The 2012 NCAA Tournament will get underway this week. While the First Four will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Round of 64 will kick off on Thursday and this is where the predictions truly begin.
I may not know a lot about college basketball, but even I know that the South Region is by far the weakest of all of the brackets. They probably should have just gone ahead and called this the "North Carolina vs. Kansas Region" because it's hard to imagine a different outcome emerging from this bracket.
Having said that, here's the predictions, featuring mostly a bunch of jokes.
No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 16 Lamar Cardinals or Vermont Catamounts: It doesn't really matter which team wins their First Four game, because the Tar Heels are going to stampede all over them. Also, what the hell is a "catamount"? Is that like when He-Man rides Battle Kat?
No. 8 Creighton Bluejays vs. No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide: The state of Alabama will likely burn to the ground if the Tide (local pronunciation: TAAAHHHHHD) is upended by a team called the "Bluejays." So my pick is the Bluejays.
No. 5 Temple Owls vs. No. 12 California Golden Bears or South Florida Bulls: It's entirely possible that this could be the one First Four team that could win a second-round game. Neither Cal nor USF is any slouch and certainly has it in them to defeat a No. 5 seed. Having said that, I think Temple is going to win this one.
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 13 Ohio Bobcats: Wolverine is a cooler superhero than the Bobcat, by quite a wide margin. Mostly because there's no superhero called "The Bobcat," but that's irrelevant. Michigan will win this one easily.
No. 6 San Diego St. Aztecs vs. No. 11 N.C. State Wolfpack: The Aztecs were clearly a better team this year than were the Wolfpack, but this game could easily go either way. Still, my gut says Aztecs, who will get the bum's rush in the subsequent round.
No. 7 St. Mary's, Calif. Gaels vs. No. 10 Purdue Boilermakers: St. Mary's got a tough draw as the seventh seed here. The Boilermakers are one of those never-say-die teams that is difficult to put away, but I think the Gaels have it in them to advance here.
No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 15 Detroit Titans: I feel as though Kansas should have been the No. 1 seed in this region. Given their subdued (AKA seething) reaction to the seeding, it's clear they felt the same way. They are going to put an ungodly beating on this poor Detroit team and the selection committee have only themselves to blame.
So just go ahead and pick UNC and KU. After that, it's all sort of irrelevant. Wait, that's how gambling on sports works, right?
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