The names of the teams in this region almost read like entries in your little black book. We’ve enjoyed them at different points of our lives over the last 20 years of our lives, but it’s weird to see them all in one place. Pittsburgh is the pretty young thing in this tournament, nabbing a 1-seed out of the toughest conference in basketball this season. Florida is still a fine program, even a few years removed from their twin title runs. Gonzaga? Not so hot anymore, but still serviceable. And Wisconsin, they were hot once, right? UCLA is a cougar as a 7-seed, Michigan State has put on a few extra pounds, and Utah State is barely legal. That’s totally cool, by the way, if you happen to live in Utah.
Senior leadership matters, people. Greg Anthony said so, and he played for the Knicks.
Here are the number of seniors starting for each Southeast region team:
1. Pittsburgh – 3
2. Florida – 3
3. BYU – 2
4. Wisconsin – 3
5. Kansas St – 2
6. St. John’s – 4
7. UCLA – none
8. Butler – 2
9. Old Dominion – 4
10. Michigan St – 2
11. Gonzaga – 1
12. Utah St – 4
13. Belmont – 1
14. Wofford – 4
15. UCSB – 1
16. Ark-Little Rock – 2
Potential First-Round Upsets and Non-Upsets.
(9) Old Dominion over (8) Butler. This game might already be over by the time this post goes up, so I’ll either look like a cheater or an idiot, but whatever. ODU was better on the road in a competitive Colonial league and Butler struggled outside of conference play. The Bulldogs might be prime candidates for a Final Four hangover, which will be nothing compared to how you feel tomorrow morning.
(13) Belmont over (4) Wisconsin. We had a bit of a laugh on Monday when Josh from Powerade told us that the ION 4 Point Performance Rankings had Belmont going to the Final Four. Still, I can’t help but think that the computers might be throwing us a bone here before they take over the world.
Same As It Ever Was. Picks that shouldn’t surprise anybody.
(1) Pittsburgh over (16) Arkansas-Little Rock. The best team from the best league should roll into the Sweet Sixteen before facing an interesting game against Utah State, a mid-major program that has become a tournament regular of sorts while still looking for a signature win against the big boys.
(3) BYU over (14) Wofford. This could be the Jimmer Fredette Show. Despite losing Brandon Davies to…uh…coitus, BYU got a good draw against teams that will offer favorable matchups. Putting them in the Elite Eight seems premature, but that’s certainly achievable.
Played Out. My picks for the rest of the bracket.
Sweet Sixteen: Pittsburgh, Utah State, BYU, Florida.
Elite Eight: Pitt, BYU.
Final Four: BYU.