My deliberations are over, my bracket is done and I am ready for a big day of hoops tomorrow. I'll break it down by regions in each post, but to see the entire thing click here:
East Region: In the East, I decided to go with North Carolina, picking the chalk to come out of the region. UNC is a great team, that is probably the best offensive squad in the tournament and has improved its defensive play as of late. With Tyler Hansbrough inside and Ty Lawson back outside, the Tar Heels will not be stopped in what is arguably the easiest region for the number one seed.
In the first round, I have UNC beating Mt. St. Mary's easily, an extremely talented Indiana team knocking off Arkansas, Notre Dame over George Mason, Washington State over Winthrop, St. Joseph's upsetting Oklahoma, Louisville beating Boise State, South Alabama in a small upset over Butler in a matchup of mid-majors and Tennessee breezing past American.
A couple of tough choices in the first round. Indiana has a team that could legitimately upset UNC, but also could lose in the first round. The Hoosiers definitely have the talent, but it will depend on how functional they can be. In the end, talent will lead them to the second round.
South Alabama and Butler is really a toss up in my opinion. Both teams had great years, but I think that Team USA led by senior Demetric Bennett and his 20 points per game will get the upset win.
Meanwhile the bigger upset will be St. Joe's over Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a good team, with Blake Griffin leading the way, but the Hawks will be too much for them. Ahmad Nivins, star of the St. Anthony's team featured in The Miracle of St. Anthony's, and Pat Calathes will lead them to the second round.
In the second round I have North Carolina over Indiana in a tough battle, Notre Dame over Washington State, Louisville over St. Joseph's and Tennessee over South Alabama.
Tennessee over South Alabama is really the only game I have full confidence in. The toughest game for me to pick was Louisville-St. Joe's. I really like this Hawks team and could definitely see them pulling off the upset.
UNC over Notre Dame in the Sweet 16 and Tennessee over Louisville.
Then UNC over Tennessee.