Tourney time. Who do you like for the Final 4 and to win it all? I'm going to take this bracket-by-bracket.
Midwest: I don't usually pick my own team because of the bad karma that comes with it, but I still haven't won an NT despite many, many opportunities, so I'm going to hope that mixing it up will be the difference, so I'm taking St. Mary's (TX) to win the Midwest over upstart Le Moyne College, led by jtheime1. Queens U. (NC) is a tough 2-seed here, but upsets always happen in D2 Iba. Undefeated and #7 ranked S. Dakota St. is a very, very tough 5-seed in this bracket too.
East: #5 seed St. Rose looks like a tough matchup for #1-seed Incarnate Word's 1 guard, 4 PF lineup. St. Rose plays outstanding defense and has just enough scoring to give Incarnate Word trouble here. I look for the final of this bracket to put 2 of the top D2 Iba defenses up against each other, with Wisconsin, Parkside taking this bracket over St. Rose in the final of the bracket.
South: New coach tcole23 took over Grand Canyon at its peak, with its 2 super classes of SRs and JRs. One can only imagine why robertspone left this group at this time. Grand Canyon scores in bunches, but I think their luck might run up when they face Florida Souther's stingy defense in round 2, with great athletes and defenders all over that roster, especially in the paint. Look for Belmont Abbey and Dominican to match up in the Elite 8, with Domincan taking this bracket as coach bvb24 appears to have them peaking at the right time with 16 straight wins after a 9-4 start.
West: This bracket is brutal, with oustanding coaches all over the place. Any time Bellarmine is a 13-seed in your bracket you should be worried. CSU, Stanislaus looks battle-tested coming out of the strong CCAA conference. Coach gopokes24 resume speaks for itself at Bryant, as does coach kelby_03's at Valdosta St, and burkboyz's at Northeastern St. (the TEN seed in this bracket), and daveredden's at Humboldt St. (who is probably a season away from making a deep run. bbunch might be the top coach in the history of D2 Iba at defending national champion Longwood. I'm taking another great coach in mmd1821's Hillsdale College to take this bracket behind a strong defense and just enough scoring (assuming they can get by 28-1 ELEVEN seed Minnesota, Duluth). Not sure who in this bracket slept with the chairman of the selection committee's wife, but I don't know that I've ever seen a tougher bracket in all my years in D2 Iba.
Final Four Matchup #1 - St. Mary's TX vs. Wisconsin, Parkside: Wisconsin, Parkside has had St. Mary's TX's number in the NT over the years. This is the season when that finally ends. These are 2 of the top defenses in D2 Iba this season, but St. Mary's TX has a bit more offensive diversity, which could be the difference in this matchup. I'm taking St. Mary's TX over Wisconsin, Parkside.
Final Four Marchup #2 - Hillsdale vs. Dominican: Hillsdale will have to get through a brutal bracket to get here, but Dominican will be tested as well. Look for the scoring duo of Thomas Harris and Kermit "The Frog" Day to put up just enough offense to get Dominican to the final.
National Championship Game - St. Mary's TX vs. Dominican: A heavyweight bout between 2 of the winningest coaches in the history of the D2 Iba NT. I'm calling my shot and hoping it doesn't backfire: St. Mary's TX wins the D2 Iba title, ending a well-documented streak of futility for yours truly in the NT. Yes folks, mduncanhogs will finally shed the title of winningest HD coach (as determined by winning percentage for active coaches with more than 1,500 career wins) who has never won an HD title. The inside-outside combo of C Mark Murphy and sharp-shooting PG Aurelio "Il Cecchino" Gallo prove too much to handle and St. Mary's TX finally cuts down the nets.
1/28/2014 9:55 AM (edited)