Tuesday, 13 March 2007

NCAA Tournament Prediction: West Region

Midwest | WEST| East | South | Final Four


(1) Kansas vs. (16) Niagara
Niagara won the play-in game to get to this matchup. Unfortunately for them, that'll be the only game they come close to winning. Kansas is too talented and too deep.

(8) Kentucky vs. (9) Villanova
I like Kentucky and think they have some very nice talent, but I like Scottie Reynolds and Curtis Sumpter a little bit more.

(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Illinois
Admittedly, I am not completely confident about this pick. But the Illini are very god defensively, and I just think the Hokies struggles at the FT line (and maddening inconsistency) will come back to hurt them in this game.

(4) Southern Illinois vs. (13) Holy Cross
The Crusaders will be able to keep this close, but ultimately Jamaal Tatum will lead the Salukis into round 2.

(6) Duke vs. (11) VCU
A lot of people are calling for a VCU upset, and I'm not sure that's a bad pick, I just like Duke a little more. Certainly Eric Maynor and the full-court pressure will cause problems for the Dukies, but I think Duke will be able to slow things down enough to get VCU out of their comfort zone. Maybe this is me just having a hard time believing Coach K would lose in round 1, but I think a lot of people are overlooking Duke a little.

(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Wright St.
Wright St. can definitely give Pittsburgh some trouble, but I think Pitt will prevail in the end.

(7) Indiana vs. (10) Gonzaga
Interesting matchup here... everyone seems to be picking Gonzaga here, and I guess I agree. I love Pargo and Raivio, and I think the big men can do enough to slow down DJ White.

(2) UCLA vs. (15) Weber St.
The Big Sky champs have had a nice year, but I suspect it will end here.


(1) Kansas vs. (9) Villanova
Reynolds and Sumpter are nice, and Nardi can knock down some shots, but other than that there is not nearly enough offense to hang with the Jayhawks.

(4) Southern Illinois vs. (12) Illinois
This potential game could be the lowest scoring one of the Tourney. Seriously, first to 40 might win.

(3) Pittsburgh vs. (6) Duke
Pitt is not playing all that well right now (despite making it to the Big East Title Game), and they need production from Aaron Gray. I like Duke's defense here to shut down Pitt, and score just enough points to pull the mild upset.

(2) UCLA vs. (10) Gonzaga
A rematch from the Sweet 16 last year, this one won't be nearly as close.


(1) Kansas vs. (4) Southern Illinois
Salukis are a great defensive team, but at times they can become stagnant offensively. It's hard to do that and beat this Jayhawks team. I don't see them being able to slow down the game quite enough to beat Kansas.

(2) UCLA vs. (6) Duke
This will be a slowdown, grind-it-out game, and at this point, UCLA is simply better and more talented. Plus, it'll be played in San Jose, which is huge.


(1) Kansas vs. (2) UCLA
If this takes place, it could be the game of the Tournament. Kansas is more talented, but UCLA is battle-tested, great defensively, and they'll almost have a homecourt advantage with the location of this game. I like the Bruins to slow the game down, get it to a tempo that Kansas is not comfortable with, and head to Atlanta.


Midwest | WEST| East | South | Final Four