As I’m sure is the case with a lot of other self-appointed experts, this billion dollar bracket has gotten my attention. Because of this I have spent more time analyzing the 2014 tournament than normal. While I’m fully aware all this extra work is not going to make me the newest member of the 1%, it might result in a stronger bracket. The extra work has also allowed less time for writing, so this will be more of a listing of who I expect to win each round without much heavy analysis.
I ask the following questions in order when picking tournament games:
- Which is the better team?
- Which team finished stronger?
- Which team is more experienced?
- Which team has more size?
- In past tournaments has the coach exceeded or fallen short of what is expected from his team’s seeding?
- Is there any reason to think the better team might be vulnerable?
- Is there any reason to think the lesser team might be ready for a run?
2nd Round Winners:
Florida, Pittsburgh, Stephen F. Austin, UCLA, Ohio State, Syracuse, New Mexico, Kansas, Virginia, George Washington, Harvard, Michigan State, North Carolina, Iowa State, Connecticut, Villanova, Arizona, Gonzaga, North Dakota State, San Diego State, Baylor, Creighton, BYU, Wisconsin, Wichita State, Kentucky, Saint Louis, Louisville, Iowa/Tennessee, Duke, Texas, Michigan.
I went pretty conservative here. I have every one of the top 4 seeds advancing. I did pick three 12 seeds to advance. Because this was posted before tonight’s Iowa-Tennessee game, I have both teams listed. This game is something of a quandary for me. Both teams are better than their records and capable of making a run. Both teams finished weak, but one team is going to win tonight and that win could get the winner back on track. For the record I think Iowa will prevail tonight, but I’ll keep them as a group in this piece. With the Texas-Arizona State game, the teams are so evenly matched I pondered flipping a coin before going with the Longhorns.
Florida, UCLA, Ohio State, New Mexico, Virginia, Michigan State, North Carolina, Villanova, Arizona, San Diego State, Creighton, Wisconsin, Wichita State, Louisville, Iowa/Tennessee, Michigan.
I have Duke, Syracuse, Kansas and Iowa State exiting the dance early. Duke is small, inexperienced and has trouble stopping good teams. I think they’ll fall to the Iowa-Tennessee winner. Syracuse has struggled down the stretch and is playing a tough 6 seed in Ohio State. Kansas might be without their most imposing player and is also very inexperienced. Iowa State is a good team, but I think North Carolina will take them out here. The Heels were playing very well before losing in the ACC tourney. Their size will be the difference. Also Roy Williams sounded very angry in his post-game presser following the loss. I like angry coaches.
Florida, New Mexico, Michigan State, North Carolina, Arizona, Creighton, Louisville, Michigan
Florida, Michigan State, Arizona, Louisville
A very chalky group I have here. Florida and Arizona are top seeds. Louisville and Michigan State are 4th seeds that feel like top seeds and are being treated as such. I haven’t looked, but I believe that in years when the draft is strong, as is the case in 2014, the better teams usually dominate in the tournament.
Michigan State, Louisville
I feel Louisville is the best team in the nation and will repeat as champs. They have played an easier schedule than most top teams and have some losses earlier in the year that give me pause. But they have also been extremely strong down the stretch. They have the experience and size that has been typical of a champion.