Thursday, March 16, 2006

Let the Madness Begin

It's about two hours until the 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament tips off and I couldn't be happier. Not only have I caught up on work enough that I can enjoy the games relatively guilt-free, but CBS is allowing viewers to watch games outside their viewing region via on-line streams.

That said, it's time to make sure my picks are date and time stamped so I can't be accused of shenanigans later on. Yes, I do play about five or six brackets in various pools (for entertainment purposes only, of course) but I'm not one of those people who picks a 15 over a 2 on one of their 23 brackets and spends the rest of the tourney crowing about their hoops-predicting skills.

And, for the record, I am picking pesky Winthrop (a 15 seed) to drop the bomb and send the Tennessee Vols (a head scratcher of a 2 seed if ever there was one) packing.

I won't bore you with every pick, but here's my Sweet Sixteen: Duke, LSU, West Virginia, Texas, Memphis, Kansas, Gonzaga, UCLA, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, Wichita State, Villanova, Boston College, Oklahoma and Georgetown.

The Elite Eight (a name I've never liked and apparently nobody else does since people seem to prefer Regional Finals): LSU, Texas, Kansas, UCLA, UConn, UNC, BC and Georgetown.

In the Final Four it'll be Texas over Kansas and Connecticut over BC with Connecticut beating Texas in the National Championship game.

My other potential championship scenarios? Duke over BC, but I don't see this -- Duke is too beatable at this time of year. If a team can stop Reddick (which tourney teams have done year in and year out) the Blue Devils have nobody else to carry them, unless you count the overrated Sheldon Williams, which I don't. Another finals matchup that wouldn't shock me is Texas/BC (in which I give Texas the upper hand due to their senior leadership) and even a Duke/Ohio State game. Again, I don't think Duke has the firepower to get there but I won't count out Coach K.

Let the games begin.

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