I don’t like Gonzaga. This is clear. Then the Irish get put out in the West with them…
So yes, Gonzaga is the jerkstore of this region. Otherwise, this could also be called the pocket protector region, with Northwestern, Princeton, Vandy and ND all in the top half.
Potential First Round Upsets
I’m on record as saying that the left side of the bracket looks chalky, while the right side could be a bloodbath. The double digit seeds in the West have some life though. It pains me to say it, but Princeton will be dangerous. More on that below.
Maryland/Xavier is a 6/11 toss up, and no one would be surprised if Trevon Bluiett took over that game. I like VCU over St. Mary’s for the simple reason that St. Mary’s is bad. They may be in the Top 15 in the KenPom rankings, but give me VCU’s combo of Cox and Tillman in this one.
Florida Gulf Coast is back, and people are discussing them as a 14 seed that can pull off an upset. These people must all of a sudden think FSU is bad because they’ve lost a few games down the stretch to good ACC teams. Not happening. Take the Seminoles…and the points (-12).
Mike Daum and South Dakota State…we can dream, can’t we?
Notre Dame / Princeton
The Irish come in with confidence, even after just coming short against Dook in the ACC Championship game. They’ve won 8 of 10, and in their two losses, they have been down 2 with a minute to play at Louisville and tied against Duke with 2 minutes to play.
Princeton’s very similar to ND. They don’t turn it over and shoot it extremely well. Interestingly, one of their best players, Devin Cannady played with Demetrius Jackson in high school in Mishawaka. Princeton rolled through the Ivy league, coming into the tournament having won 19 games in a row.
The spread has moved from 7.5 to 6.5, meaning that some money is going on the Tigers. Remember, two years ago, the Irish came out flat against the 14 seed, Northeastern, and needed a defensive stop to survive. I bet you Brey has brought that up with his team. The Irish won’t come out flat again, and they’ll avoid the 5/12 upset.
You know I’m not picking Gonzaga. I’m not sure they’ll even beat Vanderbilt. But I hope they do, so that Bonz and the boys can send them packing.
I’ve got the Irish getting over the hump and beating Arizona in a classic.