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The Method Behind The Madness


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.  Go figure,


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 Indy.


In Minneapolis, I think we can have the most turnover of higher seeds.  I have Florida 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 against UW-Milwaukee.  Ohio State is a very tough team, but the athleticism of Florida will 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 to Florida, 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 games!


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.

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