This is what a college basketball hangover feels like. After a weekend of bracket-busting madness, I find my picks ranking me in a tie for dead last over at MattHubert.com. Tied with my mom.
Once again, knowing so much helped me so little when it came to filling out my bracket. The redeeming factor is that my favorite team in the tournament (UCLA) also doubles as my pick to win it all, and they are still alive. Barely. Even the mighty Bruins flirted with disaster, falling behind by 10 points in the second half.
Three double digit seeds won two games apiece in the tournament. Meanwhile the entire state of Indiana failed me by winning just three games combined. Thanks a lot Butler, Notre Dame, Purdue and Indiana.
Two regions have been nearly without upset. In the East, only 9th-seeded Arkansas beating 8th-seeded Indiana saw a lower seed advance. Ditto in the South where #5 Michigan State over #4 Pittsburgh was the lone surprise. But the West and Midwest regions have made up for it. Twelfth seeded Villanova and Western Kentucky moved on to the Sweet 16 whereas 2-seeds Georgetown and Duke went home early.
For what it’s worth (and at this point, the answer is “not much”), here are my second chance picks for the second weekend of the tournament:
1. North Carolina over 4. Washington State
The Tar Heels will not eclipse the century mark for a third straight game because the Cougars play stingy defense, but Washington State still won’t have enough points to match Carolina’s total with a healthy Ty Lawson running the show.
3. Louisville over 2. Tennessee
I thought Tennessee was ripe for an upset. And after a first round scare against American and an overtime thriller against Butler, I think Louisville is the team that gets in done in a mini-upset.
1. Kansas over 12. Villanova
There’s a reason why Villanova was the lowest seeded at large team in the tournament. As impressive as their comeback win was against Clemson, they received a gift when they received Siena in the round of 32. Kansas will end the Wildcats’ season right here.
10. Davidson over 3. Wisconsin
Davidson is not a fluke team. If the clutch performances of Stephen Curry against Gonzaga and Wisconsin weren’t enough, consider this: the Wildcats haven’t lost a game in 2008. Yes, that’s 24 straight wins since a one-point loss at North Carolina in December 2007. Wisconsin is a strong, tough-minded team from the Big 10, but Curry and company seem to have that magic touch.
5. Michigan State over 1. Memphis
Memphis nearly did itself in at the foul line against a Mississippi State team that had no business being in the game late. The Spartans won’t let Memphis off the hook so easily. Look for the guard combination of freshman Kalin Lucas and senior Drew Neitzel to pull the upset and knock off the first number one seed in the tournament.
2. Texas over 3. Stanford
The Longhorns have the edge on the perimeter and the Cardinal possess the advantage on the inside. In the end, I expect D.J. Augustin to bounce back from an embarrassing airball free throw late in the game against Miami to outperform Stanford’s twin towers, Brook and Robin Lopez.
1. UCLA over 12. Western Kentucky
The offensive highlight of the tournament’s opening weekend belongs to Western Kentucky’s Ty Rogers, who hit a game-winning, buzzer-beating three to defeat Drake in overtime 101-99. The defensive highlight of the tournament’s opening weekend belongs to UCLA’s Josh Shipp, who made a game-saving shot block to secure the Bruins’ 51-49 second-round win against Texas A&M. In the third round, expect most of the highlights to favor UCLA, who simply has too much talent for the Hilltoppers to overcome.
7. West Virginia over 3. Xavier
West Virginia’s Joe Alexander may be the best player in the West region not named Kevin Love. The 6-8 junior is playing his way up the NBA Draft boards and may be playing his team within a game of the Final Four. Xavier won’t go down without a fight, but the Musketeers showed vulnerabilities against Georgia and Purdue and West Virginia is playing better than both those teams right now.
1. North Carolina over 3. Louisville
1. Kansas over 10. Davidson
2. Texas over 5. Michigan State
1. UCLA over 7. West Virginia
For more information, visit MattHubert.com.