NCAA Tournament 2012: Love Murray State, Syracuse

Mar 3, 2012; Nashville,TN, USA; Murray State Racers players celebrate after defeating the Tennessee State Tigers 54-52 in the finals of the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference tournament at Municipal Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

I hate my bracket. I zipped through it this morning dutifully filling out every game with an instant gut-reaction check mark. Didn’t analyze, didn’t agonize, just swiftly marked who I thought would win which game. That’s why I hate my bracket. I didn’t vote for many upsets, or hardly any. And you know that’s got to be the wrong approach for predicting the NCAA tournament.

These are some of the things I ended up with: Michigan State winning it all. Three No. 1 seeds in the Final Four. No team like Butler or Virginia Commonwealth delighting the nation with an unheralded romp through the first several rounds. Probably the biggest upsets I picked were Murray State over Marquette and Missouri.

Maybe I just have a headache from the conference tournament results that had Syracuse losing, North Carolina losing, Kentucky losing, and Xavier losing (St. Bonaventure? Really?).

So whatever you do, don’t listen to me. Just to show how unreliable crazy it is to pick the NCAA bracket doings, last year after the first week I had almost the entire left side of the bracket right and the entire right side wrong.

Here’s a cross-section of impressions, likes, dislikes, gut feelings, hopeless feelings and close-your-eyes-and-point-your-finger feelings.

Games I would like to see. 1) Western Kentucky (having beaten Mississippi Valley State in one of those four-first round games) upsetting Kentucky. 2) Norfolk State upsetting Missouri. 3) Lamar or Vermont upsetting North Carolina. 4) Loyola of Maryland upsetting Ohio State. 5) Harvard upsetting Vanderbilt. Chances of any of the first three occuring, 0 percent. Chances of the fourth one happening, 5 percent. Chances of the last one happening, 15 percent.

If I could pick one team in the field to win it all that would be the most fun for college basketball, it would be Murray State. That’s the 30-1 Racers who year after year win their league and then go down in flames in the NCAAs.

Teams that I would like to see do well in the tournament, even if they don’t win it all: 1) Syracuse. One of Jim Boeheim’s best bunches and I would never begrudge him a second NCAA title.  2) Indiana. Tom Crean has completed the Hoosier turn-around with a 25-win season. 3) Xavier. Always doing great things in their league. 4) Gonzaga. Everybody’s favorite mid-major, whatever that means anymore. 5) Belmont (27-7). Partially because no one knows where they are from (Nashville) and no one knows who they are (the Bruins).

Same old teams that will probably do well in the tournament because they do every year, boring or not: 1) Kentucky. 2) Duke. 3) North Carolina. 4) Kansas. 5) Louisville.

A few other tidbits: Colorado (Colorado?) won the Pac-12 tournament. Colorado shouldn’t even be in the Pac-12. It isn’t geographically Pac enough. New Mexico and New Mexico State are both in the field. All business stops within the borders of that state if they somehow maneuver into playing one another down the road. Same for Florida and Florida State (one of the hottest teams going into the NCAAs). Rick Majerus is back in the tournament at the helm of St. Louis. For the second year in a row, nobody is mentioning Virginia Commonwealth under Shaka Smart as any type of threat. Last year the Rams made it to the Final Four. This year they are 28-6.

Worst oversights: An NCAA tournament wouldn’t be an NCAA tournament if it didn’t appear that some school was shafted because it did not make it into the field. This year the egregious oversights are limited, but Drexel of Philadelphia, 27-6, was No. 1 on the offended parade.

Did I mention that I hate my bracket? I should tear it up and start fresh.

Topics: Colorado, Jim Boeheim, Kentucky, Michigan State, Murray State, Ncaa Tournament, North Carolina, Pac 12, Rick Majerus, Shaka Smart, Syracuse, Tom Crean

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