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2007 West Bracket

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

First Round

Kansas 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Niagara 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#1 Kansas (30-4) vs. #16 Niagara (23-11)
I love Niagara to win... the play-in game. Check out some of the quotes from the Purple Eagles:

"Nothing makes sense to me," head coach Joe Mihalich said, shortly after learning his team would face Florida A&M on Tuesday. "Let me be diplomatic here, I'm confused." Junior forward Charron Fisher wasn't so diplomatic.

"We feel disrespected," Fisher said. "I'm sure you'll be able to see when we play [tomorrow] how disrespected we feel."

Of course none of this matters against Kansas, but it's a complete joke that Niagara has to play a horrid team from the MEAC. The four squads that should have been considered for the play-in game are: Florida A&M, Central Connecticut State, Jackson State and Miami Ohio. That's it. That's the list.

Winner: #1 Kansas.

Kentucky 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Villanova 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#8 Kentucky (21-11) vs. #9 Villanova (22-10).
Problems persist for both teams in this Wildcat-Wildcat matchup. Villanova's poision pill is its freshman point guard. Scottie Reynolds has been great this year, but freshmen floor generals have a habit of bouncing out early. Kentucky, on the other hand, might as well play in the Big Ten. Tubby's team plays great defense but has extreme problems scoring at times. If Kentucky gets down early, it's over for them, especially when you consider that Villanova shoots free throws prolifically.

If you nullify both flaws, I think Villanova's athleticism gives them the edge.

Kentucky violates Credo rule 5. Villanova violates rule 1.

Winner: #9 Villanova.

Virginia Tech 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Illinois 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#5 Virginia Tech (21-11) vs. #12 Illinois (23-11).
Illinois violates so many rules in my Credo that I just had to purchase extra bandwith just to list them all:

Illinois can't win on the road. Illinois can't score. Illinois can't shoot threes. Illinois hits only 62 percent of its free throws. Illinois is only 43.2 percent from the field.

And the selection committee is telling us the Fighting Illini deserve a bid more than Drexel or Syracuse? Please...

Illinois violates Credo rules 4, 5 and 8. Virginia Tech violates rule 6.

Winner: #5 Virginia Tech.

Southern Illinois 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Holy Cross 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#4 Southern Illinois (27-6) vs. #13 Holy Cross (25-8).
Holy Cross would have been a tough matchup for a young power-conference team, but Southern Illinois has the senior leadership not to fall into a trap. The Crusaders are a solid team, but its weakness is defending the three, as it allows opponents to shoot better than 38 percent from beyond the arc. That spells nothing but trouble because Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young will be hitting shots from long range all night.

The Salukis' sick defense will completely shut down Holy Cross' offense. I'd love to ask the idiotic selection committee why it loves pitting mid-majors against each other. That's no fun.

Both teams violate Credo rule 5.

Winner: #4 Southern Illinois.

Duke 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Virginia Commonwealth 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#6 Duke (22-10) vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth (27-6).
If you're looking for the next George Mason, why not consider the team that beat George Mason? Virginia Commonwealth has three outstanding guards -- B.A. Walker, Eric Maynor and Jesse Pellot-Rosa -- who combined to average 41.4 points per game this year. Here's an even more impressive statistic: The three guards all shoot better than 40 percent from 3-point land. That's an amazing number, and I didn't even mentiion Jamal Shuler (38.3 percent).

Duke will have its hands full with Virginia Commonwealth. I just don't think the Blue Devils will be able to keep up with a very live dog. If it gets down to crunch time, I have zero confidence in Greg Paulus' ability to lead his team to victory. Paulus is known for making some of the dumbest decision in the history of mankind when the game is on the line.

Winner: #11 Virginia Commonwealth.

Pittsburgh 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Wright State 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#3 Pittsburgh (27-7) vs. #14 Wright State (23-9).
The team that beats Pittsburgh will be a run-and-gun squad. Wright State doesn't fall into that category.

The Raiders are more of a one-man show. Guard Dashaun Wood (19.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.9 apg) is an amazing athlete and has the potential to lead his team to victory. However, I just don't see it. Wright State has no regulars who shoot better than 38 percent from beyond the arc.

Wright State violates Credo rules 5 and 6. Pittsburgh violates rules 3 and 5.

Winner: #3 Pittsburgh.

Indiana 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Gonzaga 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#7 Indiana (20-10) vs. #10 Gonzaga (23-10).
Yawn... yet another boring, offensively challenged slop team from the Big Ten. Even worse for Indiana is that it fits under the one-man show category; I wouldn't rely on anyone to score except for forward D.J. White (13.7 ppg). Oh yeah, the Hoosiers were 5-9 on the road.

Gonzaga struggled a bit during the regular season because it lost Josh Heytvelt. However, the team rallied and was very impressive in late February and March.

I know the Zags have been knocked out early the past few years, but I think they're better suited in the underdog role.

Indiana violates Credo rules 4, 5, 6 and 8. Gonzaga violates rule 3.

Winner: #10 Gonzaga.

UCLA 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick Weber State 2007 NCAA Tournament Pick

#2 UCLA (26-5) vs. #15 Weber State (20-11).
Ummm... I think the guys who founded Weber State forgot the extra B in their school's name. No wonder Weber State's a 15 seed.

Winner: #2 UCLA.

Second Round

#1 Kansas vs. #9 Villanova
If you check out the draft info-stats (link up top), you'll see that a No. 9 seed hasn't upset a No. 1 seed in the past 10 years. But that's not why I'm picking Kansas.

As I mentioned in my first-round analysis, Villanova has a talented freshman point guard in Scottie Reynolds. The key word there being "freshman." He'll be playing in way over his head against all of the talented players the Jayhawks possess. I know Bill Self has a bad habit of bouncing out of the tournament early. Trust me, his time will come. But not in this round.

Villanova violates Credo rule 1. Kansas violates rule 3.

Winner: #1 Kansas.

#4 Southern Illinois vs. #5 Virginia Tech.
Hey, Virginia Tech, are you ready to face a legitimate tournament team now? I still can't believe Illinois qualified for the Field of 65. It makes me sick.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, Southern Illinois is not Illinois. I have to mention that these two teams met in November. The Salukis' devastating defense suffocated Virginia Tech in a 69-64 victory. There wasn't much that could be done against Zabian Dowdell, who averages 18 points per game. However, Southern Illinois was able to take role players A.D. Vassallo and Jamon Gordon off of their game. Dowdell (16 points) and Deron Washington (18) got no support from any of their teammates.

I see no reason why that won't happen again. The Salukis are unlike any team the Hokies face in the ACC; they can shut you down and hit their threes with Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young. Virginia Tech surrenders seven 3-pointers per contest.

Virginia Tech violates Credo rule 6. Southern Illinois violates rule 5.

Winner: #4 Southern Illinois.

#3 Pittsburgh vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth.
Two years ago, Pitt was bounced out in the first round by Pacific, which I'm proud to say that I guaranteed in the Centre Daily Times. Last year, Pitt lost to Bradley, which I'm not proud to say that I didn't see happening. Notice a trend here? The Panthers have stunk it up in the NCAA Tournament ever since Jamie Dixon took over as coach.

The Panthers are just way too slow. They play Big Ten-style basketball and have an enormous center who can't move or do anything besides eat donuts in the lane. Virginia Commonwealth should just bake him a dozen and enjoy free layups all evening.

All kidding aside, the Rams will bury Pittsburgh with a barrage of 3-pointers. Everyone on Virginia Commonwealth can shoot, while no one on Pittsburgh will be able to counter the offensive explosion.

Pittsburgh violates Credo rules 3 and 5.

Winner: #11 Virginia Commonwealth.

#2 UCLA vs. #10 Gonzaga.
I guess I'm a hypocrite for saying this, but I feel that Gonzaga's apparent rebirth without Josh Heytvelt is being blown a little out of proportion. Sure, the Zags were able to recover from losing to the likes of Santa Clara and St. Mary's. Just in case you're completely clueless here, UCLA is much better than Santa Clara and St. Mary's.

I know Gonzaga beat North Carolina and Texas in November, but look what transpired prior to its easy WCC schedule: The team lost to Washington State, Georgia, Duke, Nevada and Virginia after that. That was with Heytvelt. And keep in mind that UCLA is much better than every squad I just mentioned, excluding the Tar Heels, which can be disputed.

Simply put, the Zags just don't have the talent to match up with a Final Four-bound squad like UCLA.

Gonzaga violates Credo rule 3.

Winner: #2 UCLA.

Sweet 16

#1 Kansas vs. #4 Southern Illinois
This is what the NCAA Tournament is all about. A big school with young, talented, NBA-bound players versus a small school with savvy seniors who would do anything to knock off the guys who were recruited over them. Even though Southern Illinois is a four-seed, this is David versus Goliath.

Well, if Kansas is Goliath, it hasn't been doing a good impersonation; the Jayhawks have been knocked out of the first round the past two years. They obviously won't fall to the Niagara-Florida A&M winner, and they'll likely beat a Villanova squad with a freshman point guard. However, this could be Kansas' final resting place in 2007.

I like Southern Illinois' senior leadership and defense. I don't like the fact that Bill Self is a very mediocre NCAA Tournament coach. In fact, Self has never appeared in a Final Four. And it's not like he's never had a talented team before. This year's version of the Jayhawks may be the best group of kids he's coached, but an experienced bunch like the Salukis are pretty much primed to knock them off.

Quite frankly, I'm tired of picking Kansas to go to the Elite Eight and watching it fizzle away in the opening weekend. No more.

Kansas violates Credo rule 3. Southern Illinois violates rule 5.

Winner: #4 Southern Illinois.

#2 UCLA vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth.
I guess this is another David-Goliath matchup. But trust me, it won't have the same result.

In my South Bracket analysis, I mention that Texas A&M's Acie Law IV is one of the top two point guards in college hoops. The other is UCLA's Darren Collison, who averaged 12.6 points and six assists during the regular season. Collison won't let the Bruins lose. At least not in this round.

UCLA has been here before. The team knows what it takes to get to the Final Four. The Bruins made it all the way to the National Championship last year, losing to Florida, and they've brought everyone back, with the exception of Jordan Farmar, who wasn't as good as Collison. Unlike Kansas, they won't fall to a hungry, underrated mid-major.

Winner: #2 UCLA.

Elite Eight

#2 UCLA vs. #4 Southern Illinois
If Southern Illinois makes it to the Elite Eight, it should be commended, awarded some sort of consolation prize and given plane tickets back to Carbondale. The Salukis have no shot against UCLA.

First of all, the Bruins are head and shoulders above every team Southern Illinois has faced so far. They're not a green mid-major like Holy Cross. They're not a mediocre, one-man team from the ACC. They're not a squad that's restricted by a head coach with bad tournament history. UCLA has a great point guard, decent size, solid defense and 3-point shooting.

Southern Illinois violates Credo rule 5.

Winner: #2 UCLA.

NCAA Tournament Picks and Previews

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

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



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