Don’t Fill Out Your Bracket Before You Peep the Uristocrat Tournament Preview

Midwest

Teams to Watch

Kansas – Clearly the best team in the land, and contrary to what Jay Bilas thinks, this Kansas team is great.  Their young players, Xavier Henry and Tyshawn Taylor , have meshed well with the veterans and everyone has bought in to Bill Self.  They are the rightful favorites heading into the tournament.
Ohio State – Evan Turner is the best player in the land, but Ohio State still has a lot of talent left over from their last Final Four run. They caught a bad draw with Kansas, because I’d like them to make the Final four against Duke and Kentucky.
Georgetown – Their problem this season has been getting up for the little guy.  This team usually plays their best when the lights shine brightest.  Greg Monroe is a perfect fit for John Thompson  III’s Princeton offense and should lead them to the Sweet 16 easily.

Don’t Pick Them to Go Far

Michigan St. – Too many injuries, not enough talent to get Tom Izzo by  this time, although it’s usually foolish to bet against Izzo in March.
Maryland – A good team that isn’t great, they won’t make it past the Sweet 16 (if they even make it that far).

Sleepers

New Mexico State – This tough team could catch a struggling Michigan State team sleeping in the first round.  While that would be atypical of a Tom Izzo team, this year’s MSU squad doesn’t have the same desire you would normally see from this bunch.
San Diego State – Quietly one of the hottest teams in the nation, SDSU should be a tough out for Tennessee and if they advance they’ll give Georgetown a hard time.

West

Teams to Watch
Syracuse – If it didn’t set up for the Orange to meet Kansas in the national semifinal, they’d be a solid bet to win it all.  Like Kansas, they’re very well coached and have a nice core group of experienced, talented players.  Andy Rautins is the best shooter in the country (besides Jimmy Fredette) and Wes Johnson is the third best player in the country.  Unfortunately for ‘Cuse, Kansas is a little deeper and more talented.  Still, they should be able to make the Final Four with relative ease.

Pitt – Pitt has been slept on all year, and its pretty baffling.  While they aren’t as star studded as before, they can defend with the best of them and many of their players have experience from last year’s run.  Don’t count on them to bow out early.

BYU – As mentioned earlier, Jimmy Fredette of BYU is the best shooter in the country.  While Evan Turner is the land’s best player, and John Wall can take over any game, Jimmy is the only player that can shoot his team to the Elite 8 like Steph Curry did a few years ago.

Don’t Pick Them To Go Far

Gonzaga – From underdogs to probably overrated, don’t count on the Bulldogs to do much this year.

Vanderbilt – I’m not expecting much from the Commodores this year, who were definitely overseeded and will likely bow out early.

Sleepers

Butler – If you’re looking for the next Gonzaga, look no further.  They have tournament experience, great coaching and major conference talent.  Probably seeded too low at 5, the Butler Bulldogs could become this year’s favorite underdog.

Murray State – So could the Murray State racers.  They should beat Vandy in the first round, and could very well make it to the Sweet 16 … or beyond.  They’re the rare team that can score and defend.  You heard it here first.

East

Teams to Watch

West VA – Bob Huggins has been tinkering with lineups and prodding and provoking his players all seasons, but he finally seems to have his rotation in place.  I understand his tournament track record isn’t great, but I think he finally has the right group of players, talent wise and experience wise, to make a deep run.

Temple – This is a solid, gritty team.  According to statistical wizard Ken Pomeroy, they’re the third best defensive team in the nation.  Defense wins championships.  While I doubt the Owls will win it all this year, I do think they have what it takes to make a run.

Don’t Pick Them to Go Far

Kentucky – By don’t pick them far, I mean don’t pick them to win it all.  They are the most talented team in the nation sure, but how many Coach Cal teams have put it together to win it all?  On top of that, their second best player, DeMarcus Cousins is completely combustible.  I wouldn’t pick them to get past the Final Four.

New Mexico – No good reason here, I just don’t trust them in a neutral court setting.  The Pit is one of the biggest home court advantages in the nation, which I don’t think is taken into consideration much.

Sleepers

Cornell – If they can get past Temple, they’ll make the Sweet 16.  They are the rare mid-major team with size, and not to stereotype, but obviously they’re a smart team that won’t beat themselves.

Washington – Don’t sleep on the Pac-10 champs.  While they’ve underachieved somewhat in recent years, they’re far from an 11 seed.  Don’t be surprised to look up Sunday night and see the Huskies in the Sweet 16.

South

Teams to Watch

Duke – This Duke team is a lot better than the recent squads that have bowed out early in the tournament.  The team is very experienced and finally has some toughness down low.  Look for the three S’s (Scheyer, Smith, Singler) to carry them to the Final Four.
Villanova
– Scottie Reynolds is another one of those players who can get hot and carry a team deep in the tournament.  Besides, Jay Wright is the best dressed coach in the nation and we can pick up a few more fashion tips if they make a deep run in the tourney.
Baylor
– It’s amazing how far this program has bounced back from the Patrick Dennehey tragedy that nearly killed the program a few years ago.  Now the Bears seem poised to rise higher than they’ve ever been.

Don’t Pick Them To Go Far
Purdue – They suck without Hummel.
Texas A&M
– I’ve watched them a few times and I just wasn’t impressed.

Sleepers
ODU – The Colonial is one of the most underrated leagues in the nation.  The always competitive league usually produces one or two teams that are difficult outs every year in the tournament.  This year’s Monarch team is no different, and is actually ranked in the top 35 in the RPI and in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings.
Sienna –
Possibly the most experienced mid-major team in the nation, the Saints of Sienna have won a game in the tourney each of the past two years.  At this point, they’re probably favored against the #4 Boilermakers.