Games, games and more games this week, starting Tuesday with what is called the first four along with the much overlooked NIT and the CBI tournaments.
Yep – games, games and more games. A big bankroll is needed.
Let’s take a quick look at the brackets for the big show and opine on how it could progress into the very sweet sixteen next week.
East region: Virginia, in winning the ACC tournament, gets the 1 seed in the East and comes into the NCAA tournament on a super high. The Cavaliers will get by Coastal Carolina, but will have their hands full if they get by the winner of the Memphis/George Washington game.
Those teams will most likely hook up with surging Michigan State who is a group that, if I were coaching, I would not want to play right now. The Spartans will get by a tough Delaware team and meet either Cincinnati or Harvard. The Ivy League champs also look sneaky, but the matchup will be ,in my opinion, Virginia vs. Michigan State with the Wahoos a slight favorite or pick’em.
The other side of the East we get Villanova beating up on Wisconsin Milwaukee. They will meet either St. Joe or UConn. If I were the Villanova head coach my preference would be to meet up with St. Joe rather than UConn.
Either way, any of the three could move on and meet North Carolina, Providence or Iowa State in this wide open part of the region. All the thinking here is it’s either Virginia or Michigan State.
Midwest region: The bottom line in the Midwest is that the 4 seed on my radar screen could be the best team in the entire Tournament, the Louisville Cardinals.
Rick Pitino’s boys will get by Manhattan and beat the winner of the Saint Louis vs. either NC St. or Xavier and most likely hook up with Wichita State. The unbeaten Shockers will need to be at their best to beat Kentucky. The Wildcats should beat Kansas State as John Calipari knows what it takes to win in this venue as does “slick Rick.”
In any case, Louisville is the team to beat, not Wichita State.
Louisville will most likely meet up with the Duke Blue Devils who most figure to play Michigan if the Wolverines can get past the winner of the Texas/Arizona game. The winner of the Duke/Michigan game will need to be at their best to beat Louisville.
South region: The 1 overall seed, Florida, will have it easy in its first game either against Albany or Mt. St. Mary’s and then move on to meet up with either Pittsburgh or Colorado.
Pitt will be a big danger to the Gators if the Panthers manage to get by Colorado. If that happens, Pitt will be a good bet +8 or 9 points against Florida. The Gators will move on and meet up with either VCU or UCLA. The Bruins could be a tough out but I don’t see Florida going down as they will move on to the Great Eight.
The other side of the South has Kansas looking best. The Jayhawks will get by Eastern Kentucky and meet either New Mexico or Stanford. The Jayhawks will get by either of those two teams and move on to meet up either helter skelter Ohio State (the Buckeyes will have their hands full with Dayton) or Syracuse, who will get by W. Michigan. The thinking here is Kansas will move on and meet up with Florida down the road.
West region: Lots of crazy things could happen out West. Top seed Arizona beats up on Weber State but either Gonzaga or Oklahoma State could beat them. The thinking here is any one of the three could move on and meet up with either Oklahoma, who will have their hands full with a game North Dakota State team, or San Diego State, who will be no patsy.
Whichever team moves on will likely meet up with either Wisconsin or Creighton. The wild wild West could offer some upsets in what looks to be one of the most wide open NCAA tournaments in a long time, especially if some 1’s get knocked out.
Tune in next week as we recap what has happened and move on to the very sweet and wide open sixteen.
Also, if you are an online subscriber, starting next week I will be doing interviews with top bookmakers in the business and others. You can hear and watch it live on www.gamingtoday.com
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GT’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].