Fightin’ Words: The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight
Chris Losee: Going with Jimmer and the top dogs
As March Madness whittles down to its last four teams, I have no is no doubt that you will see the likes of Ohio State, Duke, Kansas and Brigham Young as the final four squads standing. These powerhouse programs will have no problem winning their next two games to make the cut for the Final Four.
First off, Ohio State is a force that won’t be beat with forward Jared Sullinger averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds per game. So, the question is what team will be seeing them in the Final Four from the West division? Well, the answer is last year’s NCAA champion — Duke. After they handle the Arizona Wildcats, the Blue Devils are going to have their hands full with Cinderella story San Diego State University. But that fairy tale will end for the Aztecs on Saturday.
On the other side of the bracket, I have Kansas and Brigham Young. No. 1-seeded Kansas is going to dominate the Southwest region.
However, the Southeast division isn’t as easy to predict. No. 4 seed Wisconsin will overcome the Butler Bulldogs and will face No. 3 seed Brigham Young. BYU will come away with that win, and Jimmer Fredette will likely score at will, increasing the media’s fascination with him.
That leaves Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, and the BYU in Houston.
Jack Wehman: Experience trumps all
Chris, I hope you filled out a bracket just for fun and didn’t place any money on your Final Four picks, because your predictions are sure to waste any fan’s money.
Starting with the East region, I can’t really argue with you over Ohio State. The size of the No. 1 seed Buckeyes should get them past the inexperienced Kentucky Wildcats, and out of the Sweet 16. No. 2 seed North Carolina should advance against Marquette. That leaves the Tarheels and Buckeyes in an Elite Eight showdown. I’m going with UNC. Head coach Roy Williams led his team to two titles in the past six seasons, and you know he’s hungry for his third.
In the Southeast, I have Florida over BYU. Jimmer is great, but the Gators are more tested from competing in the SEC. Butler’s run will end against Wisconsin, and the Badgers will fall to Florida. Head coach Billy Donovan knows what it takes to get wins in this time of year.
Then we come to Duke and the West region. They’re deep and the defending champions, and will handle Arizona. Connecticut will take care of San Diego State, and I have them beating Duke. Despite a wishy-washy regular season, their team is built for a run of this nature.
Virginia Commonwealth, Richmond and Florida State are all good stories but let’s be real — the Southwest region belongs to the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas, Florida, Connecticut and North Carolina will be coming to the Bayou City.
John Brannen: Picking up the ruins after the upsets
Clearly Chris and Jack were too busy during their spring breaks to soak up every minute of the tournament. I, on the other hand, was glued to the television, because frankly having a social life is overrated during March Madness.
Kentucky will lose to Ohio State, and North Carolina will top Marquette. The Buckeyes should have the Tarheels’ number and win the East, but the NCAA should already be dreading UNC next year.
Since Pittsburgh’s loss killed the Southeast, I’m going with Butler over Wisconsin and BYU eliminating Florida. Butler will beat BYU, mainly because the cameras like Jimmer, but they love panning in on Matt Howard, who looks like a beefed up version of the guy from “The Social Network.”
In the West, Chris totally discounted UConn, then called San Diego State a Cinderella team — I wouldn’t call a No. 2 seed and winner of its conference an underdog. In the west we can all agree it will be Duke and UConn, but I too have the Huskies. They’re playing with a nothing-to-lose mentality right now.
Kansas was my original pick in the Southwest, but seeing any of those three Cinderella teams would be worth the continued destruction of my bracket. Virginia Commonwealth has been bulldozing through teams, and if they can get past Florida State, they could give the Jayhawks fits.
That leaves it as Ohio State, Butler, UConn and Kansas (begrudgingly).
Judge Siegel: Regulating the Madness
John, you do make the best arguments for your picks and I am leaning towards giving you the facetime, but am undecided because I don’t entirely agree with your Final Four picks.
Jack, you’re also in the running because I am madly in love with this Carolina team. I think that they have the best frontcourt in the nation and Harrison Barnes is an assassin on offense and underrated defender. Unfortunately, your Florida pick just ruins everything. Billy Donovan hasn’t won anything in March since Joahkim Noah and Al Horford left. Also, guess who knocked the Gators out in the first round last year? The BYU Jimmers.
Chris, you’re eliminated. Do you just read ESPN.com headlines? You’re so confident that Ohio State will just breeze through to the championship, but you don’t take into account that they will need to beat North Carolina or Duke. Sullinger is a below the rim player and I think Henson’s length and athleticism will bother him. And Mason Plumlee is no slouch. Also San Diego State is not a cinderella team — get it together, man.
John Brannen the “Original Grouch” gets the Facetime as he makes the best case for the win.
You haven’t whispered until you’ve done it in a careless manner. Also, UH is Final Four bound in 2012!