Sunday, March 12, 2006

An Early Peek at the Brackets

Was that an uncomfortable interview that Jim Nantz and Billy Packer had on CBS with NCAA selection committee chairman Craig Littlepage? It was obvious they had some serious concerns with the selections, particularly the skewing toward teams from the non-power conferences.

There also seemed to be some inconsistency. How do George Mason and Air Force make it in over Cincinnati from the Big East and Florida State from the ACC? How do they get in over Missouri State, which now holds a dubious record for being the school with the highest RPI (21) to be left out of the dance? No, really, I'm asking. Littlepage

In fairness to the committee, it was the toughest year I can remember to pick which schools bubble to burst. There were a lot of teams that looked an awful lot alike, and sorting them out had to be difficult. That being said, I don't think they did a particularly good job. I have more comments about that later this week. Here's the NCAA official policies regarding the selection process.

Coming on Monday, I'll be posting my weekly Duke Basketball Report column. On Tuesday and Wednesday I'll break down the regions and give you my game by game picks. One piece of advice--do NOT use these as the basis for making any wagers or filling out sheets for your bracket pool. It's not that I'm morally against gambling, it's that I suck doing this and I don't want innocent people to suffer.

With my disclaimer out of the way, here's my Final Four:

Duke, Ohio State (not #1 Villanova), Memphis, and Connecticut. I like UConn beating Duke for the championship.

You want sleepers? Marquette #7 in the Oakland region is the only one that jumps out of me. Michigan State, #6 in the Washington, DC region has the potential to beat any team in the nation, but also to lose to almost any team. I don't see them putting together a string of wins, but they deserve some consideration in your bracket.

Start working on your excuses to get out of work Thursday and Friday. I always recommend not using a death in the family because you can go to that well too often and kill off the same family member more than once. That's very bad form. You've got some time, be creative.


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