Category Archives: 2012 NCAA Tournament

2012 NCAA Tourney – Elite 8 & Final 4 Picks

Earlier in the week, I broke down the early rounds in the Midwest, East, West and South Region analyses. Before the field was set, I mentioned some possible underdogs and upsets. All that is left is for me to breakdown who I think will still be there in the Elite Eight and the Final Four. Will a Cinderella team advance this far?

South Region Elite Eight: Kentucky & Baylor

I think this will be an epic match-up with many future NBA players in this contest. Baylor’s pre-tournament resumé is impressive, but at times, they have looked very beatable. The play of Perry Jones III will need to be consistent for Baylor to make the Elite Eight. If these teams meet, Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones will dominate and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a chance of being a standout in this tournament. Baylor won’t be able to match the talent on Kentucky and the Wildcats advance to the Final Four.

South Region Winner: Kentucky Wildcats

West Region Elite Eight: Louisville & Missouri

Rick Pitino has the Cardinals playing very well. They ended the season on a high note and winning the Big East tournament validates your team as being a contender in this tournament. Louisville should be able to beat Michigan State in the Sweet Sixteen. I just think that they are a better “team,” since the Spartans rely heavily on Draymond Green. As far as Missouri is concerned, they will be tested against Florida, Marquette, and possibly Murray State, but the Tigers have elite talent. I love Marcus Denman and Ricardo Ratcliffe and Missouri will benefit from having a balanced inside/outside offensive attack. Louisville and Missouri play different styles and the Cardinals will play a lot of full-court press and trap. I’s take Louisville’s defense over Missouri’s offense.

West Region Winner: Louisville Cardinals

East Region Elite Eight: Syracuse and Ohio State

I think this region will be very “chalk.” I could see Southern Miss giving some teams some trouble early and possibly a team like West Virginia could get hot. Even without Fab Melo, Syracuse’s route to the Elite Eight is pretty light. I see them beating Southern Miss and Vandy/Wisconsin, those teams don’t match up well with the Orange. The bottom half of the bracket will also be as expected. I like Florida State a lot, but if they face the Buckeyes in the Sweet Sixteen, I don’t like them in that game. I expect a nice tournament from Jared Sullinger and William Buford. Syracuse and Ohio State are pretty similar teams, but without Melo, Sullinger will be able to work inside. This will be the first game that will hurt the Orange without Melo. I see the Buckeyes moving onto the Final Four in the East Region.

East Region Winner: Ohio State Buckeyes

Midwest Region Elite Eight: North Carolina and Kansas

This region will have a few upsets with Temple advancing over Michigan and I like San Diego State against Georgetown. After those upsets, it’ll be North Carolina versus Kansas in the Elite Eight. This is a game that I have been waiting for all season. I love a lot of players in this game. It will be fun to watch Harrison Barnes and Thomas Robinson in the same game. I’m not a huge fan of John Henson, he also comes into the tournament with injury problems. I think Kansas is a better team, even though the Tar Heels come into this contest with the most talent on paper. The Jayhawks should be the team that advances into the Final Four in the Midwest.

Midwest Region Winner: Kansas Jayhawks

Final Four Matchups
Kentucky vs Louisville & Ohio State vs. Kansas

These teams met earlier this season and it wasn’t very close. This is a different Louisville team than when the Wildacts faced them. They have learned to play in big games and they proven it by winning the Big East tournament. I don’t think they will beat Kentucky, but it will be a closer game. The freshmen on Kentucky will have to give their best to pull out the win, I believe they will step up and advance to the Championship Game.

Kansas and Ohio State will be an epic game as well. Tyshawn Taylor will probably cover William Buford, who had trouble scoring against other great talent. Ohio State will have to rely a lot on Sullinger, who has a hard time scoring against Robinson inside. He has a hard time playing “above the rim” and Robinson will take advantage of that. I see Kansas beating the Buckeyes in a close game.

Championship Game: Kentucky vs Kansas

This will be a rematch of the game that happened in November. Kentucky won that game 75-65 with Anthony Davis registering 7 blocks. Taylor lead the Jayhawks in scoring, but got most of his 22 points from the free-throw line. The Wildcats had a very balanced offensive attack with Jones, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Doron Lamb scoring in double-digits. I see the same kind of game happening the second time around. Kentucky just has too much talent on the team and they gelled as the season progressed. I see the loss against Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament final as an aberration. The Wildcats excel in all aspects of the game and even hit their free-throws, which is odd for a John Calipari team. He will prove that a team can win the NCAA Tournament with mostly freshmen.

2012 NCAA Tournament Champion: Kentucky Wildcats


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Syracuse’s Fab Melo Ruled Ineligible

The East Region’s #1 seed, Syracuse Orange, will be without their star center, Fab Melo, for the entire NCAA Tournament. Yahoo! Sports reports that Melo will sit out due to eligibility issues. Syracuse’s lone Big East loss was against Notre Dame, a game in which Melo had to sit out due to the same eligibility issues. The Orange haven’t released a public statement explaining why Melo won’t be playing in the tournament.

Melo’s defensive ability will be missed the most. He only scores 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but he registers nearly three blocks (2.9) per game. The 7-footer’s absence will leave a large hole in the paint. Kris Joseph and C.J. Fair will have to play their best to fill the void. Syracuse may need to rely on Baye Keita and Rakeem Christmas to play more minutes. They are a deep team and play an extended rotation, but this could lead to an early exit in this year’s tournament.

This is a huge hit to Syracuse’s shot at winning the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State, the #2 seed in Syracuse’s bracket, are looking like the new favorites in the East Region. If Syracuse makes it to the Elite Eight and faces the Buckeyes, the Orange will have a very difficult time with Jared Sullinger. His inside game is powerful and a team needs size in order to stifle the young star.


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2012 NCAA Tourney – Who You Got?!

This team has the makings of an epic tournament. A lot of the seed from #3 to #10 are closer than in year’s past. A double-digit seed has a chance of advancing into the Sweet 16 or beyond. Everyone has their “favorite Cinderella team” and we would like to know which team is your dark horse to win the tournament? Is it a lower-seeded power conference team or one of the elite mid-major teams? Which power conference will disappoint?

Do you want to know which team is our super upset pick? We love Iona to win a couple games in the tournament this year. They barely squeaked in, but they have NBA-level talent on their team. They will have to win their “play-in game” to officially be a part of the field. They may not win the whole thing, but I like how they play together as a team.

As much as the Big Ten was praised this year, the teams lack greatness. There are a lot of good teams, but even Ohio State and Michigan State have over-looked some weaker opponents. I don’t see many teams in this conference advancing into the Sweet 16. I like the Big 12 & SEC teams in the tournament field. Kansas, Baylor, and Missouri could easily end up in the Final Four. Baylor needs to be consistent and get the most out of Perry Jones III.

Let us know about your brackets and why your bracket will win your 2012 NCAA Tournament pool.


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2012 NCAA Tourney – Midwest Region Picks

The Midwest region has some heavy hitters at the top and some mid-major powerhouses that are sprinkled in the middle. North Carolina and Kansas have been two of the top teams in the country and they have a shot at facing each other in the Elite Eight. Could a team like St. Mary’s or Temple upset the top teams and destroy some brackets? A lot of question marks in this region and the games should be pretty entertaining.

#1 North Carolina (29-5) vs. #16 Lamar/Vermont – The play-in game between Lamar and Vermont will be won by the Lamar Cardinals. I like Lamar’s Mike James and Devon Lamb against lower-level teams. Saying all of that, the Tar Heels will cruise into the second-round against either one of these teams. On paper, the Tar Heels might have the best talent in college basketball. The Tar Heels have looked bad in some games this season. The team with the best talent doesn’t usually win the NCAA Tournament. There’s some correlation between “on paper talent” & team-play that doesn’t always go together. The Ta Heels could run into issues in the later rounds.

Play-In Game Winner: Lamar Cardinals

Predicted Winner: #1 North Carolina Tar Heels

#8 Creighton (28-5) vs. #9 Alabama (21-11) – Creighton was ranked for a good portion of the season, so having #8 seed is a tad low for them. The Bluejays have played some elite talent, but have a few bad losses earlier in the season. Alabama have played elite teams all season, but failed to win many of the games against the Top 25. I like Creighton’s team lead by Doug McDermott, who averages 23.2 points per game. He is also the team leader in rebounds and Gregory Echenique is close to averaging a double-double. The Missouri Valley conference is one of the best mid-major conferences and I see Creighton advancing over Alabama.

Predicted Winner: #8 Creighton Bluejays

#5 Temple (24-7) vs. #12 California/South Florida – I like California in the play-in game against South Florida. Cal was favored to get a much higher seed before losing three games late in the season. I have liked Temple since they were one of “13 Possible Underdogs” before the tournament field was set. They have a very high RPI and have length in the backcourt, since three of their top guards are all at least 6’4. Unfortunately for Temple, Cal have tall guards as well. If those areas cancel each other out, I like the rest of the Golden Bears team. This game will be very close, but California will pull off the upset.

Play-In Game Winner – California Golden Bears

Predicted Winner – #12 California Golden Bears

#4 Michigan (24-9) vs. #13 Ohio (27-7) – As much as I want to hate Michigan, I can’t do it, I have always liked John Beilein. He coached West Virginia with Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle, who are both in the “White Boy Hall of Fame.” They went far into the NCAA Tournament that year, but this Michigan team is built very different. Beilein loves to play the 1-3-1, but he’s still recruiting guys to play in that system. Michigan will beat an Ohio team that lack size and any wins that they can hang their hat on. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke will need to be consistent if they look to beat Cal or Temple in the second-round.

Predicted Winner – #4 Michigan Wolverines

#6 San Diego State (26-7) vs. #11 NC State (22-12) – The one glaring difference between San Diego State and N.C. State is that all of SDSU’s losses came against elite talent. N.C. State have losses against Georgia Tech and Clemson on their resumé and couldn’t beat any of the top teams in the ACC. I love San Diego State’s backcourt of Jamaal Franklin and Chas Tapley. The Aztecs take a lot of 3-point shots, but make a lot of them per game. It is a risky way to play in the NCAA Tournament, but they seem to be a team that is made to play in that system. I like San Diego State to win easily against the Wolfpack.

Predicted Winner: #6 San Diego State Aztecs

#3 Georgetown (23-8) vs. #14 Belmont (27-7) – Belmont is a scrappy team with size, but Georgetown is a powerhouse with size. Belmont have played up the level of their competition in the NCAA Tournament and nearly beat Duke in 2008. I love Georgetown’s big man duo of Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims. These guys can match up well against any other front-court in the country. The Hoyas have a shot at advancing deep into the tournament, but need maximum output from those guys.

Predicted Winner: #3 Georgetown Hoyas

#7 Saint Mary’s (27-5) vs. #10 Purdue (21-12) – Robbie Hummel has been in college for a long time. Last season, he missed his chance of being on a special team. JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore are in the NBA and this year’s Purdue roster doesn’t hold up to the 2010-11 team. The St. May’s Gaels are always an underrated team going into the NCAA Tournament. The only West Coast Conference team that the nation pays attention to is Gonzaga. St. Mary’s have a strong program and a team filled with skilled players. Rob Jones is averaging a double-double and doesn’t have trouble scoring. Purdue will have matchup problems with the Gales. This first-round game will officially be known as the end of Robbie Hummel’s collegiate career.

Predicted Winner: #7 St. Mary’s Gaels

#2 Kansas (27-6) vs. #15 Detroit (22-13) – Kansas is one of the most-talented teams in the nation and have top-notch talent. Thomas Robinson will be a lottery-pick in this year’s NBA Draft and Tyshawn Taylor should have a nice NBA career too. I don’t see them losing in the first-round and they should be there in the Elite Eight to face North Carolina. If you watch this game and it gets out of control early, keep the game on and watch Detroit’s Ray McCallum Jr., he’ll be in the NBA soon. Kansas played Duke and Kentucky early in the season, but lost both of those contests. They are a stronger team now and survived the top-heavy Big 12. I don’t see any upset in their immediate future.

Predicted Winner: #2 Kansas Jayhawks

White Boy’s 2012 NCAA Tournament Coverage
2012 NCAA Tournament: West Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: South Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: East Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: 13 Possible Upsets

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2012 NCAA Tourney – East Region Picks

This region is top-heavy with Syracuse and Ohio State leading the way. The rest of the field is loaded with teams who come in hot off of impressive showings in their respective conference tournaments. Harvard would be a very lofty pick, can they out-think their opponents?Can a team like Vanderbilt or Florida State get into the Final Four? It will take some perfect games to notch an upset in this region’s bracket.

#1 Syracuse (31-2) vs. #16 UNC-Asheville (24-9) – The Syracuse Orange are one of the deepest teams in the entire NCAA Tournament field. One of their losses came when Fab Melo was suspended and that was a very close game against Notre Dame. They will coast by UNC Asheville, but possibly run into a difficult game against either Kansas State or Southern Miss. I really like the Orange in this tournament.

Predicted Winner: #1 Syracuse Orange

#8 Kansas State (21-10) vs. #9 Southern Miss (25-8) – The seeds in this contest could have easily been the other way around. Kansas State has some impressive wins, but losing to Oklahoma twice is a huge red flag. Southern Miss has its flaws too. The Golden Eagles lost to Marshall twice, but they are a very balanced team. I like Southern Miss in this very close contest. Neil watson, LaShay Page, and Darnell Dodson will be hard for Kansas State to guard.

Predicted Winner: #9 Southern Miss Golden Eagles

#5 Vanderbilt (24-10) vs. #12 Harvard (26-4) – Vandy is coming into the NCAA Tournament at warp speed. They beat Kentucky in the SEC Tournament final and all of their losses have been close. Harvard is a sexy underdog pick, but Jeremy Lin isn’t on the team anymore. They do have an inside/outside threat with the duo of Kyle Casey and Keith Wright, but the talent isn’t at Vanderbilt’s level. The Commodores have John Jenkins and Jeffrey Taylor, who I would put against many of this region’s top two players. Vanderbilt will be a tough out in the later rounds.

Predicted Winner – #5 Vanderbilt Commodores

#4 Wisconsin (24-9) vs. #13 Montana (25-6) – Wisconsin has a history of getting beaten early in the Big Dance, but they shouldn’t worry about Montana in the first-round. Montana does have some size in the paint, but Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor and Ryan Evans are used to playing against size. I love the Badgers in this game, but think that Vanderbilt will beat them in the second-round.

Predicted Winner – #4 Wisconsin Badgers

#6 Cincinnati (24-10) vs. #11 Texas (20-13) – At the beginning of the season, I wouldn’t have picked either of these teams to make the NCAA Tournament. Cincinnati got hot during the Big East tournament, but have losses to teams like Presbytarian on their resumé. Texas have gotten the most out of their talent this year. They lack any bad losses and have played top-notch teams all season. They were a little beat up by the giants in the Big 12, but they are a stronger team now. I really like Texas’ J’Covan Brown to lead the Longhorns over Cincinnati.

Predicted Winner: #11 Texas Longhorns

#3 Florida State (24-9) vs. #14 St. Bonaventure (20-11) – I watched a few Florida State games this year and I was impressed after each one. They have guys like Michael Snaer and Bernard James who are solid, but have guys like Deividas Dulkys come off the bench and light it up. You never know who is going to be a surprise, which is an element I love in the NCAA Tournament. St. Bonaventure won their conference tournament, but the talent level isn’t there to hang with Florida State. I like the Seminoles to win a few games in the tournament this year.

Predicted Winner: #3 Florida State Seminoles

#7 Gonzaga (25-6) vs. #10 West Virginia (19-13) – Gonzaga has been a sexy underdog pick for a decade. Even in the years when they are favorites, theys till feel like underdogs. If the Bulldogs win against West Virginia, it still feels like an upset, but it shouldn’t. The Mountaineers have played up to their competition and had close games against top teams. WVU’s Kevin Jones is an NBA-level player, but Gonzaga has a very balanced team. Gonzaga lack the star power, but they have a team full of “glue guys.” I like the Bulldogs in a close game.

Predicted Winner: #7 Gonzaga

#2 Ohio State (27-7) vs. #15 Loyola (MD) (24-8) – Did Ohio State underachieve this year or was the Big Ten at an elite level? The NCAA Tournament is a litmus test for the power of one’s conference. Ohio State will win this game against Loyola (MD), but for them to get passed Gonzaga or Florida State in the later rounds, they’ll need big games from Jared Sullinger and William Buford. The Buckeyes will have to play big minutes, since Thad Matta tightens up the rotation during the tournament.

Predicted Winner: #2 Ohio State Buckeyes

White Boy’s 2012 NCAA Tournament Coverage
2012 NCAA Tournament: West Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: South Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: 13 Possible Upsets

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2012 NCAA Tourney – West Region Picks

Michigan State didn’t look like a #1 seed early in the season. The Big Ten was the best basketball conference in the country, but at times, they look very week. Could Long Beach State or Iona pull off upsets in this region? There are a lot of underdogs that could sneak up on the top seeds. Colorado State, Murray State, and Florida all have a shot at being in the Final Four. I doubt that many will have this region as “chalk,” when they fill out their brackets.

#1 Michigan State (27-7) vs. #16 LIU Brooklyn (25-8) – After the aircraft carrier game, I didn’t think Michigan State was going to have a very good season. Draymond Green has put this team on his back and the senior is looking like an elite NBA prospect. The casual fan has no idea what LIU Brooklyn even stands for and it would be a miracle if they were to stay withing 20 points of the Spartans.

Predicted Winner: #1 Michigan State Spartans

#8 Memphis (26-8) vs. #9 Saint Louis (25-7) When Rick Majerus is coaching a team, you can never count them out of the NCAA Tournament. Memphis has Will Barton, but they lack depth. Saint Louis has a nice perimeter game with Kwamain Mitchell and Cody Ellis that I really like. The Billikens are a contender to upset Michigan State in the second-round. I like the make up of this team and this will be a fun game to watch.

Predicted Winner: #9 Saint Lois Billikens

#5 New Mexico (27-6) vs. #12 Long Beach State (25-8) Out of this entire region, this is the pick that I had to think the most about. New Mexico has head coach Steve Alford, who is in the “White Boy Hall of Fame,” and I have to take that into consideration. I looked at their schedule and their only marquee wins were against San Diego State and UNLV…they beat them each three times. It is incredibly hard to beat a team three times in a season. Long Beach State was one of my upset favorites going into the tournament. They had some nice marquee wins against Pitt and Xavier. They have the underdog tag and will be a very motivated team. The nation will the team’s leading scorer, 5’10 guard Casper Ware. I have to pick Long Beach State in a close contest.

Predicted Winner – #12 Long Beach State 49ers

#4 Louisville (26-9) vs. #13 Davidson (25-7) – Stephen Curry isn’t walking through that door, but De’Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen are pretty darn good. This Davidson team is much different, they score in the paint. Louisville had a strong early season schedule, but once the Big East season started, they had some bad losses. They are a very inconsistent team, but the same could be said for most of the other Big East teams. Louisville will win this game, but they are vulnerable for an early-round upset.

Predicted Winner – #4 Louisville Cardinals

#6 Murray State (30-1) vs. #11 Colorado State (20-11) – It’s a shame that the NCAA tournament selection committee has to pair up two of my pre-tournament underdogs. An argument could be had that Murray State should be a higher seed, but their schedule was a bit light. Both of these teams have strong perimeter shooters, but lack size. If you’re going to compare back-courts, I like Murray State’s duo of Isaiah Canaan and Donte Poole. Murray State will win this contest, but they are vulnerable in later rounds. If they face a team with size, they will need a perfect perimeter game to squeak out a win.

Predicted Winner: #6 Murray State Racers

#3 Marquette (25-7) vs. #14 BYU/Iona – Before I predict this round, I am picking Iona over BYU in the play-in game. Scott Machado is an NBA prospect and he is very impressive to watch. Teams will try to double-team him, but Mike Glover and Lamont Jones are very talented. Saying all of that, I like tham against Marquette as well. Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder are very good, but they lost nearly every big game that they were in this year. The Big East teams are so inconsistent that it is hard to pick most of them going very far in this tournament.

Play-In Game Winner: Iona Gales

Predicted Winner: #14 Iona Gaels

#7 Florida (23-10) vs. #10 Virginia (22-9) – If you went on talent alone, Florida would dominate Virginia, since the Gators have five players who average double-digits in points. Virginia’s offense only has one hope, Mike Scott. If he has an off-night, Florida will eat them alive. I’m looking for Patric Young, Kenny Boynton, and Bradley Beal for have a big tournament for Florida.

Predicted Winner: #7 Florida Gators

#2 Missouri (30-4) vs. #15 Norfolk State (25-9) – Missouri have a laundry list of marquee wins, inside and outside of the conference. The duo of Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratcliffe will be a force in this tournament. They will not have any problems with Norfolk State in the first-round. The second-round game against Florida will have a lot of future NBA talent in it. That game will be amazing to watch, but Missouri should win that game in a close one.

Predicted Winner: #2 Missouri Tigers

White Boy’s 2012 NCAA Tournament Coverage
2012 NCAA Tournament: South Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: East Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: 13 Possible Upsets

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2012 NCAA Tourney – South Region Picks

The South region contains a few of my underdog predictions that I picked before the field was set. Kentucky is the huge favorite to come out of this region, but will they stumble on the way to the Final Four? Will an underdog shine and make a few upsets? VCU was one of the tournament darlings last year, can they repeat and make a long run in 2012?

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Mississippi Valley St./Western Kentucky – Even though Vanderbilt knocked off Kentucky in the SEC Championship game, I don’t see this game will be close. Not only does Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky need to compete in the play-in game, but Kentucky gets to rest. This game will be the normal #1 vs. #16 blowout.

Predicted Winner: #1 Kentucky Wildcats

#8 Iowa State (22-10) vs. #9 Connecticut (20-13) Iowa State has been a surprise team this year and deserved better than a #8 seed. Connecticut started off the year sluggish, but the defending champs had a strong Big East regular season. Even thought UConn will be a popular upset pick, due to experience, I love Royce White and the rest of the Iowa State Cyclones. It’s a shame that they will have to play Kentucky in the 2nd round, because I really like them.

Predicted Winner: #8 Iowa State Cyclones

#5 Wichita State (27-5) vs. #12 Virginia Commonwealth (28-6) VCU will be a popular upset pick. The Rams are a known entity and have the experience from the run they made last year. The Wichita State Shockers have been inching their way into the Top 25 for most of the year. They were my underdog favorite going into the tournament. VCU is coming off a conference tournament win and Wichita State didn’t win the Missouri Valley conference tournament. WSU’s Garrett Stutz will need a great game to keep VCU’s backcourt from taking over the game. I like the Shockers to win a close game.

Predicted Winner – #5 Wichita State Shockers

#4 Indiana (25-8) vs. #13 New Mexico State (26-9) – Indiana lost Verdell Jones III with an ACL injury, but they shouldn’t miss him against New Mexico State. The Aggies haven’t played anyone at Indiana’s level all season. Their lone marquee win came against New Mexico, only to lose to them later in the season. Cody Zeller should dominate the game and the Hoosiers will win this contest.

Predicted Winner – #4 Indiana Hoosiers

#6 UNLV (26-8) vs. #11 Colorado (23-11) – Colorado is coming into the NCAA Tournament hot from the PAC-12 tournament win. The Buffaloes will be a popular upset pick, but don’t sleep on UNLV. They knocked off, then #1 North Carolina team earlier this season. Mike Moser has been dominating the paint all year and they have played a very tough schedule. This game will be more lopsided than most people think. I like UNLV to be a sleeper underdog pick for the later rounds.

Predicted Winner: #6 UNLV Rebels

#3 Baylor (27-7) vs. #14 South Dakota State (27-7) – Which Baylor team will show up in Albuquerque? They shouldn’t have that much trouble against The Summit League champions. If Baylor wants to advance, they need big games from Perry Jones III, Pierre Jackson, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller. All four of these players need to be consistent, because consistency has been lacking for Baylor all year.

Predicted Winner: #3 Baylor Bears

#7 Notre Dame (22-11) vs. #10 Xavier (21-12) – This game is going to be a close one. Xavier’s Tu Holloway is one of the most-talented players in the entire tournament. He has a poor first-half of the year, but has turned it up as the season progressed. Notre Dame was supposed to have an off-year, but they ended as the Big East regular season champions. A lot of people point out that the Fighting Irish knocked off, then #1 ranked, Syracuse. I will remind you that the Orange were without Fab Melo for that game. Notre Dame needs excellent guard-play to beat Xavier. I am picking Holloway and the Musketeers to upset Notre Dame.

Predicted Winner: #10 Xavier Musketeers

#2 Duke (27-6) vs. #15 Lehigh (26-7) – As much as I would love to pick against Duke, I can’t. Lehigh’s C.J. McCollom is a scoring machine, but Duke will double-team him and Lehigh lacks scoring depth. For a small school, Lehigh has done some impressive things this year. The Plumlee boys shouldn’t have any trouble with the under-sized Moutain Hawks.

Predicted Winner: #2 Duke Blue Devils

White Boy’s 2012 NCAA Tournament Coverage
2012 NCAA Tournament: West Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: East Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: 13 Possible Upsets

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A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

2012 NCAA Tourney: 13 Possible Underdogs

After Kentucky and Syracuse, the rest of Top 25 have been interchangeable. If Notre Dame can win the Big East regular season title, it is a red flag that this tournament will be filled with underdogs. Butler will not be in the tournament this year, but who will be this year’s Butler? I breakdown the possibility of some of the mid-majors & overlooked power conference teams, who have strong RPI Rankings so far this season.

For those who are unaware of what the RPI Rankings measure, it factors in the team’s strength of schedule and how a team does against their schedule. It was created in 1981 and it is used by the NCAA Selection Committee to pick the field of 68.

Temple 24-6 (RPI: 13) – Temple has cracked the Top 25, but they have a chance at possibly knocking off a few higher seeds. Temple have quality wins against Duke & Wichita State on their resumé. They won’t be sneaking up on anyone in the tournament. The back-court trio of Ramone Moore, Khalif Wyatt, & Juan Fernandez will cause havoc against teams that have weak perimeter defense. All three of these guards at at least 6’4, so they will also have the advantage against smaller guards. Temple has some size with Michael Eric, but they lack depth at center and power forward. If they face a team with a lot of size, like North Carolina, they will be exposed.

Witchita State 27-5 (RPI: 14) – They lost early in the Missouri Valley conference tournament, but the AP #16 team should get an at-large bid. Their quality wins are against UNLV and they split the series with Creighton. They played Temple and Alabama close, but couldn’t pull out wins against those teams. Garrett Stutz is the star on this team, the 7-foot center leads the team in points and rebounds. He has decent range for a big man and will pull a team’s defense away from the paint. This will help guards, Joe Ragland & Touré Murry, drive the lane. The Shockers are one of my favorite candidates to be this year’s Butler.

Southern Miss 24-7 (RPI: 15) – The Golden Eagles aren’t known for having an elite basketball program. They ended the season with the second best record in Conference USA. They lack a marquee signature wins, since their best wins came against Memphis, New Mexico State, & South Florida. They had some bad losses at the end of the year with losses coming against UAB, Houston & UTEP. Overall, they had a very tough schedule and played Murray State & Denver (both should get NCAA Tournament bids). Southern Miss lacks size and will need their guards to be hot from behind the arc. If they are cold, they could be done early.

Murray State 30-1 (RPI: 20) – The Murray State Racers have been in the Top 15 for most of the season. Their only loss came against Tennessee State, but bounced back and won their “Bracket Buster” game against St. Mary’s. Murray State also knocked off Memphis, Dayton, & Southern Miss during the season. They have used their talented back-court to win games. Isaiah Canaan has been lights-out from behind the arc, he’s shooting 47.3% and hit over 90 3-pointers this year. Donte Poole is also a threat from the perimeter, so double-teaming isn’t an option. Just like Southern Miss, this team lacks size. They don’t have a guy on the team that has averaged more than 6 rebounds per game and has only one player who is over 6’9 that plays regularly.

Colorado State 20-10 (RPI: 21) – The Mountain West conference has been a very talented mid-major conference this season. The Rams will need to beat San Diego State tonight to cement a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Their signature wins come inside their own conference, against San Diego State, UNLV, & New Mexico, those wins coming at home. Wes Elkmeier & Dorian Green are the best scoring options for the Rams. Pierce Horning is a good rebounder and is a good defender. A lot of things would have to line up perfectly, but the Mountain West could secure four bids this year.

San Diego State 25-6 (RPI: 27) – The regular season winner of the Mountain West conference, they played a very difficult early season schedule. They faced Baylor, Arizona, Creighton, & California…and came out of that gauntlet with wins at Arizona & against California. All of their losses have came against teams that should make the NCAA Tournament, except a close loss against Air Force. This team isn’t as talented as last year’s team, but they have an impressive resumé. They take a lot of 3-point shots, but if they are on, they could slay a few giants. Jamaal Franklin & Chas Tapley are both legit back-court scoring threats. Don’t sleep on the Aztecs this year, they could sneak out a few wins in the NCAA Tournament.

Saint Louis 24-6 (RPI: 30) – Rick Majerus has done it again. He has rejuvenated another program and has the Billikens playing at an elite level. I honestly haven’t even thought about their basketball program since Larry Hughes was lighting up the nets. They had an advantageous early season schedule with Washington, Boston College, Villanova, & Oklahoma on their schedule. Unfortunately, only Washington had a good year and it was down years for the other programs. They lack big marquee wins, but they did the best with the schedule that they were given. They can match-up with some different teams. They can score in the low-post and are a threat to hit from the perimeter with Kwamain Mitchell & Code Ellis.

Iowa State 22-10 (RPI: 33) – I love what Fred Hoiberg has done for his alma mater. He brought in Royce White, a troubled transfer and has turned into an elite low-post player. He has been the difference in a lot of their wins and he’s so good that he can match-up against any elite big man. The Big 12 is one of the best basketball conferences this year and the Cyclones get lost in the mix. They have played elite-level competition and have beaten Baylor, Kansas, & swept Kansas State. All of their late-season losses came against teams in the Top 10. They should get a seed in the middle of the pack, but I look for them to win a few games.

Harvard 26-4 (RPI: 36) – Can an Ivy League team advance passed the first-round? It has been over a half-century since they have made the Tournament. They have some inside-outside talent on this team with Kyle Casey & Keith Wright, but they might need more. They will be getting a high seed, probably a 14 or 15, so they will be playing against elite teams. It would take a nearly-perfect game for them to advance, but any team in this tournament can have an off-game. If you fill out your bracket and pick Harvard advancing in the round of 32, it would be a very courageous pick.

Long Beach State 23-8 (RPI: 38) – The Big West Conference isn’t even considered a “mid-major”, but they played like a powerhouse this season. They played Pitt, Louisville, Kansas, North Carolina, Xavier, Kansas State, & Creighton this season, they played all of them close and even registered wins against Xavier & Pitt. They wanted to prove their worth to the committee, since all of those games were on the road. They are deep team with some size, but usually only go with a seven or eight-man rotation. Watch out for Casper Ware, he takes a lot of 3-point shots (7.4 per game) and if he catches fire, they could knock off any team.

Iona 25-7 (RPI: 40) – The Gaels have the top talent in the Metro Atlantic, but lost to Fairfield in the conference tournament. Mike Glover, Lamont Jones, Scott Machado, & Sean Armond are high-percentage shooters, with Glover being the stand-out in the group. Their possible at-large bid could be hurt by the lack of quality wins. Their record against teams with an RPI in the Top 50 was 1-1. Only playing two teams with a high RPI isn’t impressing the committee. If they make it in, watch out for Glover to impress a lot of people.

Nevada 26-5 (RPI: 48) – The Western Athletic Conference regular season champions need to win their conference tournament to assure their bid. They are in the same situation as Iona, they lack marquee wins and lost to all three teams that they played in the RPI Top 50. They have a balance offensive attack with Deonte Burton, Malik Story, Olek Czyz, & Dario Hunt all averaging over 10 points per game. Story is their lone perimeter scoring threat, since the Wolf Pack do most of their scoring in the paint. They get a lot of second-chance points with Hunt averaging nearly four offensive rebounds per game. If they make the tournament, they’ll give their first-round opponent a struggle.

Drexel 27-6 (RPI:65) – They lost to VCU in the Colonel Athletic Conference Tournament, in what was a very entertaining game to watch. Drexel was the regular season champions and have some decent wins against VCU, Cleveland State, & George Mason. The Colonel got a few bids last year and Drexel is definitely on the bubble, but I think that they sneak in this year. They have a talented back-court with Frantz Massenat & Damion Lee and have Samme Givens giving the Dragons low-post defense. If they sneak in, they’ll probably be a #12 seed, which are always dangerous in the NCAA Tournament.

I think these are some of the possible underdogs in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. You can refer to this article when filling out your bracket. I hope I have better informed the public about some of the teams that have flown under-the-radar this season.

I’m hoping to see a lot of this during the NCAA Tournament, it would make me very happy. The guys at the end of the bench need some camera time!

White Boy’s 2012 NCAA Tournament Coverage
2012 NCAA Tournament: West Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: South Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: East Region Picks
2012 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Picks

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A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.