As you may recall, Villanova saved what little dignity and self-respect 2016 had, winning the national title on a buzzer-beating dagger and denying Ol’ Roy Williams and his merry band of cheating, nigh-illiterate Holes the national title CBS and ESPN so desperately longed for.
The reward for such party-crashing, and achieving the #1 overall seed the following season (an amazeballs accomplishment, BTW) – perhaps the toughest region in living memory. When one says “Region of Death” – this merde is the gold fuckin’ standard.
Who Can Reasonably Win? Hell, any of the top 6 seeds, and I’m not blowing smoke. You can argue that the worst side amongst them is #4 seed Florida, and one always knows they are the NCAAT girl with the golden curl. Why should they be any different with the new coach? Billy Donovan was nothing special. SMU is shallow, but the 6 they got are exciting as fuck to watch. Matchup nightmares to guard. Nobody really knows what BayBay is, but there’s talent and Scott Drew has successfully tournamented before. And oh yeah, fucking Duke is there.
Who Can Make a Little Run? The committee set it up so that Coach K would face Wojo in the 2nd round (7 seed South Carolina is shit), and don’t be surprised if Marquette gives Duke some trouble. Wojo’s a punchable face, but he will know how to attack his opponent, and K won’t like that one bit. The winner of Bucky Badger/Castrated Turkeys could give Nova trouble in Round 2. By far, the meanest 1 v. 8/9 matchup possible. Both are under-seeded. Also wouldn’t be surprised if New Mexico State beat BayBay, but that might just be me rationalizing “upset bonus” points because I will have SMU always in the Sweet Sixteen, and sometimes the Elite Eight.
And the Hippo Oscar Goes To… Villanova (confidence level – medium/low). They are the best team, but land mines are everywhere, Duke is almost as good and has an easier path, so don’t count on them unless your hand is really forced by pot odds.