Monday, March 18, 2013

NCAA Midwest Region: Seeing Red

Ball So Hard Sports is breaking down each of the 4 regions before giving you our Final Four and title picks as well as unveiling our full bracket for you to compete against. First up, the overall #1 Louisville Cardinals and the Midwest region.

Before the seeds and match-ups came out, I had started talking about the Cardinals in Atlanta. Winning the Big East only helped my cause. You always have to lean on guys like Pitino (even though I hate the guy), Izzo and Coach K when March rolls around. Those guys are ALWAYS in the mix. Unfortunately, they are all in the mix right here. The Region of Doom. Yikes. It almost feels like the winner of this bracket should be the national champion, but only because they'll have nothing left when they get to Atlanta. With that being said, let's break down the bracket:

Favorites: The #1 seed is the tourney's overall #1, so Louisville is definitely a favorite of many to win the region. Duke is going to be loved by their fans and hated by everyone else, but with Ryan Kelly, this is a different squad. They only lost once with him in the lineup. They could be dangerous. Michigan State is coming from the loaded Big 10 and has the team to win 4 and move on. St. Louis is riding high on emotion and there wouldn't be a better story than seeing the Billikens play on Final Four weekend.

Sleepers: Memphis ran trough C-USA undefeated and can score. They could play giant killer and take the Spartans and Blue Devils out. Oregon is coming together at the right time and just won the Pac-12. The seeding for the Ducks is an absolute joke and they may be able to use that slight as motivation to make a deep run.

Best First Round Game: Colorado St./Missouri. The Rams had a great season in the nation's top-rated conference, the Mountain West. The 8 seed might have been a little low. Missouri is a bit of an enigma, but if Phil Pressey shows up, this game could go down to the last possession for the right to take on the Cardinals.

Best Potential Late Round Game: Duke/Louisville. Pitino vs. Coach K. Kelly vs. Siva. Winner heads to the Final Four. You could sub Michigan State for Duke here, but either way, the Elite 8 contest in this bracket is the one to look for provided no big upsets hit.

Ball So Hard Pick: Louisville. As much as it kills me to go against the Cameron Crazies in favor of Rick Pitino, this team is probably the best all-around team in the country and should be cutting down nets on a Monday in April. If I had seen Ryan Kelly for a few more games before the tourney things might be different, but right now Louisville's vets are the play.

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