If at first you don't succeed, pick Kansas to win NCAA Tournament again

Posted: March 15, 2011

A DECADE AGO, I learned a valuable lesson when I was absolutely certain Point Given would win the 2001 Kentucky Derby. The horse, instead, ran the worst race of his life. What did I get wrong? Still don't know, but I was still certain I was on the right horse. I picked the same horse to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Point Given won both easily.

The lesson applies to this bracket (.pdf). I was not certain Kansas was the best team last year, but I did think it was the most likely winner. KU was gone in the second round, done in by Northern Iowa.

Was I really that wrong? I still don't think so. Thus, I am going right back to Kansas, the team with the most answers. What concerns me is the two Big East teams in the Southwest bracket with them. I think Louisville could beat KU in the Sweet 16. I also think Notre Dame, a team I love, could beat Kansas in a potential Elite 8 game. However, I am mandated to make a selection. So, Kansas, with the Morris twins and two of about everything else as well, it is.

I think Pittsburgh is the most vulnerable of the No. 1 seeds. The Butler/Old Dominion winner could be dangerous in the second round of the Southeast. I also think either BYU or Florida in the bottom half of the bracket would be very dangerous for the Panthers. Not sure what happened to Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship game, but loved the way the Gators played down the stretch.

Defending champion Duke starts in Charlotte, but then would have to travel to Anaheim for the West Regional. It would be no great shock if the Blue Devils win it again. San Diego State certainly has no NCAA pedigree, but does have geography, starting in Tucson, Ariz., and then with a potential regional a few hours north of campus.

Ohio State has the most complete rotation. Its only losses were at Wisconsin and Purdue, two places where no team won all season. Some team will have to play great to beat the Buckeyes.

I wonder when Connecticut will crash. Should beat Bucknell in Washington, but those five games in 5 days may catch up with UConn at some point.

Round of 64 seed upsets - Missouri over Cincinnati, Belmont over Wisconsin, Gonzaga over St. John's.

Wisconsin is just about unbeatable at Kohl Center, average everywhere else. The Badgers' numbers go down dramatically when they leave home and Belmont (a team, not a track) is legit.

I think St. John's may have peaked 3 weeks ago. Gonzaga is way better than an 11 seed.

Send e-mail to jerardd@phillynews.com

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