With the clock ticking down to enter brackets, here are some quick tips along with my final four and champion. I usually hedge and create multiple brackets. Doesn't everyone?
1. Most everyone has heard of the 5-12 upset. As I stated last year the 6-11 is the new 5-12. George Mason was an eleven seed when they went to the Final Four. Upsets were more common when schools from the mid majors were given an opportunity to defeat a school from a power conference. The selection committee began pitting mid majors against each other and this year barely selected any for an at large bid. With weaker power conference schools getting into the big dance and facing stronger schools this may be another year that's close to chalk.
2. The Big Ten is overrated this year, while the ACC and Big East carry seven teams into the tournament. Of all the ACC schools North Carolina and Florida State look like they could make a strong run. The Big East has more teams that could go farther into the tournament then some of the ACC schools.
3. Several schools have lost someone for the season and others are still battling injuries like UConn, MSU, & UNC. How deep these teams can make it depends on the match ups. There isn't a clear favorite.
4. Now for some possible upsets.
A. Cleveland St. over Wake Forest. For a tall frontcourt, Wake plays smaller by playing from the outside.
B. BC over Michigan St. Tom Izzo is a great coach, but the injury bug may finally prove too much to overcome.
Not going completely chalk I selected two ACC and two Big East schools: North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, and UConn with UNC the Champion. The Seminoles could be a risky pick due to Hamilton getting out coached at times. He has strong guard play from Douglas and a productive front court for a good inside outside game. The teams that go the farthest usually have good play at the guard position.
Pitt and Nova could go far and so could Syr. if they have anything left in the tank after the Big East Tournament. Gonzaga could be a sleeper this year and give UNC a run for their money.
The East & South could disintegrate after the sweet sixteen while the Midwest Region has potential to implode the most from upsets from Wake Forest and MSU to OSU. Don't be surprised if an upset occurs in Duke's path as somehow things always find away to help the Blue Devils. Over the past few years, Duke's region has usually been in the eye of the storm.
Good Luck! The clock is ticking to enter your brackets with friends.