Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NCAA First-Round Predictions ... In 16 Words a Piece

Here are the matchups, in order of tipoff time. I've boldened my pick for the winner; to make it easy, the only first-round upsets I have are Old Diminion over Notre Dame, St. Mary's over Richmond, Northern Iowa over UNLV, and Mizzou over Clemson. All start times are Central.

Now excuse me while I wash this chalk off my fingers before MARCH MADNESS commences. -AJ


10 Florida vs. 7 BYU; 11:20 a.m. Oklahoma City (West regional)
Stormin' Mormons have one heck of a player in Jimmer Fredette; Gators nearly missed the NCAAs

11 Old Dominion vs. 6 Notre Dame; 11:25 a.m. New Orleans (South)
Don't trust the Fighting Irish; can't forget they were nowhere near tourney contention before hot streak

15 Robert Morris vs. 2 Villanova; 11:30 a.m. Providence (South)
Robert Morris is a hockey school. And an 18th-century financier. Looked it up on Wikipedia

13 Murray State vs. 4 Vanderbilt; 1:30 p.m. San Jose (West)
I don't pick teams to win if I have no idea where its campus is located

15 North Texas vs. 2 Kansas State; 1:40 p.m. Oklahoma City (West)
I do know where North Texas is located; Texas. North part of the state. But still

14 Sam Houston State vs. 3 Baylor; 1:45 p.m. New Orleans (South)
Gotta love those intrastate matchups. Could be start of a long run for the Waco kids

10 St. Mary’s vs. 7 Richmond; 1:50 p.m. Providence (South)
Wait, the Gaels are flying cross-country? Yuck ... this pick might have been a mistake. Whoops

12 UTEP vs. 5 Butler; 3:45 p.m. San Jose (West)
I'm not sucking the El Paso popsicle. Butler's the one used to busting brackets via wins

9 Northern Iowa vs. 8 UNLV; 6:10 p.m. Oklahoma City (Midwest)
Runnin' Rebels aren't what they used to be; Ben Jacobson's Panthers feel disrespected by their seed

16 East Tennessee State vs. 1 Kentucky; 6:15 p.m. New Orleans (East)
Take out the "East" and "State", and we've got a great rivalry! Anyone wanna bite? Anyone?

11 Washington vs. 6 Marquette; 6:20 p.m. San Jose (East)
Battle-tested Big East team versus Pac-10 dreg lucky to be dancing. Take those Golden Eagles

14 Ohio vs. 3 Georgetown; 6:25 p.m. Providence (Midwest)
Still can't believe the Hoyas were just an 8-seed in conference tournament. That league is loaded

16 Lehigh vs. 1 Kansas; 8:30 p.m. Oklahoma City (Midwest)
You're gonna make me write 16 words about this? Really? Are ya? PUNK?!?! There. 16 words

9 Wake Forest vs. 8 Texas; 8:35 p.m. New Orleans (East)
Longhorns have been in freefall for awhile. But Demon Deacons are proning to throwing in towel

14 Montana vs. 3 New Mexico; 8:40 p.m. San Jose (East)
Ya think Iowa fans are wishing Steve Alford were still around? Lobos are glad he's there

11 San Diego State vs. 6 Tennessee; 8:45 p.m. Providence (Midwest)
Aztecs are another trendy option, but I'll go with the big-conference tourney-experienced team, thanks



FRIDAY, Mar. 19

15 Morgan State vs. 2 West Virginia; 11:15 p.m. Buffalo (East)
Now I know why Huggins always wears jumpsuits. His team makes him sweat waaaaaaay too much

11 Minnesota vs. 6 Xavier; 11:25 p.m. Milwaukee (West)
Gophers, honestly, shouldn't be in this position. Illinois belongs in the tournament, not necessarily Tubby's crew

12 Cornell vs. 5 Temple; 11:30 p.m. Jacksonville (East)
Big Red could be a tough matchup, but Owls have played solidly from wire to wire

13 Siena vs. 4 Purdue; 1:30 p.m. Spokane (South)
Robbie Hummel does not a full team make. Moore, Johnson, Kramer, Grant, Jackson also fairly decent

10 Missouri vs. 7 Clemson; 1:35 p.m. Buffalo (East)
Clash of the Tigers; haven't picked many upsets, so I'll go with the little bro's school

14 Oakland vs. 3 Pittsburgh; 1:45 p.m. Milwaukee (West)
Big East has laid giant stinker in this tournament. Bad news for my Final Four Panthers?

13 Wofford vs. 4 Wisconsin; 1:50 p.m. Jacksonville (East)
Terriers might nip at Badger heels, but Bo Ryan rarely loses to those underdogs in March

12 Utah State vs. 5 Texas A&M; 3:45 p.m. Spokane (South)
Clash of the Aggies: USU was last team in, why so quick to undermine Big XII?

9 Florida State vs. 8 Gonzaga; 6:10 p.m. Buffalo (West)
Zags, Noles from opposite sides of the country. Part of what makes March Madness so mad

10 Georgia Tech vs. 7 Oklahoma State; 6:15 p.m. Milwaukee (Midwest)
Yellow Jackets gave da Dukies a run in ACC tournament, but Cowboys' James Anderson is legit

12 New Mexico State vs. 5 Michigan State; 6:20 p.m. Spokane (Midwest)
And so begins Izzo's quiet dominance following Big Ten tourney flameout; Sparty could make extended run

16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. 1 Duke; 6:25 p.m. Jacksonville (South)
Probably wouldn't believe me if I said I have Arkansas-Pine Bluff making Final Four, huh?

16 Vermont vs. 1 Syracuse; 8:30 p.m. Buffalo (West)
Ditto the above statement, only insert Vermont. Time for 'Cuse to get rid of inconsistent play

15 UC-Santa Barbara vs. 2 Ohio State; 8:35 p.m. Milwaukee (Midwest)
By the way, all five Big Ten teams are playing Friday. Over/under on winners: 3.5

13 Houston vs. 4 Maryland; 8:40 p.m. Spokane (Midwest)
Maryland's Greivis Vazquez, meet Houston's Aubrey Coleman. The country expects a wonderful, SportsCenter-caliber scoring duel

9 Louisville vs. 8 California; 8:45 p.m. Jacksonville (South)
Big East caps an unholy, nightmarish first round. Pac-10 caps a best-case scenario opening slate

FIRST-ROUND RESULTS: 26-of-32; 15 of Sweet 16, entire Elite 8 in tact

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