ACC Basketball

Worthless NCAA Tournament Predictions

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There’s a reason why I call these predictions worthless, because they are. While I’ve nailed a champion or two over the years, I’ve never once gotten more than half the Final Four right. Hell, getting half right has been challenging.

The big issue now is, I’ve watched so much ACC basketball and I know so much about Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Louisville and NC State — the good and the bad — it’s hard not to be bias either way. When they do good, I’m too gung-ho, but when they struggled, I’m rarely forgiving.

Note: I did have Virginia going to the title game to face Kentucky for most of the season, but no more (sorry I’m giving that away now). After Justin Anderson’s injury, my thought process was always, “if he returns healthy, I’m back on board the Cavaliers bandwagon.” However, it has become clear he’s not close to 100% and he’s not going to be by this weekend. That’s huge, that’s a game-changer, especially with their third-round opponent.

EAST REGION


SECOND ROUND

1 Villanova over 16 Lafayette
The Leopards couldn’t stop five grandmothers from hitting 50% from the floor, as they are one of the worst defensive teams the tournament will ever see. They can launch a lot of threes (second in the nation in 3P%), but they’ll be doing it mostly because they’ll be down 20-30 points for most of the game.

9 NC State over 8 LSU
The Tigers have Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey, two sophomores who will get paid in the near future to play basketball in the NBA, but the Wolfpack can gang-defend in the paint and I don’t see who the Tigers have that can stuff Anthony Barber and Trevor Lacey.

Seth Tuttle5 Northern Iowa over 12 Wyoming
I think the Panthers got shafted by only getting the 5-seed. You don’t want a chip on Seth Tuttle’s broad shoulders.

4 Louisville over 14 UC Irvine
The Anteaters can hit the deep ball and have a solid point guard in Luke Nelson, but I like the Cardinals press to force a ton of turnovers.

11 Dayton over Providence
First, I’m picking the Flyers over Boise State in their own backyard and then look for a solid defensive team to pack it in and dare the Friers to beat them deep, which they can’t do (305th in 3P%).

3 Oklahoma over 14 Albany
The Sooners struggle to score at times, but I don’t see how the Great Danes put up points against the 5th best defensive team in all the land.

7 Michigan State over 10 Georgia
Never doubt Tom Izzo in March. Never.

2 Virginia over 15 Belmont
The Bruins turn the ball over a lot, they can’t rebound on the offensive end, they get too many shots blocked and they struggle to get to the FT line. Yeah, good luck scoring 30 for the game against the nation’s top defense.

THIRD ROUND

1 Villanova over 9 NC State
The Tigers have talent, but it’s young and they’re facing a Wildcats team that does nothing bad. Seriously, their worst category is defensive rebounding and they’re a not-so-tragic 171st in that.

5 Northern Iowa over 4 Louisville
Sam Tuttle vs. Montrezl Harrell is why I watch basketball. The difference between the two teams is that the Panthers can actually hit outside shots (11th in 3P%) and the Cardinals can’t (312th).

3 Oklahoma over 11 Dayton
The Sooners have not always been efficient scoring, but junior guard Buddy Hield is. He averaged 17.5 points per game, scoring 20 or more three times in his last five games (twice delivering two double-doubles).

7 Michigan State over 2 Virginia
I hate to do it, but it’s not just the Justin Anderson injury. It’s this matchup. If there was one team other than Kentucky that I want the Cavaliers to avoid, it’s the Spartans. They’re one of the few team who can match Virginia’s toughness, proving it last year when they eliminated Tony Bennett’s squad in the Sweet 16.

SWEET SIXTEEN

1 Villanova over 5 Northern Iowa
The Wildcats rotation features five upperclassmen, as six players average at least 9.4 points per game and with Daniel Ochefu in the middle, gone is the interior problem that has plagued previous Villnova teams in past tournaments.

3 Oklahoma over 7 Michigan State
Sooners’ head coach has eight 20-win seasons, but has little to show for it. That ends now.

ELITE EIGHT

3 Oklahoma over 1 Villanova
Defense trumps offense and 18 games against the top-50 pays off for the Sooners.

 

SOUTH REGION


SECOND ROUND

My ex-girlfriend, as far as you know.

My ex-girlfriend, as far as you know.

1. Duke over North Florida
My ex-girlfriend went to North Florida. Yeah, that’s all I got, except Jahlil Okafor will probably pull down 10 offensive rebounds by himself.

8 San Diego State over 9 St. John’s
The Aztecs can play defense and the Red Storm just lost a big piece inside when Chris Obekpa was suspended.

12 S.F. Austin over 5 Utah
I know the Utes are in Ken Pom’s top-1o and I don’t believe in doubting Ken, but this is a team that is just 3-4 in their last seven. The Lumberjacks like to put points on the scoreboard, 9th in eFG.

13 Eastern Washington over 4 Georgetown
It’s simple, the Eagles have Tyler Harvey and the Hoyas have a history of losing in the first-round to double-digit seeds. Prove me wrong, Georgetown. Prove me wrong.

11 UCLA over SMU
Everyone, including myself, says the Bruins have no business being in this tournament, which is why they’ll win this game. It makes no sense, but trust me.

439260_web_01-15-ISU-BKC-Yale_niang3503 Iowa State over UAB
The Cyclones’ Georges Niang. Get to know that name (once you figure out how to pronounce it). The junior is going to be a star in this tournament.

10 Davidson over 7 Iowa
The Hawkeyes can play solid D, 31st in eFG, but I love Davidson’s ability to hold onto the ball (2nd in turnover %) and can score both inside and outside (17th in 2P% and 3P%).

2 Gonzaga over 15 North Dakota St.
The Bulldogs can score, they can defend and have lost two games by a total of six points (one in overtime). Don’t decide what Gonzaga will do based on their past. This is a different, better team.

THIRD ROUND

1 Duke over 8 San Diego State
The Blue Devils defense is suspect, but the Aztecs offense is down-right criminal; one of the worst in the tournament. Sure they can play some D, but Duke’s offense when it’s clicking doesn’t struggle against anyone.

12 S.F. Austin over 13 Eastern Washington
Nothing beats a 12 vs 13 match up in the third-round…except a prostate exam. It’s hard to beat those.

3 Iowa State over 11 UCLA
The Bruins inability to stop the three will end their run early, as Iowa State has three starters who hit at least 40% from deep.

2 Gonzaga over 10 Davidson
Sometimes size does matter. The Wildcats start no one over 6’7 and two guards who are both under six-feet. They’ll struggle to hold onto the ball against the Bulldogs, while Gonzaga enjoys a nice block party inside.

SWEET SIXTEEN

1 Duke over 12 S.F. Austin
Fun Fact, the last time the Blue Devils faced a double-digit seed in the regional semifinals was way back in 1999, when they beat SW Missouri St.

3 Iowa State over 2 Gonzaga 
I think Fred Haiberg is on the verge of becoming the next Tom Izzo. Remember I said that…unless I’m proven wrong, then forget what I just said.

ELITE EIGHT

3 Iowa State over 1 Duke
Both teams can score in the 90’s and just might. However, the Cyclones can spread the floor like few others and I’ve just seen the Blue Devils struggle to defend when teams space them out.

MIDWEST REGION


SECOND ROUND

1 Kentucky over 16 Manhattan (or Hampton)
The Wildcats should have more dunks than the Jaspers will have made baskets.

600full-loni-anderson9 Purdue over 8 Cincinnati
The Bearcats can’t score and let’s be honest, nothing good has come out of Cincinnati since Loni Anderson left WKRP.

12 Buffalo over 5 West Virginia
This is Bobby Hurley’s first year as head coach at Buffalo and it could be his last, as he’ll be a popular coaching candidate if he takes down Bobby Huggins.

4 Maryland over 13 Valparaiso
The Terps have Dez Wells and Melo Trimble and the Crusaders don’t.

6 Butler over 11 Texas
The Longhorns may have more talent and more future NBA stars, but there is a reason why Texas only has two wins over Ken Pom’s top-50. The Bulldogs have four with less opportunities.

3 Notre Dame over 14 Northeastern
The Tar Heels still haven’t stopped the Irish’s second half run.

7 Wichita State over 10 Indiana
The Shockers want to face the Jayhawks. We want the Shockers to face the Jayhawks. There is no God in existence that will keep us from that match up.

2 Kansas over 15 New Mexico St.
See above.

THIRD ROUND 

1 Kentucky over 9 Purdue
I think the Boilermakers shutdown the Wildcats guards, but will get dominated inside. You could sim this game 100 times and I’m willing to bet Kentucky wins all 100.

4 Maryland over 12 Buffalo
Unless 1992 Bobby Hurley is suiting up, the slipper falls off the Bulls, even though they will give the Terps a contest.

3 Notre Dame over 6 Butler
Jerian Grant = Kemba Walker.

7 Wichita State over 2 Kansas
Bill Self and the Jayhawks have lost in the tournament’s first weekend four times since 2003. This game will be the Shockers’ Superbowl.

SWEET SIXTEEN

1 Kentucky over 4 Maryland
Oddly enough, the Terrapins will be the highest rated team the Wildcats have faced since beating North Carolina back in early December.

3 Notre Dame over 7 Wichita State
You know what the Shockers don’t do well…guard the three ball. That’s not good against the Irish, the most efficient offensive team in America.

ELITE EIGHT

1 Kentucky over Notre Dame
Sure the Fighting Irish could shoot lights out and knock off Kentucky, but they won’t. The Wildcats win by 25.

 

 WEST REGION


SECOND ROUND

1 Wisconsin over 16 Coastal Carolina
No, I’m not picking a 1-seed to lose, but in the history of this tournament, a 16-seed has come within a single possession of winning and in 1990 Murray State took 1-seed Michigan State to overtime (lost by four). You want a reason why I think this one will be very close? I don’t have one, just following my gut.

9 Oklahoma State over 8 Oregon
Another one of those, “team doesn’t belong in the tournament, thus that team will win.”

5 Arkansas over 12 Wofford
Run Razorbacks, runs.

4 North Carolina over 13 Harvard
The Crimson can match the Tar Heels on the glass, but they just can’t shoot it good enough to pull off this upset.

11 BYU over Xavier
The Cougars deserve to be in and they’ll prove it by beating Mississippi in the First-Four and then Xavier next.

14 Georgia State over 3 Baylor
The Panthers have a former Louisville Cardinal (Kevin Ware) and a former NC State/Kentucky player (Ryan Harlow) and neither is the best one on this team (R.J. Hunter).

10 Ohio State over 7 VCU
The best player (D’Angelo Russell) on a average team hasn’t really worked out for past teams (just ask Kevin Durant). However, I have trust in Thad.

2 Arizona over 15 Texas Southern
The Tigers are the second worst team in this tournament. Arizona is arguable the second best.

THIRD ROUND

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Wisconsin vs Kentucky1 Wisconsin over 9 Oklahoma State
The Cowboys will score and again the Badgers will sweat out another tight one, but few teams are worse at rebounding than Oklahoma State.

4 North Carolina over 5 Arkansas
Arkansas has Bobby Portis, the SEC’s player of the year and a beast inside. However, the Tar Heels have both the size and the athletes to handle the paint.

11 BYU over 14 Georgia State
I’m not a religious man, but in case I’m wrong, I’ll pick the mormons to advance just to cover all my bases.

2 Arizona over 10 Ohio State
D’Angelo Russell and Shannon Scott will get there’s, but no one else will, as the Wildcats get scoring from a number of sources.

SWEET SIXTEEN

4 North Carolina over 1 Wisconsin
The Tar Heel bigs won’t enjoy chasing Frank the Tank out past the arc, but something tells me this will be Marcus Paige’s finest hour.

2 Arizona over 11 BYU
I can see it now, game tied at 65, the Cougars just tied it with a pair of free throws. With 10 seconds to go, Sean Miller calls a play that frees up Stanley Johnson on the wing. He drives it and with a pair of defenders in his face, he nails a game-winning mid-range jumper.

ELITE EIGHT

2 Arizona over 4 North Carolina
There are few teams that can keep the Tar Heels off the offensive glass and Arizona is one of them. Without the second chance points, plus the fact UNC commits way too many fouls in what should be a physical game, my money is on the Wildcats.

 

FINAL FOUR


3 Iowa State over 3 Oklahoma
An all BIG-12 semifinal. These two are meeting for the fourth time this season and the Cyclones again have no trouble scoring against the Sooners.

1 Kentucky over 2 Arizona
This semifinal match up is declared “the real national title game” for a good reason. The Wildcats of Arizona give Kentucky their toughest challenge of the season, as they’ll need a Devin Booker three to break a tie in the final seconds

2015  NCAA CHAMPION


1 Kentucky Wildcats
Yes, Iowa State will come out and punch the Wildcats early with a handful of threes and open up a solid early lead, but by halftime Kentucky will have regained control and in the second half will put it away…40-0 season is complete.

Georgetown v Kentucky

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