First Reaction to the 2009 NCAA Tournament


Let’s just roll through some random thoughts.

– For Duke, I’m loving the #2 seed and I really like being in the East. Going out West or down South would not be fun. Duke will be the favorite, up until the Elite Eight. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume Duke survives the first-round Thursday. In round two, I think Duke can take care of either Minnesota or Texas. Unlike last year’s match up against West Virginia, I’m not scared of either team. If I had a choice, I’d like to see Minnesota. They don’t have the guards to keep up with the Blue Devils.

In the second weekend, Duke could take on both halves of Pennsylvania; first against Villanova and then Pittsburgh (if we beat the Wildcats of course). Despite Pittsburgh’s huge advantage inside, don’t forget, it took a last second shot for the Panthers to beat Duke last year in Madison Square Gardens. If there was one #1 seed I’d want to face, it would be the Panthers.

– It’s clear that North Carolina got the easiest bracket, at least until the Elite Eight. No one, not even Gonzaga will be able to challenge the mighty Tar Heels (unless Lawson’s toe remains a problem).

– While most people are writing off the Sooners, I’m not. I’m not going to judge them by what they did lately. They still got the best player in the land and tell me, would you not pay to see Blake Griffin go head-t0-head with Tyler Hansbrough?

– Although I’m not prepared to make any predictions yet, I’d keep my eye out on the #2 seeds in all the brackets. Jut a quick thought.

– The only real debate I’m hearing about the selection committee’s 65 was the fact they left out St. Mary’s and put in Arizona. In the end, I could care less, but I do think St. Mary’s should have been in. Sure the Wildcats faced top-50 RPI teams 16 times, but they lost 10 of them and finished below .500 in a weak PAC-10.

– I still can’t believe three of the four #1 seeds came out of the Big East? If anything, it shows you how weak the other major conferences were (SEC, PAC-10 and BIG-10). As for Memphis at #2, they’re right where they belong. I’m sorry, Conference USA is a joke. Memphis would have finished 4th (at best) in the ACC or BIG EAST.

– Last year we talked about how teams like Duke sometimes need to get lucky in the tournament. Meaning: Other teams in Duke’s bracket can knock off other higher seeds, making Duke’s run easier. Think about it, when was the last time Duke faced a double-digit seeded team after the first round? I’ll tell you…It has happened only once since 2000. This year is no different and looking at the match ups, it could happen. Let’s see what we got in Duke’s half of the bracket.
– #10 Minnesota vs #7 Texas. While the Gophers have struggled lately, they have the size inside to take down Texas.
– In Philadelphia, VCU has the talent and experience to get back to the Sweet 16 as an 11th seed. I can see them beating UCLA, however, getting past Villanova in Philly won’t be easy.
– In Pittsburgh’s half of the bracket, FSU is probably the one team that could give Pittsburgh competition on the inside, but since FSU hasn’t been to the tournament in over 10 years, I could see them being upset rather early themselves.

Five First round match ups I can’t wait to see:
– #2 Duke vs #15 Binghamton: Come on, it would be nice to see a Duke blow out for once.
– #1 Connecticut vs #16 Chattanooga. No the Mocs can’t win, but they can shoot the 3 and keep it interesting.
– #3 Kansas vs. #14 North Dakota State. Dakota is the feel good story of the tournament and there’s just something about defending champs in the first round.
– #11 VCU vs #6 UCLA. Sure the Bruins have been to the Final Four three straight years, but in those three tournaments, they didn’t have to leave California. Welcome to Philadelphia, boys.
– #5 Florida State vs #12 Wisconsin: The last time the Seminoles were in the tournament, their entire squad had yet to hit puberty. The Badgers have loads of experience.

Five Second Round match ups I’m hoping to see:
– #2 Duke vs either Minnesota or Texas. This losing in the first weekend shit needs to end now.
– #8 LSU vs #1 UNC: I’m probably going to predict LSU to lose to Butler, but let’s not forget, it was LSU who ended #1 Seeded Duke season three years ago.
– #2 Memphis vs #10 Maryland. I actually don’t think the Terps are going to beat Cal, but I’d love to see what Vasquez can do against the Paper Memphis Tigers.
– #6 West Virginia vs. #3 Kansas: This one would be a street fight and a thing of beauty. If the Big East is really as good as it thinks it is, then their sixth best team should be able to handle a good team from the BIG-12.
– #16 East Tennessee State vs. #8 Oklahoma State: Only because I’d love to Pittsburgh lose, making Duke’s trip a little easier.