2013 NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest


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2013 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Bracket Picks


2013 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Bracket First Round



No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T
I’m putting Liberty here because I don’t have a logo for North Carolina AT&T, or whatever that school is called. Not like it matters anyway.

Update: Bah, I had to get a logo for North Carolina A&T. Damn it.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Louisville


No. 8 Colorado State vs. No. 9 Missouri
These teams are just one seed apart in this bracket, but I don’t think they’re that close. According to my 2013 NCAA Tournament Computer Rankings, Missouri is 26th, compared to Colorado State’s 46th ranking. The Rams have struggled down the stretch, losing four of their previous eight.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 9 Missouri


No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Oregon
Oklahoma State and Oregon are just 1.75 points apart in my ranking. The Cowboys are the better team, but I’m giving the edge to the underdog. The 12-5 thing is appealing, but the big factor is that the Ducks are playing so much closer to home than Oklahoma State is. That’s a big advantage. Also, I feel like Oregon will have a chip on its shoulder after being ranked so low.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 12 Oregon


No. 4 Saint Louis vs. No. 13 New Mexico State
Saint Louis is an awesome team. I can’t see New Mexico State tripping them up. The Aggies don’t take care of the basketball, which spells trouble against a Saint Louis squad that feasts on turnovers.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 4 Saint Louis




No. 6 Memphis vs. No. 11 Saint Mary’s
I hate these stupid play-in games. It’s very difficult to make a pick not knowing whom Memphis will play. That’s why I’m just going to take the Tigers even though Saint Mary’s is a very solid team capable of advancing to the Sweet 16.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 6 Memphis


No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 14 Valparaiso
Tom Izzo is not going to lose to Valparaiso. I’m just glad I learned how to spell Valparaiso correctly without looking it up.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 3 Michigan State


No. 7 Creighton vs. No. 10 Cincinnati
I have Creighton ranked higher than Cincinnati. The Bearcats really struggled down the stretch, going 4-7 in their final 11. The teams they beat were Villanova, Connecticut, South Florida and Providence – with the first three all being at home. Teams that finish on a cold streak often exit quickly in the tournament.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 7 Creighton


No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Albany
Duke’s no longer a lock to advance into the second round as a No. 2 seed, but I have to figure that Coach K will have his players extra focused for this game. Sorry Lehigh had to ruin things for you, Albany.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 2 Duke





2013 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Bracket Second Round



No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 9 Missouri
The general rule is that you should pick the No. 1 to advance to the Sweet 16 unless you’re absolutely in love with one of the No. 8 or 9 seeds. The ones always beat the 16s, so there’s a greater chance they’ll get there, since the 8-9 matchup is usually a coin flip.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Louisville


No. 4 Saint Louis vs. No. 12 Oregon
Oregon enjoyed a pseudo homecourt advantage over Oklahoma State. The same applies in this matchup, but Saint Louis is just much better than Oklahoma State. That’s the difference. As with New Mexico State, Oregon doesn’t take care of the basketball well enough to get by Saint Louis.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 4 Saint Louis




No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 6 Memphis
You have to play the odds sometimes when filling out the brackets. Michigan State will almost definitely beat Valparaiso. Meanwhile, Memphis could easily lose to Saint Mary’s or Middle Tennessee State. Besides, Tom Izzo should be able to coach circles around the young Josh Pastner.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 3 Michigan State


No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Creighton
What I talked about in the Michigan State-Memphis matchup applies here. There’s probably a 95-percent chance Duke beats Valparaiso, while Creighton-Cincinnati is much closer to 50-50. That’s why Duke has to be the pick. Besides, I have the Blue Devils as a better team than Creighton in my rankings.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 2 Duke





2013 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Bracket Sweet 16



No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Saint Louis
This is a very difficult matchup for the Cardinals. In fact, this might be their most difficult test in this bracket. They thrive on taking the basketball away from teams, but Saint Louis avoids turnovers. The Billikens, meanwhile, will give Louisville a taste of its own medicine. As the old saying goes, teams that like to press don’t like to be pressed. Or something like that.

I’m still going with Louisville though. What clinches this pick for me is that Saint Louis’ current head coach, Jim Crews, doesn’t have much of a history of NCAA Tournament success. If Rick Majerus were still coaching, I think I’d strongly consider the upset.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Louisville


No. 2 Duke vs. No. 3 Michigan State
If you looked at my tournament rankings, you may have noticed that I have Duke at No. 14 – which is awfully low for a No. 2 seed. A couple of things weighed the Blue Devils down. One was Coach K’s lack of tournament success recently; he won a championship a few years ago, but his teams have been prone to big upsets when they don’t have the most talent. The bigger issue was the opening-game loss in the ACC Tournament. Teams that don’t log a victory in their conference tournaments often exit quickly in the Big Dance.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 3 Michigan State



2013 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Bracket Elite Eight



No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 3 Michigan State
I mentioned earlier that Louisville didn’t have much of an edge over Saint Louis because of the Billikens’ ability to take care of the basketball. That doesn’t apply to Michigan State, as the Spartans were just 209th in turnover percentage this season, according to KenPom. The Cardinals demolished Michigan State in the Sweet 16 last year, and I’m expecting a similar result in this season’s Elite Eight.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Louisville



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