The brackets were released on Sunday, as always, and Duke is a
#1 seed in what they are calling the Atlanta bracket. We broke the seeds down by
number to get a different look at the tournament. We hope we got everyone
in the right bracket, but the printout was kind of small. We caught a few
mistakes, and if we missed any, let us know.
Initially, we thought
Duke had a monster bracket, and it is tough, but part of the reason why it's so
tough is because of the following:
|2||Gonzaga||Miss. State||UConn||Okla State|
|8||Washington||Seton Hall||Alabama||Texas Tech|
|11||Utah||Air Force||W. Mich.||Richmond|
|14||No. Iowa||Princeton||UL-Lafayette||Central Florida|
|16||Lehigh/FL A&M||Alabama State||TX-San Antonio||Liberty|
No disrespect to Matta, Orr, Thompson or the coach at Air Force, whose name
we forget but who has done a brilliant job, but those guys have - we're just
doing this from memory, but they have what, 20 Final Fours between them?
Coach K has 9; Barnes has one; Huggins has one (we think that's right), Williams
has three or four, Olson has at least three, maybe four at Arizona and one at
Iowa, and Pitino had one at P.C. and what, three at Kentucky? That's an
The two seeds are pretty tough all the way across the board. Duke has
beaten three of the four three seeds already, and lost once to both Tech and
The four seeds are interesting too - Wake gave Cincinnati a good whipping in
Winston-Salem; we're obviously familiar with Maryland, and Kansas has had a
tough year adjusting to Bill Self's power game.
Fifth seeds: Florida is too high, Syracuse has played well down the stretch
and Boeheim says he "has a good feeling" about his team; P.C. isn't
someone we'd be thrilled to face, and Illinois, like Kansas, has had a somewhat
rocky adjustment to a new coach, though obviously not too rocky.
The field starts to thin out at the sixth seeds, with, in our opinion, only
UNC and Wisconsin being serious threats for the Final Four.
Michigan State, Xavier, DePaul and Memphis are the seven seeds, and while we
have always admired Xavier's program - they keep at a high level despite losing
their coaches (Staack to Wake Forest, Gillen to P.C.; Prosser to Wake, and soon
Matta to somewhere else) - we're not sure they are good enough this year, though
obviously they are plenty good enough to whip St. Joe's.
At the eighth seeds, we don't count on much from Washington or Alabama. Seton
Hall is dangerous - any team with Andre Barrett is dangerous - and Bob Knight
can always reach a high level, often when you least expect him to.
The ninth seeds are a good group - UAB did well in the C-USA, which turned
into a pretty good basketball league before the expansion frenzy ate it up;
Arizona is always dangerous, particularly when they are underestimated; you have
to be impressed with what Southern Illinois has accomplished, particularly since
their coach of last year is now upstate with the Illini - not a bad transition!;
and Charlotte always has moxy.
As far as the 10th seeds go, we don't take Nevada very seriously, but
Louisville could go on a rampage. Dayton is the program Oliver Purnell
built before going to Clemson, and they have continued to thrive. Dave
Odom has done an amazing job at South Carolina this year and may have deserved a
As for the 11's, we don't know much about Western Michigan, but those
directional schools from Michigan are frequently a pain. Utah lost their
coach in mideason, but have had a reasonable year, and Air Force has had a
brilliant campaign. And Richmond has a tradition of upsets including this
year's big win in Lawrence over Kansas.
The 12's are exceedingly dangerous - Pacific gave Duke a game in Alaska;
Murray State has a great tradition, as does BYU, and Manhattan, under Bobby
Gonzalez, is making waves. Look for him to move up very soon.
13's: we know nothing about IL-Chicago, but won't be surprised at an early
exit. ETSU is one of those little-known basketball schools. We'd
hate to face them in the first round. UTEP has a new coach who has done a
solid job, and UTEP has a huge basketball tradition, dating back to the 1966
upset of Kentucky at College Park.
14's: from what we've read, Northern Iowa seems to have a real sense of
team. Tech better not take them lightly. Princeton is exceedingly
dangerous,and not just because they're Princeton. Yes, they run the offense, but
they are more talented than your normal Princeton team. Not a nice draw at
all. Remember that earnest team which upset UCLA? And the one which
almost upset Georgetown? These guys have a lot more talent.
Of the 15's, only Valpo would scare us.
The 16's have never won a tournament game, and we're not sure this is the
year for it, either.