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NCAA Tournament Predictions
By: E.P Bignon
*Updated 3/13 with the news of Fab Melo.
Let the Madness begin. The 2012 NCAA Tournament tips off this week and for hoops fans it’s the best three weeks of the year. Let’s take a look at who will be in New Orleans for this year’s Final Four
East Region- Ohio St
Syracuse is the top seed in the East and originally I had them winning this region as well as the National Championship. However with news today that Fab Melo has been ruled ineligible I’ve been granted a do over. I still think the Orange will get to the Sweet 16 but that’s it. This region also features maybe two of the hottest teams in the country, Vanderbilt and Florida State each winning their conference tournament this weekend knocking off Kentucky and North Carolina respectively. I like Vandy to advance to the Elite 8 to face off with the Buckeyes of Ohio St. Too much Jared Sullinger inside, Ohio St moves on to New Orleans. Look for Gonzaga to beat West Virginia in the first round of this region as your upset special.
Midwest Region- North Carolina
This region is set up for a North Carolina, Kansas showdown in the Elite Eight. Both teams have been playing their best basketball the last month each winning nine of their last ten games. Player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson is averaging almost 18 points, 12 rebounds a game for the Jayhawks while Harrison Barnes leads the way for the Tarheels with 17 points a game. Look for North Carolina to advance beating Kansas in their own backyard. Two darkhorses from this region to make some noise, watch Temple and San Diego St. Temple did knock off Duke earlier this year and is playing extremely well as of late. San Diego St has very quietly won 26 games this season and Steve Fisher in the NCAA speaks for itself. Ohio over Michigan is your upset for this region.
South Region- Kentucky
The No. 1 overall seed Kentucky Wildcats sit atop the South Region. It won’t be an easy road however with possible match ups against UCONN, Indiana and Duke. A loss in the SEC tournament finals to Vandy may have been the best thing to happen to Calipari’s young Cats, a wake- up call they probably needed. A tough road for Kentucky but look for them to advance to New Orleans. Wichita St. is a team from the South Region that could make a run. A very experienced team that has won 27 games this season. Don’t be surprised if the Shockers knock off Indiana in the 2nd round and advance to the Sweet 16.
The Missouri Tigers won the Big12 conference tournament in their final season in the league. The Tigers are led by senior guards Kim English and Marcus Denmon, finished the season with a 30-4 record and are primed for a run to New Orleans. Standing in their way potentially are the Michigan St Spartans the #1 seed in this region. As good as Tom Izzo is in March, Missouri has too much firepower for the Spartans. A sleeper out of this region could be the Louisville Cardinals. The Big East Tournament champs have played great defense all season long, if they can avoid those 6-7 minute droughts without scoring watch out for the Cards to make a deep run. How can we forget Murray State out of this region. A possible 2nd round match up with Marquette will tell us a lot about the Racers, contenders or pretenders?? Memphis also playing well of late could make some noise.
* Feel Free to ask questions and make comments. March Madness is just getting started at Beast Dome as there will be articles all tournament long.