Keep it here for more Monkology on the NCAA Tournament. But some initial thoughts upon checking on the brackets, although I've not written out a bracket yet.
First, Duke got a plum seeding. Yes, that is what happens when you do what you're supposed to and win the ACC Tournament. But this is ridiculous: TEXAS as the #2 -- the same team Duke beat on a semi-neutral court by 31? And with only LSU (from the notsogreat SEC) and Syracuse (just qualified this week), there is no team that should beat Duke before the regional final. Duke is 10-1 in regional finals under Coach Krzyzewski. That's a weak 2-3-4-5 set Duke has in its region and if the Dookies do not win, something is just wrong with that team. I don't feel that comfortable that Texas will get through the first weekend. W. Va. got a bad seed. Upset special = of course I worry about SU going down again, but Iona is no easy one for LSU.
On an orange-flavored note, Syracuse got a slightly better matchup this year than it did last year! Then again, never take a 5-12 game for granted, as I'll show in a later post. Syracuse went from 2-9 against RPI top 50 teams and on the bubble to 6-9 and Big East Champs accomplishing a passel of milestones: first team to win four games in four days to win the conference tournament, lowest seed to win the tournament (SU holds the top/bottom three spots in that list -- #9 seed in '06, #6 seed in '81 and #5 seed in '92), lowest total margin of victory. I especially liked the team giving Gerry McNamara a T-shirt with "Overrated?!!!" on it after he won the Big East Tournament MVP award.
Second, the Oakland region looks like a Memphis invitational. Gonzaga and UCLA are weak 2-3 teams and I wonder if Indiana has the mental state to make a run. If so, IU is a sleeper for the Regional Final. The real talent is in the top half of the bracket -- Memphis plus underseeded KU and underseeded Pitt. Memphis may have a tougher second game against archrival Arkansas or glass slipper wearing Bucknell than it could in the regional final. That KU-Pitt game could be a war. Upset special = if there is one in this bracket, Xavier over Gonzaga.
Third, UConn has the toughest region. Tennessee isn't daunting as a #2 seed, but that doesn't matter because UNC will be a better bet to make the regional finals. With talented underperformer Michigan State at #6, dangerous teams at #5 (Washington) and #4 (Illinois) and that strong UNC team in the bottom of the draw, UConn will have some difficulty. I disagree with the commentators -- this is not a cinch for UConn. Upset special = Seton Hall over Wichita State.
Fourth, Villanova has a tough draw. BC got screwed again in the seeding with a #4 and lurks as a very difficult Sweet 16 team for 'Nova. Both are veteran teams, which means BC knows 'Nova very well because the Eagles were in the Big East last year. Then again, with 'Zona as a #8, 'Nova received no favors in round 2. On the bottom half of the bracket, the regional finalist should be a loser in the regional final -- OSU is the typical overrated Big Ten team and Florida hasn't made it past the first weekend since 2000, losing to lower seeds each of the last five years (including a 22-point loss as a #2 to a #7 in '03). Upset special = UWM to knock off Oklahoma.
First blush Final Four = Duke (argh), Kansas, UConn, BC. That's still in pencil.