I have filled out my 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship bracket. Warning: If you want to win your office pool, do not use this as a guide. Trust me. For entertainment purposes only.
So let’s break down my bracket by round.
You can count on a 12-5 upset most every year, and we’ll probably have one this weekend. But I didn’t pick one. I didn’t even have to think that hard about any of them. I did, however, take No. 13 seed Siena over No. 4 Purdue, which a lot of people have done. I hear Siena’s not quite as good as last year, but Purdue is minus Robbie Hummel, and got throttled by Minnesota in the Big 10 Tournament.
I did pick some minor upsets: San Diego State (11) over Tennessee (6); Missouri (10) over Clemson (7); and Old Dominion (11) over Notre Dame (6).
This round seemed easier to pick, which means this is where my bracket will completely crumble. The lone “upset” is Marquette (6) over New Mexico (3). Also, I took Butler (5) over Vanderbilt (4). They say to expect a lot of upsets this year, but apparently I’m not buying it.
THIRD ROUND (Sweet 16)
I’ve got all the higher seeds winning here. A lot of people seem to have Baylor (3) going deep, but I took Villanova (2) despite its recent struggles. Those struggles have come in the Big East, of course.
FOURTH ROUND (Elite 8)
Here’s who I’ve got: Kansas, Ohio State, Syracuse, Kansas State, Kentucky, West Virginia, Duke and Villanova. So that’s three teams from the Big East, two from the Big 12, one from the ACC, one from the Big 10, and one from the SEC. That seems about right.
This is where things get a little wacky in my bracket. I take Kansas over Ohio State – OK, solid pick – and Kentucky over West Virginia – feel good about that, too. But I continue to ride Syracuse and its depth issues past Kansas State (a team I really like) and Villanova over Duke.
Which gives us these matchups in Indianapolis: Kansas vs. Syracuse, Kentucky vs. Villanova. I take the Orange once again, for no logical reason. But if the Syracuse center, Arinze Onuaku, is still slowed by the injury that’s keeping him out this week, it could be a different story. As for the other matchup, I think Kentucky will just be too much inside for the other Wildcats.
So here you are, my title game matchup: Syracuse vs. Kentucky. The Wildcats have shown all year an uncanny ability to come through in clutch moments. Syracuse has exceptional frontcourt play and an outstanding coach, Jim Boeheim, who employs a 2-3 zone that can bother a team like UK, which struggles with outside shooting.
My prediction: Syracuse 79, Kentucky 70.