2008 NCAA Bracket Predictions: First Round ~ BitterSweetLife

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2008 NCAA Bracket Predictions: First Round

Keeping the NCAA buzz machine running at full steam, here are my NCAA Tourney picks for the first round of 2008's games. I'll even throw in some bracket analysis, off-the-cuff style.

With a little luck, this advice will help you dominate your tournament pool (even if it's a kiddie pool)--but I'm making no guarantees! This is madness, after all.

OK, starting in the East Regional, here are my predictions.
#1 North Carolina beats the play-in. No brainer.
#8 Indiana beats #9 Arkansas. White and Gordon will be too much for the Razorbacks.
#5 Notre Dame beats #12 George Mason. Picking the #12 over the #5 is often a good idea, but not this time.
#4 Washington State beats #13 Winthrop. Good time to take the safe pick (we'll get risky later).
#6 Oklahoma beats #11 Saint Joseph's. St. Joe won't have an answer for the Sooner's Blake Griffin.
#3 Louisville beats #14 Boise State. The Cards are hot.
#7 Butler beats # 10 S. Alabama. Experience and superior talent carry the day here.
#2 Tennessee beats #15 American. It won't help American that the Vols had a #1 seed pulled out from under them at the last minute.

On to the Midwest Regional. Here's what happens:
#1 Kansas beats #16 Portland State. The mercurial Jayhawks are prone to play down to their opponents, but they'll still win this one by, oh, 17.
#8 UNLV beats #9 Kent State. In a close game.
#5 Clemson beats #12 Villanova. After beating Duke and challenging North Carolina in the ACC, the Tigers are planning to stick around the NCAA tournament for awhile.
#13 Siena beats #4 Vanderbilt. 13/4 upsets are rarer than 12/5s, but this would be a good one to pick.
#11 Kansas State beats #6 USC. In the war of the League-bound prep stars, Michael Beasely will edge out O.J. Mayo and show why he deserves POY honors over Tyler Hansbrough.
#3 Wisconsin beats #14 Cal St. Fullerton. Teams with four or more syllables in their names seldom advance far in the bracket, and Wisconsin probably deserved a #2 seed.
#10 Davidson beats # 7 Gonzaga. The owners of the longest current NCAA winning streak will add another game.
Georgetown beats UMBC. No answers here for the Hoyas' post play.

Here's how it will go down in the South regional:
#1 Memphis beats #16 Texas-Arlington. Good rule of thumb: teams with hyphenated names don't go far in the tourney.
#9 Oregon beats #8 Mississippi State. The Ducks are better than you think.
#12 Temple beats #5 Michigan State. This is that proverbial 12/5 upset special, and Michigan State has been anything but consistent this season.
#4 Pittsburgh beats #13 Oral Roberts. Pittsburgh is tough.
#11 Kentucky beats #6 Marquette. Billy Gillespie and the Wildcats have some things to prove. A good upset pick if you have the guts.
# 3 Stanford beats #14 Cornell. This won't be close.
#7 Miami (Fla.) beats #10 St. Mary's (Cal.). Expect a battle though.
#2 Texas beats #15 Austin Peay. It will probably take another couple rounds for you to know how good the Longhorns actually are.

Finally, the West Regional. Here's what to expect.
#1 UCLA beats #16 Mississippi Valley. Were you holding your breath? This isn't the year a 16 beats a 1.
#9 Texas A&M beats # 8 Brigham Young. A&M has stopped underachieving just in time for NCAA play.
#5 Drake beats #12 Western Kentucky. Again, the 12/5 rule might apply here. But it doesn't.
#4 Connecticut beats #13 San Diego. UConn is not the powerhouse it has been, but SD is still over-matched.
#11 Baylor beats #6 Purdue. Baylor continues their march out of the national cellar with a feel-good win. Watch their ultra-talented back court.
#3 Xavier beats #14 Georgia. Georgia sneaked into the bracket at the last minute, but the party ends here.
#10 Arizona beats #7 West Virginia. You might not know that the Wildcats are loaded, but they'll play to their talent level for at least one NCAA game.
#2 Duke beats #15 Belmont. After getting bounced by Clemson in the ACC tournament, Duke isn't about to lose two in a row.

Check back for the second round, regionals, and national semifinals, coming up. (You can bookmark or subscribe to stay posted.) Good luck with your own NCAA brackets, and if in doubt, pick 'em with bravado. A few good upset predictions never hurt! If you need another tournament pool to compete in, feel free to jump in here.

UPDATE: See also, 2008 NCAA Bracket Picks, Second Round
The Third Round (Regional) picks are also up. And now, the Elite 8, Final 4 and Championship picks are posted.

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Will Hicks said...

I would love a UCLA v. Kansas final game. Hopefully your boys make it.

Ariel said...

I'm just hoping the Bruins can make it past Duke and Texas. Tough bracket. In my brackets, the final alternates between Kansas-UCLA and Kansas-Texas.

Will Robison said...

Sorry, Ariel. I have a NC-Memphis final two. If Kansas had been in any other bracket, they would have played for the title.

Of course, that's assuming they can get past the Big Sky's Portland State! These guys knocked off my Idaho State Bengals - so you've got to watch out for them in the first round.

(Honestly, I can't have a very good battle of smack talking when I have no ammunition! ;)

Will Hicks said...

OtherWill, I hate to break it to you, but UCLA OWNS Memphis in the tournament. I grew up in Southern California and live in Memphis now and that's my favorite game (it seems like) every tournament, UCLA v. Memphis. The Tigers get owned every time.

Ariel, Duke? Really? Duke? They're lucky to have that #2. I've got them getting punked by Arizona in the second round.

must_decrease said...

Mr. Robinson, tisk tisk...Memphis? Really? Isn't conference USA like a division II pretender? Seriously, if Memphis would have played in a decent division they would be milking a 3 or 4 seed at best. And don't come in here with the strength of schedule garbage because it just doesn't add up. Memphis will surprise nobody by exiting via Texas if not before

Will Hicks said...

Decrease, even some of the big Memphis homers here don't think they'll make it past Texas. You're right, Pitt may take them out early.

Ariel, how's this for a west coast sleeper: USC. If they can get past Kansas State in the first round, they could make it to Kansas without too much trouble. Don't root for them too hard against KState. They might come back to bite you.

Ariel said...

@Will R.: You simply have to respect a man who goes into battle with a Portland State in his arsenal.

@ Will: I agree, Duke gets too much credit simply for being Duke. But they're good enough to play spoiler for UCLA...especially if Kevin Love's back goes out. Hope the big guy's OK.

@decrease: Memphis won't make the Final Four in my bracket, but with Rose and Dozier and that upperclassman with the hyphenated name, they do have talent.

@ Will (again): I was thinking about picking USC for a couple games, but Beasely is incredible, and it's hard to believe he won't find a way to win one.

If KU did play USC again, I'd say Bring it on. Kansas' back court enjoyed getting the best of OJ Mayo last time (insert clever sandwich joke).

Will Robison said...

I don't know. They lost what? one-game? Yeah, alright... they didn't play a lot of the real big dogs, but in my books, Memphis is legit. Not legit enough to beat NC, but legit enough to knock off almost anyone else. There might be a few teams that could play spoiler, though.

UNC, to me, is like Syracuse. I always underrate them and they come back to bite me. So, until I see UNC get knocked off, I won't believe it.

Ultimately, though, none of us will be even close to correct. Last year I had 7 of 8 Elite Eight teams and 1 of 4 Final Four teams. Go figure.

I'm taking St. Mary's all the way!

Plasma tv wall brackets said...

Woah yours is so close to mine! especially North Carolina beats the play-in. No brainer, no doubt, definitely. But im really hoping the bruins make it past duke and texas.

That would be sad if they didnt!

What do you think?

Great Post! [seriously ive never enjoyed a post like this, ever]



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