NCAA Bracket Predictions: South Region
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is perhaps the most thrilling, excruciating time on the sports calendar. It’s certainly the time college basketball is its most relevant nationally, and it brings out the expert in everyone as brackets everywhere are filled in and submitted with varying levels of confidence.
I watch maybe 12 minutes of college basketball per year, and convince myself come bracket time that I’ve got this thing nailed. I never do.
So what we’re going to do is pick games and then give some (likely wrong) rationale for each one. Sometimes there’s a real reason for the pick. Other times there’s not. We don’t recommend filling out a bracket based on these selections, but feel free to do so if you need someone to blame.
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Gardner-Webb
There’s no way Virginia falls to a 16 two consecutive years, right?
No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 9 Oklahoma
No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Oregon
Oregon is on an eight-game winning streak. Hot teams in March are scary.
No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 13 UC Irvine
Way too many people are picking UCI to upset the Wildcats. That is not a great sign.
Pick: Kansas State
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 11 St. Mary’s
An upset of Gonzaga in the WCC tournament ensured the Gaels went dancing. It’s hard to count out the defending champs in the first round.
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Old Dominion
Is Robbie Hummel still at Purdue?
No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 10 Iowa
Cincinnati is the team I lean on every year to make too deep of a run. It never works. Let’s try something different!
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Colgate
There’s another bracket rule. It’s ‘never trust Rick Barnes.’ We’ll reluctantly trust him here.
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 9 Oklahoma
We’ll trust Virginia isn’t going to get bounced in the second round the year after losing to a 16 seed.
No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 12 Oregon
Picking K-State means more chalk, but we didn’t feel great about the Oregon pick to begin with. This is how logic works.
Pick: Kansas State
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 6 Villanova
Jay Wright is going to have his team ready to pull off an early upset.
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 10 Iowa
Never trust Rick Barnes.
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Kansas State
The Virginia redemption tour continues!
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 10 Iowa
Perhaps it’s that I’ve gotten so used to seeing Villanova play late into tournaments, but a deep run just feels right.
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 6 Villanova
This would be a really fun game. Virginia trying to redeem itself after an epic first-round exit, against the defending champs trying to regain form after a rough regular season. The top seed prevails.