After a whirlwind of your to-be-expected March, well, madness, the Final Four 2012 are in the for the killing. The blurry line between Sweet 16 and Elite 8 was sharpened by the loss of Wisconsin to 1 Syracuse, Syracuse to OSU. And, others like it: 1 Michigan State loses to Louisville, 1 North Carolina to Kansas — leaving only one front-runner left: Kentucky.
And here we have the Final Four 2012: Kentucky, Ohio State, Kansas and Louisville. In all honesty, nobody remembers the Final Four four years later, let alone a season later. Regardless, its worth noting our game favorites and expectations, just to feel good about ourselves before the victor stumbles through.
- Kentucky: Anthony Davis. Averaging 4 blocks, 15 points and 11 boards per tournament game. And that’s not to underestimate Deron Lamb, Darius Miller and Marquis Teague. Four of six Kentucky players averaging double-digit points this season. They’re too good.
- Ohio State: This team is tough, skilled and they have Jared Sullinger. The sophomore forward averages 18 points/ game and shoots 81 percent from the foul line.
- Kansas: With 39 rebounds against North Carolina, the Jayhawks should hope to pull off the same against Ohio State. This athletic, but inconsistent team, will need to compensate for a mediocre shooting percentage.
- Louisville:Their size and skill are not especially telling, but a strong defense can stand against the best. Look out for Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Cardinals’ center Gorgui Dieng. He played for seven blocks and three steals against 1 Michigan State.
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Louisville, New Orleans, LA
Saturday, March 31, 6:09 p.m., tip-off
No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 2 Ohio State, New Orleans, LA
Saturday, March 31, 8:49 p.m. tip-off
After a predictable first round and an appropriately mad second and third, we have at last reached the Sweet Sixteen.
To start, here is a list of this week’s match ups:
1 Kentucky vs 4 Indiana
3 Baylor vs 10 Xavier
1 MSU vs 4 Louisville
3 Marquette vs 7 Florida
1 Syracuse vs 4 Wisconsin
6 Cincinnati vs 2 Ohio State University
1 UNC vs 13 Ohio
11 North Carolina State vs 2 Kansas
Sweet Sixteen Key Trends
- O-hi, Ohio! Where did you come from? With OSU, Ohio, Cincinnati and Xavier all in the Sweet 16, the state is naturally a front runner. From 2-seeds to 13-seed, we can only anticipate that all the Ohio-natives will cancel each other out.
- Big Ten: Who’s hoping for a Sweet Sixteen sweep by the B10? Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin and OSU all have a running shot for the Final Four, let alone the Elite Eight.
- Wisconsin had a serious opportunity to climb past 1-seed Syracuse. With best player Fab Melo out on academic probation, 4-seed Wisconsin may be able to prove their mobility.
- Indiana might have the toughest game against Kentucky, who have proved nothing but ruthless over the past week.
- Baylor: March Madness upset veterans. Always good for a pleasant surprise.
- There are 3 1:4 seed match-ups. Let’s just say it’s the triumph of the underrated. Or perhaps bracket allocation should be re-considered.
SO, as March Madness kicked off to smooth sailing on its first day, I know we are thankful for the NOTY awards on this holiday. For those who don’t know: the Name of the Year Ballot is distributed each year on the first day of March Madness. Bill Simmons references the ballot as the “Best March Madness time waster.” This means, next time you’re watching Wisconsin kill Montana, take a second to allocate your NOTY picks.
After Syracuse pulled through in the second half, I decided to tune out of MM for the rest of the day. Instead, I focused on this bracket and below are my top picks:
- Nohjay Nimpson
- Lolita Respectnothing
- Hannukkah Wallace
- Starzanne Stripes
- Pamela Balls Organista
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: March Madness 2012. That means brackets and basketball. With yesterday’s release of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Tourney bracket, and the first game on Thursday, there’s nothing to do but fill out a bracket and wait for the madness to ensue. (If Bracketology isn’t your favorite subject, then drop out of class now).
Now: a small disclaimer. My readers should know that as a Big Ten alum, I have no choice but to blog Big Ten-friendly. That’s not to say I won’t honestly comment on the progression of the tournament.
So, take a look at the Bracket, fill it out to your liking and let March Madness 2012 begin!
- First rounds begin March 13
- Second round: March 15-16
- Third: March 17-18
- Sweet 16: March 22-23
- Elite Eight: March 24-25
- Final Four: March 31
- Champion: April 2
- Michigan State