Thursday, March 20, 2008

Titans and Tiny Teacups: NCAA Tournament Predictions Part 1

Today, I continue my 2-out-of-3 year tradition of posting my NCAA tournament predictions here, incorporating both basketball analysis and personal history. Now, the "predicting winners based on funny stories and arbitrary criteria" concept has been recreated in way too many blogs and other places for me to recreate my lengthy story-laded 2005 and 2007 entries. Besides, so many of the same teams are in it this year and I'm running out of stories. So you'll get my actual first round predictions today and tomorrow, with short "because" sentence fragments and a (funny?) anecdote or two where appropriate.

Winners are in bold.

Today's games:

No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 14 Georgia. Because Georgia has lost more games than it's won.
No. 6 Purdue vs. No. 11 Baylor. Because Purdue is in the Big Ten.
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Belmont. Because Duke is, sadly, better.
No. 7 West Virginia vs. No. 10 Arizona. Because Arizona is deceptively good, better than its record indicates.

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Portland St. Because Kansas is really good. And I really want Portland State to win. I spent a Saturday afternoon on that campus once. It's really cool. I'd love to live in the tree-lined streets around campus. So, my heart is with PSU. But Kansas is Kansas.
No. 8 UNLV vs. No. 9 Kent State. Because I just saw a replay of the UNLV-Duke final from 1990 when I was at the gym and damn that team was fun to watch.
No. 6 USC vs. No. 11 Kansas State. Because O.J. Mayo keeps getting better. Because I want campus morale to be high.
No. 3 Wisconsin vs. No. 14 Cal. State Fullerton. Because I went to school at Fullerton once and I'm part of the "Titan Family." Because they have good teachers and ample parking. Because Madison let me down. (note: a USC/Fullerton 2nd round game would blow my mind, due to competing allegiances.)

No. 5 Michigan St. vs. No. 12 Temple. Because Purdue is in the Big Ten.
No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. No. 13 Oral Roberts. Just because.
No. 4 Washington St. vs. No. 13 Winthrop. Because despite my lingering bitterness over being "laid off" by a WSU miniature-teacup-collecting alumnus, they're still a good team.
No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 George Mason. Because 5 is a higher seed than 12. Also, my friend Jim went to Notre Dame long ago and I visited him in South Bend once and it was kind of cool.

No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Kentucky. Because Kentucky doesn't belong in the tournament.
No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 14 Cornell. Because Stanford is really really good.
No. 8 Brigham Young vs. No. 9 Texas A&M. Because Big Love is a good show.
No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 16 Mississippi Valley St. Because Kevin Love is a good player.

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