2007 East Bracket
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Other Brackets:
Credo | Info-Stats | Midwest | West | East | South | Final Four


First Round

North Carolina 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Eastern Kentucky 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#1 North Carolina (28-6) vs. #16 Eastern Kentucky (21-11).
They can take all of the best players from Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Southern Kentucky, Northern Kentucky and regular Kentucky, and they still wouldn't come within 30 points of North Carolina.

Winner: #1 North Carolina.


Marquette 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Michigan State 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#8 Marquette (24-9) vs. #9 Michigan State (22-11).
Michigan State will be another Big Ten team to fall in the opening round. Listen to all the problems the Spartans have: They have trouble scoring, they're a one-man show (Drew Neitzel), they can't shoot threes (with the exception of Neitzel) and they can't win on the road (3-10). Other than that, they're fine, I guess.

Marquette has its share of problems as well. We'll get to those in Round 2; I don't see the sluggish Spartans beating anyone in the tournament.

Michigan State violates Credo rules 4, 5, 6 and 8.

Winner: #8 Marquette.


USC 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Arkansas 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#5 USC (23-11) vs. #12 Arkansas (21-13).
Every year, the media trashes a team they think doesn't belong in the tournament. A few years ago, the decision to let Auburn into the Big Dance was criticized by all. The Tigers responded by going to the Sweet 16 and nearly knocking off eventual-champion Syracuse.

Arkansas is this year's Auburn. Digger Phelps, Dick Vitale and Doug Gottlieb all expressed their disdain for Arkansas' bid. While I agree with those three guys, I can't help but think the disrespected Razorbacks will play out of their mind on Friday night. USC, on the other hand, will take things easy because it will be going against "such an easy opponent."

Winner: #12 Arkansas.


Texas 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick New Mexico State 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#4 Texas (24-9) vs. #13 New Mexico State (25-8).
Rick Barnes can't screw this one up, can he? If you follow Texas or you're a knowledgeable college hoops fan, you know how much Barnes truly sucks. New Mexico State doesn't have the height to contain Kevin Durant. The Aggies also lack players, with the exception of guard Elijah Ingram, who can consistently knock down threes. Barnes can't be that inept to lose to a team from the WAC, can he?

Well, I could actually see it happen. New Mexico State head coach Reggie Theus is a mastermind and could find some way to neutralize Durant. If the Aggies pulled the upset, it wouldn't surprise me one bit, especially considering that Texas has a freshman point guard. That said, here's a scary stat if you decide to take New Mexico State: The team shoots 65.7 percent from the free-throw line. The Aggies just can't afford to miss any free points in this contest.

Texas violates Credo rules 1 and 3.

Winner: #4 Texas.


Vanderbilt 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick George Washington 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#6 Vanderbilt (20-11) vs. #11 George Washington (23-8).
This George Washington team is not the same squad that challenged Duke in the second round of last year's tournament. The Colonials are solid -- junior guard Maureece Rice averages 16.2 points per game and shoots 43.8 percent from beyond the arc -- but they don't have many options beyond their top three scorers. George Washington doesn't shoot a lot of threes, unlike Vanderbilt, so if it gets down early, there's probably not much of a chance it'll come back.

Vanderbilt is a senior-laden team that has been waiting a long time to get into the tournament. I don't see all of those seniors losing in the first round.

Winner: #6 Vanderbilt.


Washington State 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Oral Roberts 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#3 Washington State (25-7) vs. #14 Oral Roberts (23-10).
I've talked about sloppy Big Ten teams, and I managed to sprinkle in some offensively inept squads that belong in that conference; namely Kentucky and Pittsburgh. Well, Washington State is another program that just can't put the ball in the hoop.

The Cougars have only two players -- Derrick Low (13.6 ppg) and Kyle Weaver (11.5) -- who average double digits. Shooting the three ball isn't much of a problem, but the Cougars look completely lost when it's not going in.

Does Oral Roberts have enough firepower to knock off a 3-seed? I think so. If you're unfamiliar with the Eagles, they arguably have the best one-two punch in the entire tournament. Forward Caleb Green (20.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg) is unstoppable at times, while Ken Tutt (16.1 ppg) is a terrific second option. Oral Roberts has three players who are 37.9 percent of better from beyond the arc. Oh, and they play solid defense too.

This is my biggest upset of the tournament, unless you count my pseudo Corpus Christi selection.

Washington State violates Credo rule 5.

Winner: #14 Oral Roberts.


Boston College 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Texas Tech 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#7 Boston College (20-11) vs. #10 Texas Tech (21-12).
I like Texas Tech here for a number of reasons. First of all, the Red Raiders are much more offensively efficient than Boston College; the latter takes way too many ill-advised threes. Secondly, Bobby Knight can coach circles around Al Skinner, who has developed a bad habit of getting knocked out early in the tournament. Thirdly, the Eagles have had a number of opportunities to beat some elite opponents and failed each time. And finally, Boston College has stumbled into the Big Dance, losing five of its previous seven.

Boston College violates Credo rule 3.

Winner: #10 Texas Tech.


Georgetown 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Belmont 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#2 Georgetown (26-6) vs. #15 Belmont (23-9).
Simon and Trevor Belmont were fictional vampire hunters in the 1500s. The two of them have more of a chance against Georgetown than Belmont University.

Winner: #2 Georgetown.




Second Round



#1 North Carolina vs. #8 Marquette.
I said I'd get to Marquette's problems in Round 2, and by golly, here I am. While physically talented, point guard Dominic James will be the reason why the Golden Eagles will lose to North Carolina. James takes way too many shots for his own good. He's fired 174 3-pointers this year, 57 more than the next guy on his team, yet he hits just 26.4 percent of them. James also can't make his free throws (64.7) or his regular jump shots (38.5).

Shooting guard Jerel McNeal pretty much has the same problem. Of the 96 long-distance shots he heaved during the regular season, he knocked down only 30 of them, giving him a hideous percentage of 31.3.

I have this premonition that Marquette will get down early to North Carolina, forcing it to take too many threes. As you can tell by those statistics, that won't pay off.

North Carolina violates Credo rule 1.

Winner: #1 North Carolina.




#4 Texas vs. #12 Arkansas.
Arkansas can feel disrespected all it wants; it's not beating Texas. Think of it this way: The Razorbacks were desperate throughout the SEC Tournament and swept through all of the mediocre opponents in front of them. However, they ran into the Gators, who demolished them. That's what will happen here.

The Razorbacks have no one who can cover Kevin Durant. Not too many teams do, but they don't really have anything to counter on the offensive end. That said, hopefully Arkansas validates its place in the Big Dance by beating USC and staying close to Texas.

Texas violates Credo rules 1 and 3.

Winner: #4 Texas.




#6 Vanderbilt vs. #14 Oral Roberts.
Oral Roberts, going to the Sweet 16! I love the Eagles' first two matchups in this tournament. They'll dispatch Washington State and Vanderbilt, advancing to the third round as a 14-seed.

Vanderbilt is a team that shoots the three well but has major problems on the defensive end; the Commodores surrender 71 points per game and 44 percent from the field. That doesn't bode well because Oral Roberts has the two best players in this contest. Caleb Green and Ken Tutt, who combine for 36.9 points per game, will dominate the Commodores.

Winner: #14 Oral Roberts.




#2 Georgetown vs. #10 Texas Tech.
Texas Tech will give Georgetown a tough battle but I think the Hoyas will come out on top. The Red Raiders' offense is based around two players, Jarrius Jackson and Martin Zeno, both of whom are outstanding. However, Georgetown has a much more balanced scoring attack while still maintaining star power with Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert.

And speaking of Hibbert, I have no idea how Texas Tech will cover him. He should be able to dominate the paint, which will open up shots for Green and Jonathan Wallace.

Winner: #2 Georgetown.




Sweet 16



#1 North Carolina vs. #4 Texas.
I'm pretty disappointed that I have North Carolina and Texas in the Sweet 16. Not that I think the two teams should clash in the Final Four or Elite Eight. Quite the opposite, actually. Both squads have fundamental NCAA Tournament flaws that won't be exposed until the second weekend because of the soft level of competition they'll be playing in the first two rounds.

North Carolina's problem is simple. It has a freshman point guard. When's the last time a freshman point guard advanced to the Final Four? I can't think of one who has in recent memory. It's the same reason a rookie quarterback has never won the Super Bowl.

Texas also has a freshman point guard, even though he's about a year away from becoming one of the top floor generals in the country. D.J. Augustin, who averaged 14.5 points and 6.7, and shot 45 percent from 3-point range, complements superstar forward Kevin Durant really well. But I just can't pick a freshman.

So, who moves on between these two evenly matched teams? Easy. North Carolina. The Longhorns' other flaw is their head coach, Rick Barnes, who has a lackluster tournament resume. Texas is always getting knocked off in the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight, no matter how much talent it has. The one constant is Barnes.

Texas violates Credo rules 1 and 3. North Carolina violates rule 1.

Winner: #1 North Carolina.




#2 Georgetown vs. #14 Oral Roberts.
This is the same situation as the UCLA-Virginia Commonwealth matchup I have in my South bracket. Oral Roberts can knock off Washington State and Vanderbilt; they're both beatable teams. Not Georgetown.

I mentioned previously that the Golden Eagles had the top two players in each of their matchups, Caleb Green and Ken Tutt. Well, that's not the case anymore. Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green are extremely dangerous, as we all saw in the Big East Tournament. Furthermore, the Hoyas actually have the defense to keep Green and Tutt in check; they yield only 56.9 points per game and a 3-point percentage of 30.8. Oral Roberts isn't really close.

Winner: #2 Georgetown.




Elite Eight



#1 North Carolina vs. #2 Georgetown.
It's a shame North Carolina has a freshman point guard. If it had a more experienced floor general, I'd have the team going to the National Championship. As I said earlier, I can't remember the last time a freshman point guard advanced deep into the tournament. My friend mentioned Kenny Anderson, but that was more than 15 years ago.

Georgetown's Roy Hibbert and North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough will cancel each other out, but no one on the Tar Heels will be able to put the clamps on Jeff Green.

If the Tar Heels trail early, it'll be difficult for them to come back; they don't make many threes, and they have just two regulars who are better than 35 percent from long distance. Georgetown's 3-point defense is one of the tournament's best.

North Carolina violates Credo rule 1.

Winner: #2 Georgetown.




NCAA Tournament Picks and Previews


2009 NCAA Tournament Picks
Brackets:
Midwest / West / East / South / Final Four



2008 NCAA Tournament Picks
Brackets:
Midwest / West / East / South / Final Four


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