ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Bracketology
by Kevin Monroe

3/13/06

Bracketology.  It’s a word you have been hearing now for the last couple of weeks and now it finally means something.  The field of 65 has been announced and its time for all of the teams to put up or …..well you know the rest.  The four number one seeds were no surprise: Duke, Memphis, Connecticut, and Villanova stood out amongst all the rest.  There were a few teams that could have been number one seeds especially since Connecticut, took an early exit in the Big East Tournament, but these four were certainly deserving of the honor.

Ohio State and Texas both finished their respective seasons strong and could have occupied one of those top spots.  Duke will play their first two games of the tournament in Greensboro where they won the ACC tournament. This home court advantage should easily get them into the sweet sixteen.  The toughest bracket appears to be the Minneapolis region. Ohio St., Georgetown, Florida, Boston College, or Villanova could all potentially make it to the Final for out of that region.  The weakest region has to be Atlanta, where Duke is the overwhelming favorite.  Texas is the 2 seed and they lost to Duke by 40 points earlier in the season.  The 3 seed Iowa is a good team, but they didn’t play anybody outside the mediocre Big 10 conference.

For the most part I think the NCAA bracket committee got it right, the one exception would be the Cincinnati Bearcats.  Cincy had wins over Syracuse, West Virginia, LSU, and Louisville and still managed to get snubbed.  The Big East led the way with 8 bids to the dance which didn’t help the Bearcats, because a ninth team from that conference would have had people wondering if they were all deserving.  The ACC only came away with 4 teams, when they usually have 5 or 6 and that was before expansion.  Maryland and Florida State just missed the cut and will have to settle for the NIT.  The surprise team of the field of 65 was the Air Force Academy.  Air Force didn’t get a win over any top 50 RPI teams this year.  Their most impressive when came against a lackluster Georgia Tech team.

The first two rounds of the tournament are the most exciting to the average fan.  A 12 seed has upset a 5 seed every year for the last 8 years.  My 12 vs. 5 upset special is #12 Kent st. over Pittsburgh and my other upset special is #13 Iona over #4 LSU.  The best part of filling out a bracket is picking the upsets.  My pick to win it all is Connecticut, they are the most talented team in the field and they have a lot to prove with their early exit in the Big East conference tournament.  The games start on Thursday…so go ahead and start working on your cough, so the boss won’t be suspicious when you call in sick.

Kevin Monroe
kevin@downeastsports.com