We all love the little guy, but Saturday was not a good day for them as it pertained to the NCAA tournament. Six of the eight games pitted a “BCS” team against a “non-BCS” team and the big boys won all six of them, five of those coming by double digits. And that doesn’t even count Gonzaga losing, the ultimate “I told you so” for doubters that the Zags deserved a No. 1 seed.
I was one of those doubters, and, well … I told you so. I thought Gonzaga should have been a 3 seed, and there is no indictment in that, that’s the equivalent of traditional powers Michigan State and Florida. I know Zag fans are touchy about it, but there’s really no shame in admitting that Gonzaga shouldn’t have been a No. 1 seed as they proved in barely beating 16-seed Southern and losing to 9-seed Wichita State. Sure it’s easy to say they shouldn’t have been a No. 1 seed now, but it was also pretty easy before Saturday, too. Consider this, once the field had been whittled to 32 teams, the Zags had absolutely zero wins against any of the 32 teams still playing. Think about that. They were 0-2 against the final 32 teams in the field, losing to Butler and Illinois. Is that the stuff of No. 1 seeds? Other No. 1 seeds, like Indiana for example, were 8-4 against teams still in the field of 32. Just in the same way we’re all comfortable saying Oregon shouldn’t have been a 12 seed, I don’t see why it’s so taboo to say Gonzaga shouldn’t have been a No. 1 seed. In both cases, the seed has been proven to be wrong.
Another note: Looking ahead, 9-seed Wichita State will play the winner of 12-seed Mississippi vs. 13-seed La Salle. So one of those three teams will be playing in the elite eight.
Anyway, in my previous blog I picked all of Saturday’s eight games, and I went 5-3.
My worst pick was Saint Louis to beat Oregon 73-62. I apologize, Ducks, I didn’t believe in you, but it’s har to find a team that had a more impressive weekend. My other misses were I thought Gonzaga would win a squeaker, and I thought Butler would eke past Marquette. I got the other five correct, basically just picking favorites, but I was suprised at how lopsided the victories were for Michigan, Michigan State and Arizona.
Without further ado here are my Sunday picks:
10-Iowa State vs. 2-Ohio State (9:15 a.m. CBS): I have a basketball crush on Ohio State guard Aaron Craft, even though he terrorized my Michigan State Spartans twice this year. Just take a few possessions to watch him play defense, and you will like him too, unless you are a Cyclone guard. Iowa State can score in bunches and is scary, but I have to go with Craft. Final: Ohio State 77, Iowa State 66
9-Temple vs. 1-Indiana (11:45 a.m. CBS): The bloom fell off the Atlantic 10 rose on Saturday, with VCU, Butler and Saint Louis all exiting. I don’t foresee a situation where Temple can stay with Indiana. Hoosiers have a little too much of everything for Temple. Final: Indiana 81, Temple 67
8-North Carolina vs. 1-Kansas (2:15 p.m. CBS): This one could be interesting as the Tar Heels certainly are peaking at the right time. Kansas was lackluster against Western Kentucky, and has scoring droughts too often for my liking. Also the Big 12 has really layed an egg so far. I’ll call for a big upset. Final: North Carolina 69, Kansas 67
11-Minnesota vs. 3-Florida (3:10 p.m. TNT): The Gophers have been an enigma all year. A team that can beat Indiana and Michigan State, but finished 3-8 in their final 11 Big Ten games. They showed some spark in manhandling UCLA. The Gators are a different story, but not immune to upset. Another shocker. Final: Minnesota 80, Florida 70
15-Florida Gulf Coast vs. 7-San Diego State (4:10 p.m., TBS): A nice opportunity for the Aztecs to advance, but I loved what I saw in FGCU. All five guys seemed confident in their abilities to score and defend. Two days of hearing how great you are, doesn’t always help though. It’s a tight one, but … Final: SDSU 60, FGCU 56
13-La Salle vs. 12-Mississippi (4:40 p.m. TruTV): This is a tough one to handicap, but using the format that was layed out Saturday with big-conference teams going 6-0 against small-conference teams. I’ll take the Rebels. Final: Ole Miss. 73, La Salle 60
7-Illinois vs. 2-Miami (5:40 p.m. TNT): I’ve picked Miami to win it all and I’ve seen no reaso to waver on that. Illinois does have heavyweights Indiana and Gonzaga on its victory list, but unless the 3-pointers are really falling, I don’t see it. Final: Miami 79, Illinois 61
2-Duke vs. 7-Creighton (6:40 p.m. TBS): Let’s see, a talented Missouri Valley Conference team going against a high seed. Where have we heard that before. As Creighton tries to recreate the magic that Wichita State had in beating Gonzaga on Saturday.The talente level is not much different, and Creighton has the best player on the floor in Doug McDermott, but Duke won’t let this one slip away. Final: Duke 79, Creighton 74