You can already hear Dickie V's voice, "This is college hoops baby, this is what it's all about! How bad do they want it? This guy's a prime time player, a Diaper Dandy!"
Easy, Dick. I'll make this easy on you and tell you who will emerge from the rubble right now.
UConn is a lock. They could have Duke, Memphis, Villanova and the Denver Nuggets in their bracket and still make it out alive. And they almost do. UConn will have to battle with the likes of Florida, Gonzaga and giant killer North Carolina in the best bracket this year. But it doesn't really matter. The Huskies will cruise to the Four, no problem.
Memphis is the weakest No. 1 seed of them all, but who's going to topple them in this bracket? Pittsburgh and George Washington are overrated. Oklahoma…sucks. UCLA and Ohio State are quality teams, but they're not Final Four material. Memphis gets to play in the semis by default. Thanks to the selection committee for making this bracket about exciting as that Bob Knight reality show.
Illinois is dangerous with a capital DEE. Bruce Weber has the Fighting Illini playing better than anyone expected and poised to make a deep run into the Madness. Point guard Dee Brown has the ability to drain the three, drive the lane and drop a Nash-ty looking dime at any point in the game. He's underrated, even with the share of hype he gets.
Michigan State has been disappointing all season, including a loss to lowly Minnesota in the latter part of the season. But you can't deny the fact they have three players who can go off for 20-plus on any given night. Team leader Maurice Ager has recovered from his mid-season shooting slump and Tom Izzo knows how to prepare a team for March.
If you want a Cinderella team, look no further than the SEC's Arkansas. The Razorbacks have quietly eliminated some of the country's best. The thing I like the most about this team though is that they know how to play in a close one. They beat Kansas by one, Alabama by two, Florida and Tennessee by four and lost to No. 3 seed LSU by a single point. Problem? Their bench averages lots of minutes, few points.
I have two quick ones.
Pittsburgh can't win on the road (five of their six losses were away games). So unless they move the Madness to their arena, they might be in trouble.
And finally, those losers down in Texas. Most hyped game of the year at your own place, (Duke vs. Texas) and you lose by 31. Don't worry though, that 17-point loss to Tennessee the following week really helped you save face. Later, Longhorns.