So far, my Ballsy predictions didn’t foresee too many first round upsets. We kissed goodbye a #4 (Vanderbilt) and a #5 (Clemson), as well as all four seven seeds (Butler, Miami, Gonzaga, West Virginia), but in the second round we witnessed #1 seed North Carolina fall to Indiana, two 3’s (Stanford, Wisconsin), as well as a minor upset when #4 Connecticut fell to the Drake.
Let’s move along, shall we?
THE SWEET SIXTEEN
#2 Tennessee over #6 Louisville
The arena’s roof can barely contain the two egos that are Bruce Pearl and Rick Pitino in this sweet sixteen battle. To everyone’s surprise though, the game is actually decided by the actual players. With the UK Wildcats already gone, the state of Kentucky goes into official mourning as Tennessee’s Lofton and his two Smith’s play a solid inside-outside game and the Volunteers roll quite easily over the Cardinals.
#4 Pittsburgh over #1 Memphis
The Tigers are a good team. Unlike Shawn Kemp’s 27 kids, you don’t go 33-1 by accident. However, when your closes in-conference rival is UAB, a team you humiliated by 38 just recently, it’s going to come back and take a big chunk out of your ass eventually. This game will be a battle, low scoring and it will most certainly come down to the wire, but the Panthers will show Memphis why it is important to be battled tested in Jan/Feb/March, as opposed to November/December.
This is about the point when all the experts start to go into convolutions as they realize their ‘all #1 seed’ predictions were insane the second they spoke them. I’m talking to you too, Jay.
#6 USC over #2 Georgetown
For the Trojans, the first two wins would be enough for most teams. USC has already taken down the #1 pick in next year’s draft (Beasley & K-State) and followed that up with a solid win over the Big Ten champ (Wisconsin). Why should the fun stop there though? Look for USC to take down the Hoyas, and just like that, experts from everywhere race over to the men of Troy to see if the slipper fits.
#2 Duke over #3 Xavier
It’s a safe bet to say half of the people in their brackets will eliminate Duke in the second round against either West Virginia or Arizona. The other half will have them falling to Xavier. Anyone can make a good argument for why…but this year’s Duke team is not last year’s Duke team. Last year’s team played afraid and no one was willing to step up when it mattered (call it post-Redick syndrome). This year though, five players have shown that they’ll step up their game in the end. For the Blue Devils to make it to the elite eight, they will be playing above their heads, but is that really so far fetched?
THE ELITE EIGHT
#4 Pittsburgh over #2 Texas
Reports of spouse abuse hits an all-time high in the state of Texas, as the Pittsburgh (don’t call us Pitt) Panthers end the Longhorns’ season in their own backyard. Matthew McConaughey is spotted shirtless, crying on Lance Armstrong’s shoulder.
#1 UCLA over #2 Duke
Singler vs. Love, Part III…it’s on! To most people’s surprise, the only #1 vs. #2 match up comes from the West. Duke comes out firing on threes, but eventually the buckets stop falling, Kevin Love takes over, and Duke blows another double-digit lead in the Elite Eight. While everyone heaps praise onto Coach K’s ‘best coaching effort’, the rest of the country is asking, “what is this PAC TEN you speak of, and how the hell did they get two teams into the final four?”
You want to see the final predictions, go for it.