2008 NCAA Bracket Predictions: Elite Eight, Final Four ~ BitterSweetLife

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2008 NCAA Bracket Predictions: Elite Eight, Final Four

So now we've reached the Elite Eight. We've made our bracket picks for the first round, second round, and third round (regionals), and now we find ourselves staring down the barrels of eight loaded, NCAA-proven, road-tested teams (allow me the bad metaphor). Time for more off-the-cuff analysis.

Our problem here is that any of the remaining teams could very well win it all--and that's especially true this year, when so many of the top-tier teams have advanced. As we pick our Final Four and National Champion, we have to trust our luck, go with our gut, and back our favorites. Sound good?

We'll tackle the remaining predictions with the same savvy improv that's taken us this far. NCAA bracket glory awaits...first, the Elite Eight games.

East

#2 Tennessee beats #1 North Carolina. The Tarheels' lack of defense and the Vols' chip on the shoulder meet in a perfect storm. Tennessee wins by 5.

Midwest
#1 Kansas beats #3 Wisconsin. Wisconsin tries to ugly the game up, but KU's inside beef rises to the challenge, and the Badgers can't stop the Jayhawks from running away in the last ten minutes of the second half.

South
#2 Texas beats #1 Memphis. Memphis gets caught on the horns of a Longhorn dilemma, and get gored. Conference USA hasn't prepared them for a team with as many weapons and as much composure as Texas--plus, they miss crucial free throws.

West
#1 UCLA beats #3 Xavier. Xavier can wheel and deal with the best of them, but they can't stop Kevin Love.

All right, we paid our dues to the top dogs by advancing #1 seeds Kansas and UCLA while simultaneously respecting the NCAA upset bug. On to the Final Four.
#1 Kansas beats #2 Tennessee. Bruce Pearl and the Vols are eager to revenge themselves on KU for the theft of the Midwest's #1 seed, but they didn't count on the Jayhawks' stifling defense.

#1 UCLA beats #2 Texas. Texas nabbed UCLA early in the season, and the Bruins have the advantage of the revenge factor. Alternatively, this would make a great last-ditch upset pick, because we know that Texas has the tools to beat UCLA. In my brackets I've been alternating UCLA and Texas in the final game.

And now, the National Championship:
#1 Kansas beats #1 UCLA. The Bruins have the best player in Kevin Love, but in this game, the Jayhawks have the next three best players in Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush. KU's tag team approach to the post (Arthur, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, and Cole Aldrich) is enough to wear Love down, and the Jayhawks win the game in the last two minutes.

So there you have it. Two #1 seeds meet in the NCAA tournament championship, which is not an extremely daring prediction, but even as a #1, the Jayhawks would probably be considered a dark horse pick on most brackets (North Carolina and Memphis have had more headlines).

Best of luck making your own bracket predictions. This year, with 5-6 really dominant teams, a good approach will be to respect the elite teams while honoring the underdogs with a handful of strategic upset picks--which is what I've tried to do with my predictions. Whatever happens, back your picks to the last minute--because that's when a lot of these games are won. Hope it works for you!

If you're looking for one more bracket pool, this blog has one. Feel free to jump in. If you liked what you read here, go ahead and subscribe to this blog or bookmark it for more NCAA talk (mixed with other stuff). Now, go get to work on your brackets.



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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for taking time to lay out the tournament, I looked over your predictions after I had done my picks and will say, I changed a few. It is really a crap shot this year.

Jackie said...

I don't know you, but I hope you are good at this - I cheated with you on my office pool! I am very dumb when it comes to hoops. I'm trying!!

Anonymous said...

Your early picks are terrible with no reasoning. There will be some upsets but not as many as you predict. Perhaps you get a cut of Vegas cash.

Nathan said...

I like the way you think, one of my brackets with Xavier making to the final four past UCLA, but based on my picks for the Big XII tourney I;m sure I'll be wrong! Ha!

Cheers.

Ariel said...

@ anonymous #1: Good luck with your bracket--hope I didn't throw you off. Like you say, it's a crap shoot!

@ jackie: Well, I hope I'm good at this too, but keep in mind that picking the NCAAs is far, far from a sure thing. Often you pick your favorites, choose your rationale, and then watch as some unheard-of dude gets hot and goes off for 30 to ruin your bracket... It's an inexact science, so don't bet more than you can afford to lose. ;-)

@ anonymous #2: I wish I was getting a cut, ha ha. True, I threw up a bunch of upsets in the first round, but I do that every year. It's just how I roll. ;-) And let's be honest, there's no mathematical formula for picking upsets. Remember George Mason? You just have to man up, cross your fingers, and choose a few upsets!

John B. said...

Ariel,
In case you're curious, I've posted my selections up to my Sweet 16 picks here and here. For the latter post, you might notice a familiar face.

I also joined your Facebook bracket group and filled out a bracket there.

Will Hicks said...

Ariel, this should make you happy. From the L.A. Times: http://tinyurl.com/388tbk

"Jayhawks will rock their way to title"

Of course, it's Bill Plaschke. No one in L.A. takes him seriously.

Ariel said...

@ Will: Wow, I think that's the first time I've heard someone from L.A. talking knowledgeably about college hoops. Ha ha ha!

usuckatpredictions said...

u might be one of the dumbest persons at predicting anything that has to do with basketball or even life... if i had needed someone to predict something for me... u would be lower then low on my list... i hope u know that u are DUMB!!!!!!... and yes i made my username just for u cause it is wut u r

Ariel said...

@ usuck: Are you serious? You created a new username just to taunt me. Wow, just WOW! I think that's the first time someone has ever taken the time to do that for me.

if i had needed someone to predict something for me... u would be lower then low on my list

LOL. That's too bad, there were some really interesting developments in your life that I was about to tell you about.

Will Hicks said...

"and yes i made my username just for u cause it is wut u r"

Ahahahahahahaha. Wut u r is dum. U dum e.

I didn't see you putting your picks up early for the world to second-guess after the fact.

Go play outside.

Anonymous said...

AJ,
Just wanted to give a BIG THANKS, used the majority of you picks and took 1st in one pool and 2nd in the other. Kansas as National Champs put me over the top in both.
I will have a beer in your honor tonight!!!!
Dakernal

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife