>> Monday, March 15, 2010
The West could widely be considered the second easy bracket among the four, and with Jim Boeheim and company blatantly lying about the injury to Onuaku, we now have to wonder if the 'CUSE is truly safe for the entire first weekend....let's take a look.
1. SYRACUSE vs. 16. Vermont
Several years ago the Catamounts, lead by Taylor Coppenrath, upset the Big Orange, but this is a different day. Tom Brennan isn't coaching the 'Mounts and even without Onuaku, the 'CUSE are entirely too talented.
8. Gonzaga vs. 9. FLORIDA STATE
If there is one thing you can count on in March, its the Zags falling victim to another upset. Gonzaga has been hot and cold all season, including getting their asses handed to them in the WCC finals by St. Mary's, and are not as dynamic as in year's past. Chris Singleton and the Seminoles are a talented bunch and they will pull off the victory, even with Leonard Hamilton doing his best to determine otherwise.
5. Butler vs. 12. UTEP
Ah, the media's favorite upset special during all the action following the release of the bracket. UTEP is athletic across the board, and well, Butler, they're an even more un-athletic version of Duke. The Miner's athletic ability will give the Bulldogs fits and Butler will be sent packing.
4. VANDERBILT vs. 13. Murray State
Another trendy upset pick within the west bracket. Murray State has already notched 30 wins and nearly knocked off CAL at the beginning of the season. The Racers will give the 'Dores trouble, but this Vandy team is not only talented, but their experienced. Dolla Beal and company will stave off an upset bid by Murray State and advance to the next round.
6. XAVIER vs. 11. Minnesota
Many questioned whether Tubby Smith's team even deserved their tournament bid after being derailed in the Big Ten championship game, but they were given a chance to show their worth. However, Xavier always brings it in March and Jordan Crawford and company were, in my mind, the best team in the A-10 this season. They'll send Ten-Loss Tubby home early.
3. PITTSBURGH vs. 14. Oakland
Jamie Dixon has been a miracle worker this season in the Steel City. The Panthers lack talent, depth and entertainment ability, but they continue to win. Oakland, the SUMMIT League champion, has a chance in this game, because PITT will not blow anyone out in this tournament, but I don't believe Oakland has enough to get over the hump. PITT wins a close one.
7. Brigham Young vs. 10. FLORIDA
BYU has quickly become a trendy Final Four pick from the West bracket, but I'm not completely sold on this roster. Jimmy Fredette is a great player, but BYU will still have trouble matching up with the Gators. Kenny Boynton and company earn the upset, unless Dan Werner, the worst player in America, plays 25 minutes.
2. KANSAS STATE vs. 15. North Texas
If Kansas State even allows the Mean Green to keep this game remotely close, Frank Martin may kill someone. I expect a quick start by Jacob Pullen & company and they will dispose of North Texas fairly quickly.
Up next, East Bracket.