No. 1E Ohio State vs. No. 1W Duke
Some may say these are the top two teams in the country. But who's going to win? Let's check the tale of the tape:
Offense: Ohio State (1) over Duke (6).
Defense: Duke (6) over Ohio State (10).
Margin of Victory: Ohio State (17.1) over Duke (16.8).
Conference Blowouts: Duke (9) over Ohio State (7).
Experience: Duke (defending NCAA Champion) over Ohio State (three freshmen in top six scoring).
Travel: Ohio State (Cleveland, Newark) over Duke (Cleveland, Anaheim).
As you can see, it's pretty even. Two things give Ohio State the edge:
First, many of Duke's numbers are skewed because some of those results happened with Kyrie Irving. And second, the travel comparison is a big deal. Only three teams since 1985 have traveled three timezones and still made the national semifinals.
2011 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1E Ohio State
No. 1SW Kansas vs. No. 2SE Florida
Unlike the other semi-final, this is a bit more lopsided. Let's check the tale of the tape:
Offense: Kansas (4) over Florida (12).
Defense: Kansas (12) over Florida (36).
Margin of Victory: Kansas (17.1) over Florida (8.5).
Conference Blowouts: Kansas (7) over Florida (3).
I have Florida getting to the Final Four because they're in a very weak bracket. Kansas wins.
2011 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1SW Kansas
2011 NCAA Tournament: Championship
No. 1E Ohio State vs. No. 1SW Kansas
This is so tough to call. Let's check the tale of the tape:
Offense: Ohio State (1) over Kansas (4).
Defense: Ohio State (10) over Kansas (12).
Margin of Victory: Tie (17.1).
Conference Blowouts: Tie (7).
As you can see, it's pretty even. Both teams are outstanding and could easily win the NCAA Championship.
Both teams have a glaring weakness:
For Ohio State, it's their three freshmen. I don't trust freshmen.
For Kansas, it's their mediocre point guard play. It's not a bad situation, but the Buckeyes have the advantage.
Ultimately though, the Buckeyes' weakness is masked a bit by the strong upperclassmen that complement the talented freshmen.
Ohio State is the best team in the NCAA Tournament, and I'm picking them to win my bracket.