As I predict on virtually an annual basis, most everyone’s NCAA March Madness bracket is already a mess after the first weekend. Mine took a minor beating. Let me review my selections real quick before I re-seed the teams from what I saw last weekend.
I am still doing well in the East. I went chalk here with number one seed Villanova. Like predicted, they will have a tough test in Sweet 16 with West Virginia. My surprise pick, Purdue, has survived but has to play without big man Isaac Haas the rest of the way due to a fractured elbow.
I had Virginia coming out of the South and we all know what happened to them. The Cavaliers became the first number-one seed to drop a first round game to a 16 seed, Maryland at Baltimore County. In case you didn’t know it, UMBC is a commuter school that was best known for its chess program. Not any more. Arizona was also upset in the region. About all that is left in this region is Kentucky.
The Midwest is moving along as planned except third seed Michigan State was upset by Syracuse. Kansas is the top seed but No. 2 seed Duke has been very impressive in their two wins.
I had Michigan State coming out of here. I am now convinced Duke will beat Kansas. I had Michigan coming out of the West and the Wolverines are still alive. Gonzaga has impressed as has Texas A&M who completely dominated North Carolina.
If I could reseed the Sweet 16 heading into play tonight, I would stick with my pick, Villanova, at number one.
I would move Duke up to number two. Senior Grayson Allen is leading a Blue Devils offense that has found their three-point shooting touch.
Kentucky also moved up for me, primarily due to having a relatively easy run to the Final Four. Due to Virginia, Tennessee, and Arizona being upset, the Wildcats have a great opportunity to win a title. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as one of the best players left in the field. The freshman averaged 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists in a pair of wins over Davidson and Buffalo.
My number four seed is now Texas A&M. Not only did the Aggies upset No. 2 seed North Carolina, they dominated the Tar Heels.
I am going with Kansas as my fifth seed. The Jayhawks are not as talented as other Bill Self coached teams that have disappointed many in past tourneys. Kansas will have to beat Duke in order to reach the Final Four. The Jayhawks have historically played better in March as underdogs. They will not be favored versus Duke so this could be the year for Kansas.
Gonzaga, last year’s runner-up, are my sixth seed. The Zags have experience on their side and should advance with a victory over Florida State.
I have dropped Michigan down to my seventh seed. The Wolverines looked really good while winning the Big Ten title. But they have struggled thus far in the NCAA’s, barely beating Houston after topping Montana in first round action. I am not sure Michigan can advance against the Texas A&M team I saw beat North Carolina.
Let me close my re-seeding with putting Purdue at the number eight slot. I liked the Boilermakers coming in but an injury to senior Isaac Haas will eventually hurt this senior laden team that still may make a run.