Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Madness: The 5 Teams To Watch

There is no dominant team in the NCAA tournament this year and parody reigns supreme. Everyone is beatable and everyone is susceptible to an upset, but the more I look at the draw the more I see distinct favorites coming out of each region. The top seeds in the East and the Southeast both get home games through the round of 16 and Notre Dame and North Carolina (#2 seeds) stay close to home as well. Geography will play a big part in determining the outcome of this tournament. Here are the 5 teams to watch in the quest for the national championship.

1. Duke. I'm not really going out on a limb here am I? The defending national champs return senior guard Nolan Smith and senior forward Kyle Singler. The duo will provide leadership and experience down the stretch. The Blue Devils play their first 2 games in Charlotte so the sweet 16 is a lock. San Diego St. is the #2 seed in their region and I doubt the Aztecs will be around when it comes time to cut down the nets.

2. Ohio St. The Buckeyes are probably the most complete team in the tournament. They have inside presence with Jared Sullinger and outside presence with Jon Diebler. Now that they are out of conference play facing teams that don't know their tendencies I predict Ohio St. will get even better as the tournament wears on. Like Duke, Ohio St. plays their first 2 games at home in Cleveland. Once again the sweet 16 is a lock.

3. Kansas. I like the way they man handled Texas in the Big 12 championship. They started talking trash in the hallway before the game and backed it up on the court. The size of the Morris twins and the athleticism of Josh Selby makes Kansas a dangerous team. Purdue will be their biggest obstacle on the way to the final four.

4. UConn. The Huskies rattled off 5 straight wins in 5 days to win the Big East title which is impressive because the Big East sent 11 teams to the tournament. Kemba Walker is a streaky shooter, but when he has it going he's one of the best players in the country. San Diego St. is on their side of the draw and as you can tell I don't think too highly of the Aztecs.

5. Xavier. Now I'm going out on a limb. The Musketeers have size across their front line and the A-10 conference player of the year in Tu Holloway (can you tell I've been doing my research). Like Ohio St Xavier plays their first 2 games in Cleveland which is not far from Cincinnati. The sweet 16 is a lock.

One of these teams will win the national championship guaranteed. Tomorrow is upset special day. I'll let you know where the surprises are in the draw. Stay tuned.

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