Sports Couple's March Madness picks
In case you missed part one of our March Madness preview, "How to win YOUR pool", check it out here.
Today the Sports Couple talks picks for the 2012 tournament. Without further ado, our upsets, teams we like, teams we hate, and our Final Four predictions.
The best part of March Madness is the inevitable string of upsets and the equally inevitable Cinderella run that comes to a crashing halt in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8. With that in mind, here are our top three consensus upset picks for this year’s tourney.
North Carolina State: NC State Calyn's sleeper pick to win it all (see below), so I definitely have them beating San Diego State in their first game. The Wolfpack were up and down this year and struggled against top teams – they did not beat a ranked team all season. The good news is that SDSU is a weak #6 with a weak schedule and almost no quality wins. Playing in the ACC has more than prepared NC State to knock off the Aztecs. Another good stat: NC State had 12 losses all season – 8 of them to ranked opponents.
New Mexico State: They are an athletic team going up against a bad road team in Indiana. Indiana is without its top bench player in Verdell Jones and, after starting the season 15-1, the Hoosiers closed out with a 10-7 mark in their last 17.
Belmont:: Yeah, we know, another clichéd upset. Four reasons why we like Belmont: 1) Georgetown has suspect perimeter defence and Belmont can shoot the three. 2) Georgetown went 4-5 down the stretch. 3) Georgetown has lost to a double digit seed in each of the last two tournaments. 4) Belmont is under seeded, Georgetown is over seeded. ESPN’s computer simulation gives Belmont a 30 percent chance to win. Not bad odds for a 14-3 matchup.
Top seeds in trouble:
Calyn: Syracuse is the more likely #1 to flame out early now they are without Fab Melo, but the loss of Branden Dawson is equally damaging to Michigan State. The Spartans look vulnerable and I could see them losing in the second round to Memphis. Even if they survive an early scare I don’t see much hope of them beating Missouri. Their propensity to lose to top teams (North Carolina, Duke, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State) is an ominous sign with the Tigers lurking.
Nolan: Agree with everything Calyn said above, though I find it really hard to go against Tom Izzo. Also, I am a little worried about Kentucky’s youth: two starting freshman, two starting sophomores. Teams with too much youth can get rattled easily. Both MSU and Kentucky have tough 2nd round matchups waiting for them.
Let’s take a closer look at the number two seeds. Outside of Ohio State, I’m not sold on any of the two seeds making it to the final four. I really want to take Mizzou but small four guard teams never seem to make it. Counterbalancing my fear of four guard teams, Mizzou is number one ranked in Kenpom Adjusted Offensive Efficiency – six of the last seven NCAA winners were ranked one or two (Kentucky is two). Duke is too small and too reliant on the three ball, and Kansas lacks depth. Admittedly, Ohio State faces a tough matchup in the sweet 16 against Florida State.
Sleeper to win it all: