The Method Behind The
Breaking down the rationale behind my
“Great Tournament Challenge” picks
By Elliot Schwartz
It is my favorite time of the
year. March Madness is upon
us. This is the time when amazing
stories are born, and heroes are made.
This year it is my pleasure to be writing for Whatifsports.com alongside
Adam Hoff. Adam is a great guy who
knows a lot about sports in general, but specifically basketball. So this will be a great undertaking to
try and best him in the NCAA brackets.
Here is an explanation of the
picks you can find over in the “Great Tournament Challenge” column.
In the Atlanta bracket, Duke drew
the toughest assignment of the #1s.
Duke’s biggest weakness is playing a tough big man inside, and in the
Sweet Sixteen, LSU will come calling with Glenn Davis. This will be the end of the road for the
Dukies. Texas is a strong #2 seed, but I think Iowa is just the type of
team that can slow them down and dismantle them. I see Iowa playing LSU in the regional final. LSU will be tough to stop (if they don’t
beat themselves), and I see them making the final four for the first time since
Shaq went pro. This is my riskiest
pick because if LSU lost in the first round to Iona, I would be surprised for sure, but not totally
shocked because LSU is an all or nothing team. I think they dominated the SEC this year
going 14-2 and winning the conference by two whole games, and got jobbed as a 4
seed. They should be a 3 or even a
2 seed. Tennessee was WAY behind
them in the conference, yet got a #2.
In Oakland, I’ve got 4 things to say… U
C L A.
They are a young team who should have been ready to dominate next
year. However, they really came
together in the second half of the season, and for the last 3 weeks have been
the best team in the country. They
sailed through the PAC-10 tournament, winning games by ridiculous margins. I don’t foresee them blowing everyone
out here, but they matchup well against the other teams in the bracket. Memphis is a weak 1 seed and UCLA will likely
not have to play them in the regional final. The toughest test for the Bruins will
come from that porn star mustache of Adam Morrison and the Zags. I will be GLUED to my television
watching that Sweet Sixteen matchup of UCLA and Gonzaga. That could well be the best game of the
tournament. Kansas has been hot, and
I could be underestimating them by knocking them off after only 1 win, but I
think the Big East has been the best conference all season long, and I gave them
the benefit of the doubt when the game was a close call. I have Pitt beating Kansas and playing against UCLA after they beat Memphis. I have UCLA advancing to Indianapolis over the
Panthers. Another risky pick,
because UCLA has been an all or nothing team before. Another thing that scares me is that a
lot of others are picking UCLA, and that never bodes well for teams. I guess I was not the only one who
noticed that the Bruins breezed through the PAC-10.
In DC, there was not much to go
over. The #2 is a joke. Tennessee? Please. They are 5 seed material, and I think
Winthrop will shock few when they beat Tennessee and send them
home as a one and done 2 seed.
Washington is a nice team. Small, but nice. How in the WORLD would they beat
UConn? They wouldn’t. How would Illinois beat UConn? They wouldn’t. UNC? Not ready yet. They have too many inexperienced tourney
players to best the Huskies in the NCAAs.
UConn got the easiest bracket BY FAR. There is no one who can stay with them
inside. Michigan State would likely have the best chance of
beating the Huskies in a heads up matchup, but I don’t think they will get the
chance. North Carolina will beat
them one game short of having a chance to beat UConn. UConn will represent this bracket in
In Minneapolis, I think we can have the most
turnover of higher seeds. I have
advancing to the final four, but they also could be done early and I wouldn’t be
completely shocked. They are the
type of team which could beat anyone on Monday, and then proceed to lose to
anyone on Wednesday. The #1 seed,
Villanova, has an injury to their top player in Allan Ray. If he is not at 100%, it will be tough
to beat Boston
College. BC will likely not be afraid or
intimidated by Villanova. They
played with them in the Big East for years before going to the ACC, and I think
that BC is an underrated team. I
think UW-Milwaukee could pose trouble for Florida in the second round. If the Gators stumble, it would be here
Ohio State is a very tough team, but the athleticism of
do them in.
In the Final Four game between
UConn and Florida, class will show. UConn has too many matchup problems for
the Gators. They have a
6th man who would start on 90% of NCAA teams. They are too strong for the Gators, and
should dispose of them and get to the final game. UConn and Duke were the class of college
hoops this season, but the Dukies got a tough draw and a bad matchup in LSU
early on, while UConn did not. They
got a favorable draw, and will show up in the final game to take on…..
I am really going out on a limb
here. UCLA has not been to the
Final Four since Ed O’Bannon (remember him?). LSU is a tough team with Glenn Davis
leading the way at 6’9 320
lbs. but UCLA is a fast team with
great overall talent. I liken them
except they won’t have to play UConn to get to the final game. However, they will have to play UConn in
the final game, and that’s where it ends for the Westwood kids. UConn is the class of NCAA basketball
right now, and I think they will win the championship. I think it will be a tough battle, but
UCLA will lose 84-72 and UConn will win another championship.
Whatever happens, I know it will
be fun, entertaining, and most of what I wrote will be proved wrong by the
second weekend. Enjoy the
Elliot Schwartz is a legend in his own time
here at WhatifSports and soon to be honored as the second place finisher in The
Great Tournament Challenge. Of
course, there are only two participants.