Straight Up: Tournament Preview

Straight Up With Sturg
March 18, 2019 - 2:11 pm

I honestly don’t have too many complaints on my end when it comes to this years NCAA Tournament.  Most of my complaints would be seeding, but I can live with that.  The Southern Conference not getting a second bid as compared to other leagues whom got two, it makes no sense to me.  But at least there wasn’t a lot of blood sucking mediocrity when it comes to the power conferences, and that’s why it may be the best NIT field ever.


On the local side, Wofford celebrates the highest seeding ever with a #7 versus #10 Seton Hall in Jacksonville at 9:40 PM on Thursday evening.  If Wofford finished #13 in the all-important, but new, Team NET Rankings, how are the Terriers just a #7 seed?  Now that makes no sense to me.


I was happy to see some “Mid Majors” get “At Large” berths over Power conferences.  I do have some questions on those selections, but at least that’s a move in the right direction.  There are still eight Big 10 Ten teams, seven from the ACC and SEC, and six from the Big 12.  That’s nearly half the field, and that’s enough.  Seven conferences had 39 of the total 68 bids (ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big 10, Big East, AAC and Pac 12).


My thoughts on what to expect…


When it comes to the first #1 seed to go down:  It would be so easy to pick Virginia after last years debacle against UMBC.  I was there, and I witnessed the loss up close, and Tony Bennett won’t allow that effort to happen again.  This year, I think Gonzaga will go down to Florida State in the “Sweet 16”.


My two biggest upsets in the First Round:  #14 Old Dominion and Jeff Jones’ Prostate Cancer over a “usually quick to exit” Purdue.  #13 UC Irvine over #4 Kansas State.  I’d also look at #12 Liberty over #5 Mississippi State.  And #10 Florida over #7 Nevada is a definite possibility, just less of a shocker.


What will look strange:  The East Region “Sweet 16” matchups will look like Conference Championships in Washington, DC as Duke will take on Virginia Tech in an all ACC matchup. Followed by Maryland versus Michigan State in an all Big 10 meeting.  The East Region Final will be ACC versus Big 10.


What I see as “Unfair” (as if it matters): 

Kansas potentially getting a “Sweet 16” and “Elite 8” matchups in Kansas City.

#2 seed Tennessee versus #7 Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio in the 2nd Round.


Sturg’s Final Four will be…. East:  Duke;  West:  Michigan  /  South:  Villanova; Midwest:  North Carolina.


Sturg’s Champion will be….  Duke 73 – North Carolina 70


** Disclaimer **  While I could live with this, I’m not sure I could live with my picks actually happening.

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