only their second year of postseason eligibility, I believe FGCU will carry momentum with them from winning the Atlantic Sun Conference through the tourney. Another story is Shaka Smart’s VCU team. They have been known to be the Cinderella story before, but this time they are favorites and were seeded at No. 5. I believe that they are due for another Elite Eight appearance. And then there are the Florida Gators. Coming off of a disappointing loss in the SEC Championship final to the Ole Miss Rebels, the Gators are a team capable of bouncing back. They had an extraordinary first and middle part of the season, but coming toward the end, they started losing more games than they should have. But I think the Gators will have a really good chance to win it all, as you may have read before.
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