Tonight’s list is basically asking me to pick the bracket again from the Sweet 16. Now that my champion Virginia is out of the picture and my second work bracket champion Michigan State is out – I might as well re-pick. There is potential for some wacky Final Four participants with so many top seeds being knocked out.
I saw an article on ESPN that said it was time to start thinking about re-seeding the tournament once it hits the Sweet 16. I actually wouldn’t mind that. It would ruin picking brackets everywhere, but it seems like most of the craziness happens in the first two rounds anyway. This would give people a fresh start. It would also give teams a fresh start, and maybe change some top seeds around. ESPN had it seeded like this (old seed in parentheses):
1 – Villanova (1)
1 – Duke (2)
1 – Clemson (5)
1 – West Virginia (5)
2 – Kentucky (5)
2 – Nevada (7)
2 – Texas A&M (7)
2 – Texas Tech (3)
3 – Purdue (2)
3 – Kansas (1)
3 – Syracuse (11)
3 – Gonzaga (4)
4 – Florida State (9)
4 – Loyola (11)
4 – Michigan (3)
4 – Kansas State (9)
That would make the remaining games:
Nova vs. Kansas State
Texas Tech vs. Purdue
West Virginia vs. Florida State
Kentucky vs. Gonzaga
Duke vs. Michigan
Texas A&M vs. Syracuse
Clemson vs. Loyola
Nevada vs. Kansas
It’s an interesting thought. Kansas falling to a 3-seed? Purdue as well? I’m sure those teams wouldn’t be happy, but that’s what you get when you struggle as a top seed to double digit seeded teams.
But we can’t re-seed the bracket, so two regions are tough and the others are up for grabs. Here is how I see things going.
Projected Finish: Champion
Regional games: West Virginia > Texas Tech/Purdue
I like the way Villanova is playing. They put on a three-point shooting clinic against Alabama (which seems to happen a lot), and are the top team from the tough Big East. They are the highest seeded team left and for good reason. They will have a slightly tougher road as they face a top 5 seed or higher until the finals (unless Syracuse keeps winning, but are they really an 11?).
Miles Bridges is outstanding, Jalen Brunson is really good also, and they have a dynamic shooter off the bench in Donte DiVincenzo. They aren’t taking any team lightly after UMBC’s win and have yet to lose to a team outside the Big East, and I don’t see that trend changing as they are the last team left.
Projected Finish: Runner-up
Regional games: Kansas State > Loyola/Nevada
I feel like UK has the best chance to make it to the finals. They definitely have the easiest road strictly based on seeding. They should be playing a 1-seed in the Sweet 16, and instead are playing a 9 who beat a 16. Next they will play a 7-seed at best, and a 3-seed at best from the West.
Kentucky is Kentucky and even though they came in as the third highest seed from the improved SEC, they are playing lights out right now. They can shoot the three, and Calipari finally has his young team playing together.
Projected Finish: Final Four (lose to Nova)
Regional games: Syracuse > Kansas/Clemson
Duke would probably be second, but they have to meet Villanova in the Final Four which drops them to third. They have a tougher than usual 11-seed draw against Syracuse, and then will have to face Kansas most likely, but I think they are playing really well and neither of their first two games have been close. Kansas’ games have both been way closer than they wanted, which shows me they aren’t primed to make a run past the Elite 8.
Projected Finish: Final Four (lose to Kentucky)
Regional games: Florida State > Michigan/Texas A&M
I could totally see any team emerging from this quadrant, but I’m going with Gonzaga who was just in the finals last year and have proven year after year that they are a good tournament team. I think they handle FSU easy enough, then we’ll see which kind of team they have to face next. I’m leaning Texas A&M, but Michigan gets some rest after two heated games.
Projected Finish: Elite 8 (lose to Duke)
Regional games: Clemson > Duke/Syracuse
Kansas can beat Clemson, but I don’t think they can beat Duke. Even if they did, I don’t think they can beat Villanova. I’m sure Kansas and Nova are both thinking they are getting screwed by having the tougher regions when the 1- and 2-seeds on the other sides are all out.
Honorable Mention for #6 – Texas A&M
Projected Finish: Elite 8 (lose to Gonzaga)
Regional games: Michigan > Gonzaga/Florida State
I think the Aggies can play with anyone in the country, but they have shown at times that their frontcourt isn’t enough to win them basketball games. As long as they all play well and the big men do their job, then they are tough to beat. If they beat Michigan, they can beat Gonzaga or FSU, but I think they lose there to Gonzaga.