2009 NCAA Bracket Predictions: Elite Eight ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2009 NCAA Bracket Predictions: Elite Eight

UPDATE: My Final Four & Championship Bracket Picks are now up.

After a couple rounds of frenzied picking, we now have our Sweet Sixteen teams. (See my First Round NCAA Bracket Predictions and my Second Round Bracket Picks.) But the remaining picks will make or break our brackets. In 2008-2009, parity has been the name of the NCAA game, and with each round, winners become harder and harder to identify. It's like trying to pick out the dark horse in a group of gray horses in a huge unlit stable at dusk...if you know what I mean.

Worried yet?

Well, you shouldn't be, because everyone else is in the same boat. Let's predict our Elite Eight with bravado, and avoid those moments of tournament paralysis that can nail the best hoops fans. Got your pencil? It's too late for second-guessing now. Let's do this.

Here's who emerges in the Midwest Region.

#1 Louisville beats #4 Wake Forest. Wake is tough and loaded, but the top team in the Big East guts this one out.
#3 Kansas beats #2 Michigan St. When the Spartans and Jayhawks clashed earlier this season, Bill Self's young team got beat up. But this young KU team has gelled since then and they want payback.

Who comes out of the West? Here's who:
#1 UConn beats #5 Purdue. Purdue is hot, but the Huskies have four players averaging 13ppg. And they have Hasheem Thabeet, who wreaks havoc in the paint.
#3 Missouri beats #2 Memphis. Memphis has won 25 straight. But the Tigers are aggressive, hungry, and don't give a darn that Calipari thinks his team was disrespected. They win by 2, shocking 95% of the national pundits.

Here's how it the bracket crumbles in the East Regional.
#1 Pitt beats #5 Floridat St. FL guard Toney Douglas is a game-changer, but DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields, and Sam Young put this one out of reach.
#7 Texas beats #6 UCLA. After knocking off Duke, the Longhorns are riding high, and they prove again that when all pistons are firing, they can beat anyone.

Finally, here's what happens in the South, formerly known as the "UNC Bracket."
#9 Butler beats #4 Gonzaga. Neither of these teams were favorites to reach the Elite Eight, and Butler capitalizes, riding the efforts of 6'8" guard-forward Gordon Hayward to a dark horse victory.
#2 Oklahoma beats #3 Syracuse. Fatigue finally catches up with the Orangemen, as Blake Griffin and guard sidekick Willie Warren get the better of Johnny Flynn and Co.

Coming up within the hour, Final Four and Championship bracket picks. At this point, our bracket is looking good. We've acknowledged the star power of heavy favorites like UConn and Pitt, but have called some surprising upsets as well (UNC, Memphis). And we're paying homage to the "little guy" by putting Butler in the Elite Eight (but keep in mind that Butler was in the Top 25 for much of the season).

Check back soon for the Final Four and NCAA winner, coming up. (You can bookmark or subscribe to stay posted.)

UPDATE: My Final Four & Championship Bracket Picks are now up.

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Will Robison said...

Missouri over Memphis... I don't think so... but I might just cross my fingers late if its close.


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