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NCAA Bracket Predictions 2011: Southeast Region, Gonzaga Vs. St. John's

The Gonzaga Bulldogs begin their NCAA Tournament journey against the St. John’s Red Storm in Denver on Thursday, giving us time to round up a few last-minute predictions. How far with the Zags go this year as the 11th seed in the region? Can Gonzaga drop 2011 darling St. John’s in the first round? We’ll have a firm answer on Thursday, but until then, it’s more fun to speculate and play the prediction game.

We start at SB Nation where Jason Kirk has developed an affinity for teams from the state of Washington. On Tuesday, it was the Huskies and on Wednesday it’s Gonzaga. Kirk picks the Zags in an upset over St. John’s, citing those crazy numbers.

Prediction: Lots of people are thinking upset, and the numbers back it up. The Red Storm has certainly lost to teams less talented than Gonzaga, and their Madison Square Garden referee magic won’t join them Denver.

But what about the experts? Well, Dick Vitale loves the Zags this year, picking them as a surprise Elite Eight team. He has the Zags losing with a trip to the Final Four on the line, but clearly this means Gonzaga will win its first game in Denver.

Chris Dobbertean is also pegging Gonzaga as an upset special. Dobbertean believes the injury that knocked D.J. Kennedy out of the Big East Tournament will be the Red Storm’s downfall.

No. 11 Gonzaga over No. 6 St. John’s, only because D.J. Kennedy’s absence is going to hurt the Red Storm.

And just for consistency, I also chose Gonzaga. Ken Pomeroy’s numbers seem to agree: St. John’s is ripe for the upset and Gonzaga is a team that could pull it off.

The predictions won’t matter as the meat of the NCAA Tournament kicks off on Thursday in what’s become a college basketball holiday. Wall-to-wall action gets started early, with 16 games set to take place throughout the day.

Check out the rest of our NCAA bracket predictions StoryStream for the latest picks and predictions. Grab a printable bracket and make your own picks ahead of Thursday’s game bonanza. For more on the Zags, visit SB Nation’s The Slipper Still Fits. For previews of each team’s first round games, check out our Gonzaga preview.