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More On The South And East

Picking upsets is easy but picking against Florida is not.

Will Florida Celebrate Again?
Will Florida Celebrate Again?
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

As promised, here's a closer look at the brackets, starting with the South and East, pointless though it is. Warren Buffett offered a billion for a perfect bracket; he could have just as easily made it a trillion. It's almost impossible to pull off.

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Nonetheless, here we go, although after so much realignment, you'll forgive us if we forget where everyone ended up.

We always try to focus on a few things, those things being primarily good coaching, good guard play, experience, defense and talent.

South: Florida qualifies on all counts although the Gators are not the most talented team in the field, not by a long shot. Even Billy Donovan only sees one NBA pick on his team, and Patric Young, he says, is "maybe" second round.

On their side of the bracket, hard-nosed Pitt could cause problems.

VCU is a one-trick pony and if you don't turn the ball over, and can maintain your composure,  the Rams are done.

We're not completely sold on UCLA, or Steve Alford frankly, but the Bruins are talented and are playing together. And they do have experience. We'll go 1-4 here.

The bottom half of the bracket is probably going to be more volatile.

How much do you think Dayton will enjoy a chance at beating Ohio State? How do you quantify that as an added emotional factor?

Western Michigan will take on Syracuse and while the Orange are in better health than we've seen in some time, Jim Boeheim has a long and glorious history of flubbing it early in the tournament: his teams have gone out by the second round 12 times since 1977. That's close to 30% of his appearances.

But the NCAA tournament in some ways is tailor-made for Tyler Ennis, whose value goes up in tight, close games.

We're not expecting Syracuse to win though the 'Cuse could make a deep run. We don't see an upset here.

Craig Neal and Johnny Dawkins competed in college when Neal was at Georgia Tech and Dawkins at Duke. They'll meet again as head coaches now.

New Mexico lost to Harvard and Tommy Amaker last year. It won't matter to his players, but we're sure Neal has made the connections.

Dawkins is an underrated coach who has had some real injury issues this year and largely overcome them. We like the Cardinal here.

Kansas should not struggle with Eastern Kentucky and we would expect them to emerge to face and defeat Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen.

East: Virginia should roll over Coastal Carolina. Clif Ellis has had a nice renaissance for the Chanticleers, but he's historically struggled against smart, disciplined teams.

Memphis vs. GW - that's going to be fun. Memphis hasn't lived up to the talent of its players. GW is hard-edged and tough. There could be an upset here, although 8/9 is a minimal upset.

Tommy Amaker has steadily built Harvard into a really good program. That'll pay off with an upset of Cincinnati.

Michigan State will have no such troubles with Delaware and we expect the Spartans will meet the Cavs.

Unlike everyone else apparently, we think Virginia would win that matchup. Actually, it would be interesting to look back and see how Dick Bennett's Wisconsin did against Michigan State since a lot of what Tony uses from his dad's system was there too, at least on defense.

In the closing weeks of the season, UNC showed some new stuff: aside from Marcus Paige and James Michael McAdoo, Brice Johnson became a significant contributor and JP Tokoto has begun to grow into his talent.

It's still basically a one-guard offense, but that guard is Paige, and he's a load. He's also a huge asset at the end of games.

We'd love to see Central beat Iowa State, but that's going to be tough. LeVelle Moton was on the radio the other day and said he thought Iowa State had the best offense in the tournament.

It's a bad draw for the Eagles.

UConn should take out St. Joe's and 'Nova should finish Milwaukee.

Iowa State can beat the offensively limited Heels, although Paige could reasonably be expected to be fired up for a game with his home state school. So between UConn and Villanova, we'd take UConn. Iowa State would advance to play Virginia in the regional championship.

We'll look at the West and Midwest tomorrow.