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This morning, we look at the left wing of our scribbled bracket – the medium strength South and the killer West. As always YMMV.
First, the South – led by the ever-steady Tony Bennett and Wahoowa, saviour of Hole-haters like me everywhere. I went to bed angry before he beat those motherfuckers, but I still appreciate the job he did more than he can ever know. They went undefeated on the road in an 18-team schedule, which is really damned impressive.
Who Can Reasonably Win? In addition to Wahoowa, you really have to like Cincinnati. They are peaking at the right time, and they have the easiest path to the Elite Eight in the entire field. Tennessee sucks. Nevada and Texas suck. Miami would have to string three good games together, ask any ACC fan how goddamned likely that is. Arizona? Again, consistency is an issue, but that team is loaded with NBA talent and has probably the best, most matchup nightmare producing player in all of JV hoopsball. He sure is an ugly fucker, though.
Who Can Make a Little Run? The Loyola Ramblers are the only sleeper I see in this entire bracket, too bad for them that Miami is a tough matchup (if playing right). But if they get past Da U, I deffo like them over Tennessee, assuming they get past Wright State (don’t assume that). Cincy would then flatten them, but S16 qualifies as a little run for any Loyola.
And the Hippo Oscar Goes To… Cincinnati (confidence level – MEDIUM) – I feel bad not taking Wahoowa this year. It absolutely should be their time. But I am value betting, and getting essentially a bye into the Elite Eight is no small beer. And the Bearcats are almost as good, I’d give them maybe a 35-40% shot against UVA anyway, they just have a much better shot of making the Regional Final. Should UVA get to the Final Four, they will win it all. Count on it.
Next, the West. And Jim Morrison would be pleased – the West is the Best. Readers, get here, and we’ll do the rest.
Who Can Reasonably Win? Xavier is your top seed, but clearly 4th of 4. They have trouble closing out fixtures. But they are still really, really good, and well-coached. Do not overlook teams like this, that can both defend and score from multiple positions/sets. I know you can’t count out the Holes, but I’m not fucking talking about them. Michigan is capable, but they could get criminally underseeded Houston in Round 2, and they are absolutely Final Four caliber.
Who Can Make a Little Run? Why aren’t I sticking out my neck and picking the Cougars to make it? Their first round foe, shit-hot San Diego State. The Aztecs could blitz into the Elite Eight, easily. As could 10 seed Providence, who just teased the fuck out of me (GAMBLOR-wise). South Dakota State (yes, this region is laden with SD States) is even-odds, in my book, to beat fast regressing tOSU. And if Florida State beats Xavier…
And the Hippo Oscar Goes To… Xavier (confidence level – LOW) – There are just so many candidates to choose from here, that I don’t see picking any of ’em to win any of my brackets (game theory, yo!). But I keep coming back to the Musketeers as the likely one to emerge, bruised and battered from this brutal land.
Editor’s note: This is to remind you of DFO’s Bracket Challenge!
DFO Bracket Challenge
Group Name: DFO Brackets
Addendum: ESPN apparently doesn’t make it easy to join the group. Or at least not very clear how. Hopefully this helps…
Tip of the hat to Mr. Ayo here.