BALLSY 2010 Tournament Predictions | Round One


Today I embark on my annual worthless NCAA Tournament Predictions. And when I say annual, I mean this is the second time I’m doing this. I’m going to get the warning out early…if you’re gambling on games this year and you use these predictions at all, then you deserve to lose your money. I’ve never even come close to winning an office tournament pool.

Last year, my final four was (no joke), Duke, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Memphis. I had Memphis beating Duke in the finals. I nailed none of the Final Four picks. I had Gonzaga beating North Carolina in the Sweet 16.

Yet here I am again, making predictions. I’m wrong, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy doing them.



(1) Kentucky over (16) East Tennessee State
Can you believe I actually predicted that John Calipari and No 1 seeded Memphis would lose in the 1st Round the year they went to the elite eight (three years ago)? Man I was stupid then.

(8) Texas over (9) Wake Forest
Talk about two teams not just falling into the post-season, but doing a back-flip. The Longhorns, once No 1 in the nation, have gone 7-9 down the stretch. Luckily for them, they got matched up with the one team who has finished worst. Wake Forest has lost five of six and shouldn’t even be in the tournament (It should have been Virginia Tech).

(5) Temple over (12) Cornell
On ESPN, Jay Bilas nearly creamed himself every time he mentioned Cornell. In fact, he has them going to the Elite Eight. I get it, they almost beat Kansas on the road. You know what? They lost to Penn. The Owls aren’t appreciated, which is true of the Atlantic 10 in general, but they didn’t win both the regular season and conference title by accident.

(4) Wisconsin over (13) Wofford
The Terriers are making their first trip into the tournament. The Badgers are not.

(5) Marquette over (11) Washington
The fact is, no team from the PAC-10 deserves to play in this post-season. I’ll take the worst Big East team over the best team from the Pac-10 (and the Huskies aren’t even the best team).

(3) New Mexico over (14) Montana
The experts are raving about Lobos’ guard, Darington Hobson and they should. The junior from Las Vegas nearly averages a double-double (16.2 points & 9.2 boards per game) and he’s a freaking guard. Just for kicks he dishes out nearly five assists per game. As for Montana, they once lost to Denver this year. Yes, Denver. Who knew the Nuggets had competition in Denver.

(10) Missouri over (7) Clemson
Both teams faced Illinois this season. The (Clemson) Tigers blew a 23-pt second half lead at home and lost by two. The (Missouri) Tigers, 21 days later on a neutral floor, crushed the Fighting Illini by 13 points.

(2) West Virginia over (15) Morgan State
With the Big East Tournament over and the second seed locked up, everyone and I mean everyone is jumping on the Mountaineers bandwagon. I can’t blame them of course. De’Sean Butler has hit six, count ’em, six game winning shots this season. The last time I checked, that was good.


(1) Duke over (16) Opening Rd Winner
The Blue Devils by 30. I don’t care who they play here.

(8) California over (9) Louisville
The Cardinals did beat Syracuse twice this season. That’s something. They also only have two players who score in double-digits. That’s not a lot. The PAC-10 has to win at least one game.

(5) Texas A&M over (12) Utah State
The Aggies (the ones from Utah) had been rolling with the nation’s longest winning streak (18 in row) until New Mexico State knocked them out yesterday. Impressive. Yet since 2002-2003, they’ve been in the NCAA Tournament four times and the NIT Tournament three times. They are 0-7 during that time. On the other hand, the Aggies (the ones from Texas) have beaten up on mid-majors in round one.

(13) Siena over (4) Purdue
Since Robbie Hummell went down, the Boilermakers are 3-2. Their three wins came against two very bad teams (Indiana and Penn State, combined record 21-41) and Northwestern, who finished 7-11 in the Big 10. As for Siena, they’re the one team that made me look smart last year, by beating Ohio State (like I predicted) and losing to Louisville (like I predicted). I’m putting my faith in the Saints again.

(6) Notre Dame over (11) Old Dominion
Mike Brey, who was a longtime Duke assistant, was on the verge of watching his Fighting Irish fall flat and miss the tournament for the second year in a row. They were 17-10, losing to the bottom feeders of the Big East (Cincinnati, Connecticut, St. John’s and Rutgers). Then they went 6-1, beating four teams who are in the tournament. That’s our boy!

(3) Baylor over (14) Sam Houston
You really have to hand it to Coach Drew. Seven years ago Baylor basketball player, Carlton Dotson shot and killed teammate Patrick Dennehy. The coach at the time, Dave Bliss, the guy who first tried to blame the victim for his own death, was breaking major NCAA rules. The reality was, if any school needed to just shutdown their basketball program, it was the Bears. Yet, Drew still went to the school and has turned them into a legit Final Four team. Stunning and if he wasn’t in the same region as Duke, I’d be cheering for Baylor.

(10) St. Mary’s over (7) Richmond
Here at Big Duke Balls, we know guards win champions, but big men can produce first round upsets. St. Mary’s has a big kid. He’s 6’11, 260 pounds and his name is Omar Samhen. He scores 21ppg, grabs 11 boards, he blocks three shots a game and he’s a senior.

(2) Villanova over (15) Robert Morris
The Wildcats have struggled lately. They’ve lost six of ten games and the last time they beat a tournament team it was West Virginia back on February 8th. Yet for some reason, over half of ESPN’s crew has them reaching the final four. Man, this region is weak.


(1) Kansas over (16) Lehigh
The Jayhawks are this year’s North Carolina Tar Heels (from last year of course). They got it all, future NBA players, experience, size and one of the best point guards in the nation.

(9) N. Iowa (8) UNLV
On opening day, you should always watch out for the teams that can slow it down. That’s one thing the Panthers are good at. I’d like them better if they were an earlier game on Thursday. Yes, it matters. Trust me. I’ve been screwing this up for years.

(12) New Mexico State over (5) Michigan State
At this point I have zero 5/12 upsets. Kindda lame, isn’t it? Well, that ends now. At the beginning of the season, I had the Spartans returning to the Final Four. Yet, they’ve had to deal with injuries and suspensions down the stretch. They only went 6-5 down at the end, but look closer and those numbers are even less impressive. Two of those wins came against Penn State (11-20 on the year), one came against Michigan (15-17) and one against Indiana (10-21). The other win did come against Purdue, but that was without Hummell. With Hummell, the Spartans lost by 12 at home.

(4) Maryland over (13) Houston
Something tells me the Terps are going to be a popular first-round upset. Don’t underestimate a team that starts three seniors. I’m not saying they’re headed to the Final Four, but they can handle this Houston squad.

(6) Tennessee over (11) San Diego State
Sure they rolled over like dogs against Kentucky and sure they’ve had to deal with suspensions and sure San Diego State is a popular sleeper pick, but one of these teams has beaten both Kansas and Kentucky this year…and that team does not live in San Diego.

(3) Georgetown over (14) Ohio
Freeman, Clark and Monroe. Inside/outside = Dangerous.

(10) Georgia Tech over (7) Oklahoma State
Something tells me that Derrick Favors is peaking at the right moment. The question is, how will the Yellow Jackets avoid turning it over 25 times?

(2) Ohio State over (15) UC Santa Barb.
No team is hotter than the Buckeyes and no player is playing better than Evan Turner. Still, let’s not forget, this same group of players lost to Siena in the first round last year. They’ll advance in this one, but don’t tie yourself down in that bandwagon just yet.


(1) Syracuse over (16) Vermont
You remember the last time these two teams meet in the NCAA Tournament? I bet Jim Boeheim remembers, as No 13 seed Vermont upset No 4 seeded Syracuse in the opening round in 2005. Of course the Orange didn’t have Wes Johnson back then. Are we sure they’ll have him healthy this time?

(8) Gonzaga over (9) Florida State
I want to pick the Seminoles. I really do. The Bulldogs can be a bit overrated at times. The fact is, they’re only 1-3 against teams from BCS schools currently in the tournament, including an 0-2 mark against ACC teams (Wake, Duke). Still, Florida State’s loss to NC State showed me they’re still not ready for the big time.

(5) Butler over (12) UTEP
The Butler Bulldogs are 3-3 against teams in the tournament. They started off 0-3 (Minnesota, Clemson and Georgetown), but all the games were nail biters. Then they went 3-0, beating Ohio State, Xavier and Siena). They’ve also won 20-straight. Why am I telling you all this? I don’t know, I just figured you’d want to know.

(13) Murray State over (4) Vanderbelt
I always pick Murray State. Why? I’ll tell you why but you have to keep it a secret. Murray is my last name. Also, no team is more inconsistent than Vandy.

(6) Xavier over (11) Minnesota
On CBS, they showed Minnesota celebrating their selection into the tournament. Standing next to Tubby Smith was some fat guy celebrating, trying to get Tubby’s attention, but he was having none of it. There’s always one of these guys around, isn’t there…an overweight guy, who’s friends probably made him to the truffle shuffle growing up, most likely a booster, buying his way into the locker room? Of course he’s the first one calling for Smith’s head when the Gophers start to lose.

(3) Pittsburgh over (14) Oakland
Before you go filling in your bracket with Oakland upsetting the Pitt Panthers, I got some numbers for you. 18, 30, 31, 31, 32 and 24. What are they? Those are the margins of defeat Oakland has suffered against (in order) Wisconsin, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan State, Syracuse and lastly, my favorite, IUPUI. Yes, they lost to a school called IUPUI by 24.

(10) Florida over (7) BYU
Billy Donovan’s boys are back in the tournament for the first time (barely) since back-to-back titles. Up first is a BYU team, that hasn’t won a first-round tournament game in the 21st Century. I’m serious.

(2) Kansas State over (15) North Texas
Did you know that the Kansas State Wildcats are 26-4 against everyone and 0-3 against the Jayhawks?