Wednesday, March 15, 2006

NCAA: Minneapolis Region

1. Villanova'Nova'Nova'Nova'Nova
16. Monmouth
8. ArizonaArizona
9. Wisconsin
5. NevadaNevadaBC
12. Montana
4. Boston CollegeBC
13. Pacific
6. OklahomaWisconsin-MilFloridaG-Town
11. Wisconsin-Milwaukee
3. FloridaFlorida
14. Southern Alabama
7. GeorgetownG-TownG-Town
10. Northern Iowa
2. Ohio Davidson

Yes, I'm picking Wisconsin-Milwaukee solely based on their upsets from last year. I'm not overly impressed with Oklahoma and couldn't find any other viable upsets in this region, so they made the most sense. Most of the other teams seem clear cut above their first round opponents, and since this is the strongest region, I'm confident in picking most of them to win in Round 1.

I'll admit my bias here -- I love Villanova. They play a different game, starting four guards, and I think that could play to their benefit in the tournament. Remember, last year they nearly outlasted UNC, and that was without Curtis Sumpter. They've been sans Sumpter the entire year, and still definitively got a No. 1 seed. Their test will be against BC, who could have the answer to their confusing scheme in the form of Jared Dudley. While I despise the guy, I can't deny his talent and aggressiveness. If Nova doesn't win this region, BC will.

Georgetown overtaking Ohio St. was as near a no-brainer as a 2-7 game can get, for me at least. The Hoyas have been impressive this year, while Ohio St. has run amok in a much lesser conference. The same logic applies to the Hoyas potential meeting with Florida in the Sweet 16, as I'm just not impressed with Florida, despite their run to the SEC crown. Remember, it was South Carolina they defeated for the title. While SC was hot leading up the game, I believe this was more a regression to the mean than Florida overtaking a hot team. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see Florida drop to the winner of Oklahoma vs. Milwaukee.