We're back again for another thrilling week of March Madness basketball. It sure does seem like this week has dragged as we've waited on the Sweet 16 to begin, doesn't it?
Let's start with The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette leader board in our March Madness challenge. Whitney144 currently leads the pack with 102 points while ananda44 is just two points back. There is a six-way tie for third place following those two. The IP/BG sports writers in Stephen Fastenau and yours truly aren't far behind.
I would probably have more points if I didn't jump all over that Norfolk State bandwagon. Ouch. I can't believe I actually picked them to beat Florida in the round of 32. (They eventually lost by 34 if you were like the rest of the country and quit watching.)
I went 12-4 in my round of 32 selections, which isn't bad.
Now let's talk about who I think is going to advance in each of the next two rounds all the way to the Final Four in New Orleans.
I like for No. 1 Kentucky to beat Indiana in the Sweet 16 and Baylor in the Elite Eight. The Wildcats are out for revenge against Tom Crean's crew, which is responsible for one of UK's only two losses this season. They'll get it.
I like Baylor to beat Xavier in the Sweet 16 before falling to UK. Xavier hasn't really beaten anyone so far (Notre Dame and Lehigh) and the Bears may be too athletic for them.
In the bottom half of the bracket, I like Michigan State to beat Louisville in a defensive battle with the Spartans getting just enough offense to pull out the win.
They'll face off against Marquette (who will get past Florida in the Sweet 16) but will ultimately come up short in the Elite Eight. Buzz Williams' crew is playing great basketball right now.
And lest we forget, he's rollin' with them. (See this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgADLNH5Vx8)
On the other side of the bracket, I look for Kansas to beat N.C. State and North Carolina to advance to the Final Four (but the Wolfpack are playing great basketball) and I also like Ohio State to beat Syracuse to advance to New Orleans.
That means the 'Cuse will have gotten past Wisconsin (I think the Orange are a better team without Fab Melo – whose legal name is actually Fabricio De Melo) and the Buckeyes will have gotten past Cincinnati.
That's an easy call, in my opinion. The Bearcats don't seem to be very disciplined and Aaron Craft will really give Cincy fits defensively.
We'll see how it plays out. Good luck to all of you guys in your selections and enjoy the games!