2009 NCAA Tournament Preview - Midwest

Instead of just listing my NCAA Tournament picks as I've done every year, I've decided to preview every team in the Big Dance. I'll tell you why to love them, why to hate them, and how far they can go.

While college basketball isn't my forte, I've gotten six of the past eight Final Four correct. I didn't have much luck in the early rounds last year, but I did very well in 2007.

Ryan West, who runs the Bracketology thread in the fourms, will also list his thoughts on each squad. His picks will be listed below mine, so you have two references to guide you as you're filling out your bracket.

2009 NCAA Tournament Preview - Midwest

  1. Louisville (28-5)

    WHY TO LOVE: It's pretty difficult to keep Louisville off the boards. The Cardinals are team laden with talented big men.

    Louisville is also a very deep team; Rick Pitino has the capability of making five-man substitutions.

    The Cardinals shoot tons of threes and make them. The team as a whole hits 36.2 percent of its long-distance attempts. Terrence Williams (37.7 percent), Jerry Smith (39.6), Preston Knowles (45.5) and Andre McGee (36.8) are all lethal from outside.

    You'd also be hard pressed to find a better defensive team in the NCAA Tournament. Louisville limited opponents to 61.9 points per game.

    WHY TO HATE: The Cardinals have a couple of strange losses this year. They went down to Western Kentucky, Minnesota, UNLV and Notre Dame - all vastly inferior opponents. The problem with Louisville is that it doesn't have a premier, go-to scorer. Everyone contributes, but no one can really take over in the clutch. This could be problematic once the Elite Eight arrives.

    RYAN'S TAKE: The way Rick Pitno has this team playing is amazing. This team is probably one of the more underrated squads in the country, even after winning the Big East outright. They show balance in scoring, they have two great leaders in Williams and Earl Clark, and they have depth at the guard position. They thrive on defense. They are the No. 1 overall defensive team in the country, and if they are hitting shots and able to set up their press, they are practically unbeatable. Their problem is that they get too complacent on offense and settle for jumpers. I think this team is rolling and will continue to do so.

    Outlook: Final Four/National Title Contender

    THE VERDICT: Louisville has a great shot to win the national title.

  2. Michigan State (26-6)

    WHY TO LOVE: Kalin Lucas (14.8 ppg, 4.6 apg, 39.5 3PT) is one of the better point guards in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, he's only a sophomore.

    As you would expect, Tom Izzo has some solid rebounders in Raymar Morgan and Goran Suton. In the regular season finale, Michigan State out-rebounded Purdue, 50-32.

    Speaking of Izzo's he's usually good for a win or two in the Big Dance, no matter how talented his team is. Since 1985, Michigan State is 13-5 in the first round.

    Michigan State was 9-1 on the road this season, their only loss coming at Purdue by 18 points.

    WHY TO HATE: The Spartans are coming out of the Big Ten, so one could argue that they're untested. Amazingly, they were the only team in the conference to average more than 69 points per game.

    Michigan State has a few strange losses this year. They went down to Maryland, Penn State and Northwestern.

    RYAN'S TAKE: This is a team that is hard to peg considering their injuries. They are one of the best rebounding teams and have good frontcourt depth, and considering the defense-first conference they are in, are pretty efficient on offense. The problems I see with them are: they turn the ball over a lot, don't have multiple consistent 3-point shooters, they allow a lot of 3-pointers, and don't have backcourt depth. Their fate is in point guard Kalin Lucas' hands. When he is outperformed or shut down, MSU usually loses. Watch out, this team is healthy and if they can mesh together, they could make a run.

    Outlook: Sweet 16/Elite 8

    THE VERDICT: The Spartans took on North Carolina early in the season. Instead of being competitive, the Heels debacled Michigan State, 98-63. The Spartans just aren't talented to knock off the top-notch teams in the tournament. They won't get knocked out early, but they probably won't reach the Final Four.

  3. Kansas (25-7)

    WHY TO LOVE: There's no question that Kansas is talented. Sherron Collins (18.3 ppg, 5.0 apg) did a great job leading this young team to the top of the Big XII standings.

    The Jayhawks as a team hit 38.3 percent of their three-pointers.

    Kansas was 6-5 on the road this year, though one of the victories came against a Blake Griffin-less Oklahoma squad. The Jayhawks lost to UMass and Arizona early, but they've grown since.

    WHY TO HATE: The Jayhawks have one of the youngest teams in the nation. They have no seniors, and if you take away Collins, all of their key players are freshmen or sophomores.

    RYAN'S TAKE: Bill Self has done a great job recruiting and filling needs. He lost nearly his whole national title team and he is right back in the mix. I think this team is a year away from making a lot of noise. They start 1 SR, 2 SO, and 2 FR. Sherron Collins, who can win games for them single-handedly, is the leader of this team. I see them having a problem with a team that can out-rebound them or take care of the ball. If they run into a team that can do either of those things, they will have a lot of trouble. This team has made leaps and bounds since the beginning of the year.

    Outlook: Upset Alert/2nd Round Exit

    THE VERDICT: It's amazing that Kansas has been so successful this season after losing almost everyone from last year's squad. The Jayhawks have the great leadership (Collins), amazing talent and top-notch coaching to win a few games in the NCAA Tournament. But they are really young and are prone to getting upset (see the loss to Baylor in the Big XII Tournament).

  4. Wake Forest (24-6)

    WHY TO LOVE: If guard play wins in the NCAA Tournament, then Wake Forest is fortunate because they have one of the nation's best in Jeff Teague. The sophomore averaged 19.4 ppg and 3.6 apg, and also nailed 47 percent of his threes.

    The Deacons also have the size to complement Teague. James Johnson and Al-Faouq Aminu both averaged more than 13 ppg and 8 rpg.

    Wake Forest beat North Carolina and Duke this year. The team was also 7-4 on the road, knocking off Boston College (21-10) and Clemson (23-7) in a visiting role.

    WHY TO HATE: Experience is huge in the NCAA Tournament, and that's something Wake Forest doesn't have. Teague and Johnson are sophomores. Aminu is a freshman. None of Wake's top six scorers are seniors.

    Because of the youth factor, Wake has some weird losses this year. They went down to 11-18 Georgia Tech. Miami, an 18-11 squad, debacled them by 27 points.

    Outside of Teague, Wake Forest doesn't have a solid 3-point shooter. The team as a whole hits just 33 percent from beyond the arc.

    The Deacons also have a dubious history of getting upset in the tournament. In 2005 and 2003, they lost in the second round as a No. 2 seed. In fact, they've been past the Sweet 16 only once since 1985!

    RYAN'S TAKE: This team started off so well and has some very athletic players. They have one of the best point guards in the nation in Jeff Teague. They are a little inconsistent defensively but make up for it on the offensive side of the ball. They don't allow very many offensive rebounds, but seem to struggle offensively as of late. If they don't shore up their defense, they will make an early exit.

    Outlook: 2nd Round Exit

    THE VERDICT: I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of brackets that have the Deacons going deep.

    Well, I hate picking young teams to go far in the tournament. Considering that Wake Forest's top three scorers are underclassmen, this team is very prone to being upset early. And given the team's history in the Big Dance, there is some precedent here.

  5. Utah (24-9)

    WHY TO LOVE: How do you stop Luke Nevill inside? The 7-2 center averaged 16.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 2.7 bpg.

    With Nevill being such a greart interior presence, it's no surprise that Utah shoots really well from long range. As a whole, the team hit 37.6 percent of its threes. Lawrence Borha (40.7 3PT), Shaun Green (40.3) and Luke Drca (38.8) are all outside threats.

    Utah is really experienced. Its top four scorers are all seniors.

    WHY TO HATE: The Utes were just 6-7 on the road. They beat the teams they were supposed to beat, but they couldn't knock off the top-tier squads like New Mexico, BYU, San Diego State and Oklahoma. They did win the Mountain West Tournament, so I'm not sure this is much of a factor. Still, it should be noted that they're a violator of Rule No. 4 of the NCAA Tournament Credo.

    RYAN'S TAKE: The Utes have had some road troubles but have played in an underrated conference of the Mountain West. They don't force a lot of turnovers but don't allow a lot 3-point field goals either. They are very a bad offensive rebounding team but shoot the three very well. They only play seven guys and they can score a lot of points. Utah does have an Andrew Bogut-type player in Nevill. He leads the team and if they face a team that doesn't have a guy to neutralize him, Utah could do very well. If they can get the right matchup, they could make the Sweet 16.

    Outlook: 2nd Round Exit/Sweet 16

    THE VERDICT: Utah has what it takes to make the Sweet 16, but won't beat Louisville.

  6. West Virginia (23-11)

    WHY TO LOVE: The Mountaineers are led by upperclassmen Da'Sean Butler (17.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Alex Ruoff (16.0 ppg, 3.4 apg). Both players shoot tons of threes and make them (Butler 36.3; Ruoff 38.2).

    West Virginia finished the regular season with a 7-5 road record. While it couldn't beat a top-tier opponent as a visitor, the winning record is impressive nonetheless.

    WHY TO HATE: While West Virginia's top players are experienced, the majority of the rotation is comprised of freshmen. Devin Ebanks, Darryl Bryant and Kevin Jones are talented, but will they perform on college basketball's biggest stage? The Mountaineers violate Rule No. 3 of my NCAA Tournament Credo. Bob Huggins always seems to disappoint in the NCAA Tournament.

    RYAN'S TAKE: Bob Huggins always seems to choke in the tournament. Last year was an exception to the rule. This team has so many young players and more importantly, two of their three guards are freshman. They have played tough in their road games, but have come out on the wrong end on most of them. They don't have a deep bench, so I see them losing one of their first two games. This team has all the makings of making a deep run: good rebounding team/defensive team and they take care of the basketball. They are just too young in my eyes. They do play very physical against teams so that is working in their favor.

    Outlook: 2nd Round Exit/Sweet 16

    THE VERDICT: I'll be shocked if this team makes it out of the first weekend. I don't trust Huggins or any of the freshmen on the roster.

  7. Boston College (21-11)

    WHY TO LOVE: Tyrese Rice is one of the top senior point guards in the nation. He averaged 17.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 5.4 apg this season. Rice can will his team to victory, as seen in a victories against Duke (80-74) and at North Carolina (85-78).

    Boston College was just 5-5 on the road, but as mentioned, one of the five victories was at North Carolina.

    WHY TO HATE: Excluding Rice, Boston College's top six scorers are underclassmen. Perhaps that's a reason for the team's inconsistency. While the Eagles beat Duke and North Carolina, they also lost to Saint Louis, Harvard and N.C. State.

    The Eagles jack up a lot of threes, but no player hits better than 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.

    Al Skinner's clubs have a tendency to get upset. Boston College violates Rule No. 3 of the NCAA Tournament Credo.

    RYAN'S TAKE: I think Boston College is going to be out in the first round. They take plays off on defense, don't force many turnovers, and really go through spurts on offense where they don't score. Now, if the game is close, they have Mr. Big Shot in Rice. They have some quality road wins, so winning away from home isn't a problem for this team.

    Outlook: One and Done/2nd Round Exit

    THE VERDICT: I love Rice, and he could be good for one victory in the NCAA Tournament, but the rest of the team's inexperience is problematic. I don't see them being this year's Cinderella.

  8. Ohio State (22-10)

    WHY TO LOVE: Evan Turner is a dynamic player; the 6-7 swingman averaged 16.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 3.9 apg. He also hit 40.9 percent of his threes.

    As a whole, the Buckeyes hit 37.1 from long distance. They get a lot of open shots with B.J. Mullens drawing double teams down low.

    WHY TO HATE: Too many reasons to hate. Ohio State is young; the team's top four scorers are underclassmen. Two are sophomores; two are freshmen.

    Ohio State also violates Rule Nos. 4 and 5 in my NCAA Tournament Credo. It can't score (66.6 ppg) or win on the road (4-6).

    RYAN'S TAKE: In the Big Ten, Ohio State struggled greatly. They only won four road games this year (one vs. a winning program), averaged less than 68 points a game, and turned the ball over a lot. All of these factors don't bode well for the Buckeyes. They also allow a lot of 3-point field goals, don't force a lot of turnovers, and have shot almost 200 more free throws than their opponents. They do have a good tournament coach in Thad Matta. They have a deep bench as they play up to 11 people sometimes. I think they can win a game, but not any more.

    Outlook: 2nd round Exit

    THE VERDICT: Ohio State is one of a few slop Big Ten teams in this tournament. The Buckeyes are long shot to make it out of the first weekend, let alone the opening round.

  9. Siena (26-7)

    WHY TO LOVE: Unless you want to count Cornell and Northern Iowa, Siena hasn't really beaten a top-notch opponent this year. That said, they were competitive with Kansas (91-84) and Pittsburgh (79-66).

    Siena doesn't have tons of seniors, but the team has NCAA Tournament experience. Last year, the Saints knocked off Vanderbilt in the first round before losing to Villanova by 12.

    WHY TO HATE: The team's best three-point shooter, Kenny Hasbrouch (who also leads the squad in scoring with 14.8 ppg), hits just 36.3 percent of his long-range shots. Siena as a whole was just 33.5 percent from beyond the arc during the year. As a comparison, last year's Siena squad nailed 38.2 percent of its treys. Junior swingman Edwin Ubiles has really struggled to make the transition to the new line (42.0 in 2008; 27.9 in 2009).

    RYAN'S TAKE: I love this Siena team. All of their starters are upperclassmen except for one (Ryan Rossiter). They have four guys who average in double figures. They score a lot of points. They have played at Pitt, at Kansas, and they played Tennessee on a neutral court. Even though they lost all those games, they played all three very tough. They take care of the basketball and force a lot of turnovers. The only downfall is that they allow a lot of 3-point shots and they don�t shoot the three all that well. I think this team can win one or two games and make a run to the Sweet 16.

    Outlook: Cinderella Watch/Sweet 16

    THE VERDICT: Siena is going to be a tough out for Ohio State.

  10. USC (21-12)

    WHY TO LOVE: The Trojans have four players who averaged 12 points or more, and three are juniors: Taj Gibson (14.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg), Dwight Lewis (14.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Daniel Hackett (12.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.8 apg).

    WHY TO HATE: USC doesn't shoot threes. Only two players have shot more than 50 treys in the regular season. And maybe that's a good thing - the Trojans as a whole nailed 33 percent of their shots. To be fair, Dwight Lewis (38.3 3PT) and Daniel Hackett (38.4) can hit from long range.

    The Trojans were a pitiful 2-8 on the road this season. The only teams they beat as visitors were Oregon and Washington State. They did win the Pac-10 Tournament, but they still violate Rule No. 4 in the NCAA Tournament Credo.

    RYAN'S TAKE: The Trojans underachieved all year and until the Pac 10 Tournament. This has all the makings of a first-round exit. They turn the ball over way too much and don't take it away from their opponents much at all. They don�t shoot a lot of 3-pointers. They aren't too efficient offensively or defensively, and they allow a lot of 3-point shots. I think they will be done unless the matchup merits something otherwise.

    Outlook: One and Done

    THE VERDICT: I don't trust the Trojans. Where was this effort during the regular season? Why were they 2-8 on the road?

  11. Dayton (26-7)

    WHY TO LOVE: The Flyers are a deep team that has victories over Marquette and Xavier.

    WHY TO HATE: Dayton has problems scoring consistently, meaning they violate Rule No. 5 of the NCAA Tournament Credo. The Flyers average just 67 points per game, and Chris Wright (13.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Marcus Johnson (12.2 ppg) are the only players who score more than eight points per contest.

    For a mid-major, the Flyers aren't too experienced. Only one of their top six scorers is a senior.

    Dayton doesn't shoot the three well. the team hits 33.3 percent of its treys. Johnson (38.9 3PT) and Luke Fabrizius (37.6) are the only outside threats.

    Along with Rule No. 5, Dayton also violates Rule No. 4 of the NCAA Tournament Credo. The team was just 5-6 on the road this season. The Flyers lost to Saint Louis, Charlotte and Rhode Island as visitors.

    RYAN'S TAKE: The Flyers are the story no one talks about coming out of the Atlantic 10. Xavier takes all the news. Dayton finished one game behind Xavier. They are very stagnant on offense, but do hit the offensive glass almost as good as everyone. They play 10 different players and only have two guys averaging in double figures. They don't shoot too many 3-point shots, allow way too many of them (even though their opponents aren't shooting well from the arc), and do not have a lot of road wins.

    Outlook: One and Done

    THE VERDICT: Dayton is going to be a force to be reckoned with next year. This March, they'll have major problems getting out of the first round.

  12. Arizona (19-13)

    WHY TO LOVE: You have to like the fact that most talking heads on CBS and ESPN had a problem with Arizona being in the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps that will give the Wildcats an extra edge.

    Arizona has three great players: junior forwards Jordan Hill (18.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg) and Chase Budinger (17.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.4 apg, 41.0 3PT), and junior guard Nic Wise (15.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 42.4 3PT).

    In addition to Budinger and Wise, Zane Johnson and Kyle Fogg also hit 40 percent from long range.

    WHY TO HATE: With a team so talented, you have to wonder why the Wildcats finished with a meager 19-13 record. This team definitely has motivational issues. While most of the analysts argued against them being in the NCAA Tournament, there were a few talking heads who picked them to go to the Sweet 16.

    Arizona is a blatant violator of Rule No. 4 of the NCAA Tournament Credo. How blatant? They were a pathetic 2-9 on the road, with their sole victories coming at Oregon and Oregon State! That's just awful.

    The Wildcats have lost five of six going into the NCAA Tournament.

    RYAN'S TAKE: Arizona has a three-headed monster in Budinger, Hill and Wise. Even though these three are very tough to go against, Arizona only has two road wins this year (Oregon and Oregon State). I don't think Arizona will do very well this year in the tournament.

    THE VERDICT: No. 12 Arizona is favored over No. 5 Utah in Vegas because the public mysteriously loves the Wildcats. I can see why they do, but I'm not nearly as trusting of a team that seldom tries hard.

  13. Cleveland State (25-10)

    WHY TO LOVE: The Vikings are led by two seniors - 6-5 forward J'Nathan Bullock (15.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and point guard Cedric Jackson (10.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.4 apg). Norris Cole, a 6-1 forward (WTF?) averaged 12.9 ppg and 2.7 rpg.

    WHY TO HATE: As you can tell, the Vikings lack size. They were often out-rebounded during the season - and that was against Horizon League competition.

    Cleveland State can't shoot threes. The team as a whole hits 31.7 percent of them, and the top shooter, Norris Cole, managed to drain just 32.2 percent of his long shots.

    The Vikings violate Rule No. 5 in the NCAA Tournament Credo. They averaged 66.1 points per game.

    RYAN'S TAKE: Cleveland State forces a lot of turnovers (about 17 a game) and they are good rebounding team. This team could upset a high seed. Their only downfall is that they are very inefficient on the offensive side of the ball. They have beaten some good teams in Butler and Syracuse, and I think they could do it again.

    Outlook: Cinderella Watch

    THE VERDICT: How did this team win its conference? It can't shoot threes. It can't score consistently. It has no size. It can't rebound. The only thing Cleveland State has going for it are its two stellar seniors. That won't be enough.

  14. North Dakota State (26-6)

    WHY TO LOVE: North Dakota State played only two games against NCAA Tournament-caliber teams. They were semi-debacled in the first (90-76 Minnesota), but they competed at USC, losing only by four.

    The Bison have just one loss since Jan. 2. It was to an 11-win Southern Utah squad, but they later avenged tha loss, beating the Thunderbirds by 12 in the Summit Tournament.

    Believe it or not, North Dakota State has one of the top point guards in the NCAA Tournament. At just 5-11, 185, senior Ben Woodside averaged 22.8 ppg, 6.3 apg and 3.3 rpg. He also hit 42.7 percent of his threes.

    As a whole the Bison nailed 41.2 percent of their long-range shots, meaning they're a Cinderella candidate. Along with Woodside, the opposition will have to worry about Brett Winkelman (38.2 percent), Mike Nelson (39.9), Mike Tveidt (45.8) and Josh Vaughan (43.4). Pretty sick.

    As you can imagine, North Dakota State had no trouble scoring; the team scored 80.8 ppg. Joining Woodside, Winkelman, a senior forward, averaged 18.7 ppg and 7.4 rpg.

    WHY TO HATE: The Bison are going to have trouble rebounding against some of the larger teams in the tournament. They also struggle to defend the three (36.1 percent).

    RYAN'S TAKE: It is amazing to me that this is NDSU's first year in Division I basketball. They went 26-6 and won all but four of their road games. They average 81 points a game, and I think they could open some eyes. Their top three leading scorers are all seniors (two of them guards) and they don't turn the ball over much at all. They take care of the basketball and force turnovers. They do well on the offensive boards and don't allow a lot of 3-pointers. Watch out for this team.

    Outlook: Cinderella Watch

    THE VERDICT: Watch out for North Dakota State. The Bison have the talent and three-point shooting to knock off anyone. Don't be shocked if they're playing in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

  15. Robert Morris (24-10)

    WHY TO LOVE: At the risk of sounding like Al Davis, Jeremy Chappell is a great player. Chappell, a 6-3 senior, averaged 16.9 ppg and 6.3 rpg, and hit 40.6 percent of his threes.

    Chappell is supported by forward Rob Robinson (11.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Jimmy Langhurst (10.0 ppg). Langhurst is also a sharp-shooter (42.6 3PT). And if you think that's good, check out Gary Wallace, who nailed 49.2 percent of his long-distance attempts this season.

    WHY TO HATE: Robert Morris has no marquee victories. It went up against Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Xavier, and lost to each by double digits.

    The Colonials lack real size. They were out-rebounded by a large margin against Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Xavier.

    RYAN'S TAKE: The Colonials are in the tournament for the first time since 1991. They may come out and play very hard because of that. They could catch a team off guard. From what I see, they turn the ball over WAY too much. I think they would play a close half, and then lose probably by 10-15.

    Outlook: One and Done

    THE VERDICT: Robert Morris has the shooting to pull off an upset if they were seeded 14th or higher. They're not going to beat a No. 2 seed.

  16. Alabama State (22-9)

    WHY TO LOVE: Alabama State has great guard play, led by seniors Brandon Brooks (13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 6.8 apg) and Andrew Hayles (13.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg). Hayles shoots tons of threes and makes them at a 37.5-percent clip.

    The Hornets have one loss since Jan. 26 and two defeats since Dec. 22.

    This team took on just two NCAA Tournament-caliber squads in Mississippi State and Auburn. They were competitive in both contests, losing by nine and five. Both games were on the road.

    Alabama State has a player named Chief Kickingstallionsims. That's awesome.

    WHY TO HATE: While guard play wins in the NCAA Tournament, you need solid big men to advance into the later rounds. That's something the Hornets lack. They won't be able to rebound with the elite teams in the NCAA Tournament.

    Alabama State sucks at free throw shooting (63.2 percent).

    RYAN'S TAKE: They have two very good guards and some depth on the bench. Problem is, they got stuck in the Play-In Game, the worst addition to the March Madness bracket. With a guy named Chief Kickingstallionsims, this team has turned into one of my favorites; I will definitely be watching this game screaming, "Just feed Kickingstallionsims the ball!!" I hope an analyst screws that up.

    Outlook: One and Done

    THE VERDICT: I usually don't like SWAC teams, but this Alabama State squad is talented. But the fact that they have to participate in a play-in game is a disgrace.

  17. Morehead State (19-15)

    WHY TO LOVE: Morehead State has four double-digit scorers, including 6-5 forward Leon Buchanan (15.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and 6-8 center Kenneth Faried (13.9 ppg, 12.8 rpg). Maze Stallworth (37.7 3PT) and Demonte Harper (35.7) support the forwards with solid outside shooting.

    WHY TO HATE: Not only does Morehead State violate Rule No. 4 in the NCAA Tournament Credo; they completely abuse it. The team was 4-12 on the road this year. Ouch.

    RYAN'S TAKE: I don�t see Morehead State winning a game. They have balanced scoring, but not that great guard play. They turn the ball over too much, don't force a lot of turnovers, and don't score too many points either.

    Outlook: One and Done

    THE VERDICT: No No. 16 seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed. A 4-12 road team isn't going to buck that trend.

2009 NCAA Tournament Picks - Midwest

Walt's 2009 NCAA Tournament Picks:

#1 Louisville over #16 Alabama State/Morehead State
I want More Head! Get it? More head? Never mind.

#9 Siena over #8 Ohio State
I won't be backing many of these crappy Big Ten teams. To read why I like/dislike each team, scroll up and read the previews.

#5 Utah over #12 Arizona
I'm never a big fan of siding with the publicly backed 12-over-5 selection.

#4 Wake Forest over #13 Cleveland State
Cleveland State has trouble scoring and shooting threes.

#6 West Virginia over #11 Dayton
Dayton can't score consistently or shoot threes. They're also very young. West Virginia too talented.

#14 North Dakota State over #3 Kansas
North Dakota State is my Cinderella. I love their experience, three-point shooting and ability to score consistently. Kansas is one of the youngest teams in the nation.

#7 Boston College over #10 USC
I hate both of these teams. Tyrese Rice should be good for one tournament victory though.

#2 Michigan State over #15 Robert Morris
I have no idea who this Robert Morris character is, but he stands no chance against Tom Izzo.

#1 Louisville over #9 Siena
I like Siena, but Louisville is way too talented.

#5 Utah over #4 Wake Forest
Utah has the size and three-point shooting to compete with Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons usually exit early.

#14 North Dakota State over #6 West Virginia
Cinderella continues to dance! West Virginia is a talented team, but Bob Huggins tends to disappoint in March.

#2 Michigan State over #7 Boston College
I can't see Michigan State having trouble with either Boston College or USC.

#1 Louisville over #5 Utah
The Cardinals just beat Villanova and Syracue... I don't see Utah putting up much of a challenge.

#2 Michigan State over #14 North Dakota State
Cinderella turns into a pumpkin, as Michigan State is too good of a rebounding team.

#1 Louisville over #2 Michigan State
Michigan State is a solid team, but I feel as though Louisville is on a different level. The Cardinals' defense will disrupt Kalin Lucas, thus debacling the Spartans' offense.

Ryan's 2009 NCAA Tournament Picks:

#1 Louisville over #16 Alabama State/Morehead State
Louisville is going to win this game hands down.

#9 Siena over #8 Ohio State
I think Siena is a team that could cause problems for the Buckeyes. When picking a mid-major to win a game, they must take care of the basketball. Siena does that. Give me Siena.

#5 Utah over #12 Arizona
Lets see here... Arizona gives up a lot of threes, and Utah shoots very well from three. Give me Utah. Enough said. I'll take Utah in this one.

#13 Cleveland State over #4 Wake Forest
I think this Cleveland State team is very underrated. They play good defense and take care of the basketball. Wake Forest can't seem to figure out how to defend people. Cleveland State in the upset.

#6 West Virginia over #11 Dayton
The Mountaineers are much more athletic than the Flyers. West Virginia is very tested and knows what it takes to win. West Virginia wins a close game.

#14 North Dakota State over #3 Kansas
Call me crazy, but I�m not sold on this Kansas team. They are way too young to be making a difference in the NCAA Tournament. Based on that, I think N.Dakota State's first game ever in the NCAA tournament will be a successful one. They take very good care of the basketball. N.Dakota State in the upset.

#10 USC over #7 Boston College
I don�t like either of these teams. Since I'm forced to pick one of them, I�ll take USC. Give me the more athletic Trojans.

#2 Michigan State over #15 Robert Morris
Sparty got really lucky in this tournament. They get to play on a court they play on all the time, and then go to Indy and play there? Yeah, give me the Spartans in a blow out.

#1 Louisville over #9 Siena
I think this game will be close, but in the end, I don't think Siena can handle Louisville's press. Rick Pitno has this team on a mission and I don't think they�ll stop until they reach their destination. Louisville wins.

#13 Cleveland State over #5 Utah
Cleveland State could cause some major problems for Utah. If Utah can't get the ball to their stud in Nevill, they will be in trouble. Cleveland State to the sweet 16!

#6 West Virginia over #14 North Dakota State
The Mountaineers will just "out-athlete" North Dakota State. I'm worried about picking them this far because of their age, but why not? West Virginia wins.

#2 Michigan State over #10 USC
Advantage Mich State again. USC turns the ball over too much and the Spartans will feast on that. State in a blowout.

#1 Louisville over #13 Cleveland State
Ah, this is a game that would get pretty ugly. The Cardinals are the exact team Cleveland State wouldn't want to see. Louisville in a blowout.

#2 Michigan State over #6 West Virginia
This is where experience steps in. Sparty was dominated on this stage last year, and Tom Izzo won't have that happen again. Michigan State wins a close one.

#1 Louisville over #2 Michigan State
Louisville will just cause too many turnovers and Michigan State hasn't played consistently all year. They would have to shoot very well in order to win this game. I don't see it/ Louisville wins.

2009 NCAA Tournament - Other Brackets

2009 NCAA Tournament Picks and Preview - Midwest Bracket

2009 NCAA Tournament Picks and Preview - West Bracket

2009 NCAA Tournament Picks and Preview - East Bracket

2009 NCAA Tournament Picks and Preview - South Bracket

2009 NCAA Tournament Picks and Preview - Final Four

2009 NCAA Tournament References

2009 NCAA Tournament - Stats, Facts, Trends and Tips

2009 NCAA Tournament Credo

College Basketball Picks

2009 NFL Mock Draft

2010 NFL Mock Draft

NBA Picks

2009 Fantasy Football Rankings Coming Soon

Missing Include


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