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DBR's First Round Picks!

Okay, let's take a spin through the brackets.  The standard DBR caveats:

  • We look at experience, coaching, defense, guard play and inside strength when considering a team's chances.
  • Ultimately, it's really unusual for a team outside the BCS conferences to go past the Sweet 16.
  • It's impossible to really know anything about a team like North Dakota State or Siena.
  • There's no point in trying to go more than one round at a time because one bad pick screws everything up.

That said, let's go, starting with the Midwest

  • No play-in team has ever won and it's not happening this year:  Louisville.
  • Ohio State has suffered as much as anyone from early entry lately, but they still have talent.  Siena has experience, though, and that sometimes makes for an upset.  We rate this as a tossup, but let's go with Siena.
  • Arizona is fading fast and Utah finished hot.  Hard to argue there. Utah.
  • A lot of people are picking Cleveland State to upset Wake, but here's the thing: Wake can be contained offensively, but Cleveland State has a weak offense. If you slow them down and make them shoot outside, you can beat Wake, but you still have to score. So Wake in this one.
  • Dayton, like ETSU is an underappreciated basketball school. Plus they know how to win close games.  We've seen how West Virginia (or really Bob Huggins-coached teams) can struggle in tight, conservative games.  Dayton has thrived in them. So we'll call the upset here.
  • We can't see North Dakota State beating Kansas unless KU just doesn't show up.
  • We admire B.C.'s program a lot.  USC? Not so much. They tend to build erratically, and we've never been sold on Tim Floyd as a coach.  So we'll take B.C.
  • Michigan State will dominate Robert Morris on the boards and win largely on that and defense.

On To The West

Chattanooga has no chance against UConn.

We'll take BYU over Texas A&M.  The Mountain West is a great conference and they've finished well. A&M is tough but we like BYU here.

We saw the Northern Iowa-Illinois State game in the MVC Finals.  Purdue should win - we expect their defense to pull them through - but if NIU keeps it close, they can win.  But we'll take Purdue.

Mississippi State vs. Washington.  Defense over offense, so we'll take MSU here.

Utah State might be vulnerable to a press and Marquette has guys to do it. But Dominic James is out for the season. Hmmm....let's take an upset here.

Cornell will get Creamed by Mizzou.

Mike Montgomery is a better coach than Gary Williams, who willed his team in.  We'll take Cal here.

Memphis over Northridge.

On To The East

  • While we don't think ETSU is going to knock off Pitt, they're an underrated basketball school.  Don't be shocked if they keep it close for a half or more.  They have more tradition than a lot of people realize.
  • Oklahoma State over Tennessee - defense over offense, patience over chaos. It's likely to be relevant patience, but Tennessee has less and should lose here.
  • Wisconsin is huge, always is, but ponderous.  Solomon Alabi will get banged around, but Toney Douglas won't.  Neither will Derwin Kitchen.  Both guys should fly past their defenders.
  • Xavier over Portland State. They haven't really replaced Drew Lavender, but that won't matter here.
  • UCLA over VCU.  There seem to be two competing schools of thought here: 1) UCLA has lost a lot, and 2) VCU beat Duke a couple of years ago.  Ben Howland is a phenomenal defensive coach.  We'll take the Bruins here.
  • It's hard to pick American over Villanova so we won't.
  • Texas should beat Minnesota. They're experienced and are good defensively.  Minnesota wouldn't be a shock here, but we like Texas.
  • We'll roll the dice and take Duke over Binghamton, but be warned: these guys have more talent than you'd expect.  Kevin Broadus is following in Tark's footsteps and gambling on talented if troubled transfers and JUCOs.  They're not a typical 15.

On To The South

  • Even if Ty Lawson doesn't play, and even if Radford keeps it close, they can't control Tyler Hansbrough at the end.  And it won't be close.
  • LSU and Butler is a tough one to figure if you don't know both teams.  What we do know is Butler has been incredibly impressive and Trent Johnson is making Joe Alleva look really good. We have a soft spot for Butler, so we'll take the Bulldogs.
  • Illinois lost their best defender and Western Kentucky, like Butler and a few other smaller schools in this field, gets basketball.  WKU is a basketball school to the bone.  They've been solid for decades, and when they haven't been, they straighten things out and get good again.  We'll go with them.
  • Gonzaga is upset-prone, have been for years, but we don't think it'll be Akron (look for Western Kentucky to do the honors).
  • Arizona State and Temple is a great game for the sleep deprived community, but for the rest of us, a 2:45 game is worse than Thanksgiving dinner. Might as well plan naptime now. When you wake up, we'd expect Temple to win, given Herb Sendek's tradition of success in the postseason.
  • There's no way Syracuse should lose to Stephen F. Austin.  Right? Well, Austin is a really good defensive team, and Syracuse has blown it on occasion.  But they're still swelling with pride over their gutty Big East tourney run.  Kings of Overtime!  They should win here too.
  • Clemson and Michigan.  Wow, great game...can Clemson get past their late mediocre play?  The seniors seem determined to do it.  Can they master the 1-3-1 Michigan likes to run?  They can ask Duke and Maryland for advice. Better question: can they disrupt the offense - control the backdoor and the three point shot?  Because if that offense gets going, it's impossible to stop.  Our gut says Michigan, but we see experience and a desire for redemption in Clemson, so, against our better judgment, we'll take the Tigers.
  • Morgan State couldn't stop Blake Griffin with three defenders. And then there's the rest of Oklahoma's team which is also pretty good.  So OU can say see you to Morgan State.
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