Final 4 and beyond … who will wear the crown?

Okay, boys. This is the moment (okay, one of the key moments) we’ve been waiting for. It’s the opportunity to fill out those doggone brackets and figure out who’s going to the Final Four, and more specifically, who’s gonna claim that chan’ship. We’re gonna play “closest to the pin”, cuz nobody’s gonna ace this quiz. However, the following list (Wally’s picks) might be the answer key y’all need to win the office pool. If not, feel free to point out the flaws by submitting your own:

Final Four: Florida vs UCLA, Georgetown vs Texas A&M
Terrific Two: Florida vs Georgetown
Champ: Florida

Although I hate to say it, I just can’t see anybody dethroning the Gators this year. The have probably the most talented and experienced starting 5 … and they just happen to be the exact same group that won last year. They came back to win it all again, and Billy Donovan is a damn good coach … he has ’em hungry again after a brief slump. They TRAMPLED SEC tourney foes and have put their game face on. Look out!

The real question is who will come in second and/or which top seeds don’t make it to the F4. I’m thinking Carolina falls earlier than expected in a really tough region, Kansas succumbs to UCLA’s home court advantage out west, and Ohio State’s youth costs them at an inopportune time. Wouldn’t it be great to see the Aggies go all the way???? (In my dreams, Notre Dame goes all the way … and then I wake up and go to work).

Good luck with your picks (and ya better not ignore the major hints given here).


17 Responses to "Final 4 and beyond … who will wear the crown?"

  1. Casey   March 13, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    The Gators will not win back-to-back titles. They will probably not make the Final Four. They will succumb to the pressure of playing with a bullseye on their chest. If Maryland doesn’t get ’em, Wisconsin will. Wisconsin goes to the F4. By the way – using the word ‘foes’ for the SEC is a little dicey this year. UK has not beaten a ranked team all year. Vanderbilt is great…as long as they play at home!!! And Tennessee needed the recent athletic department lovefest to buoy their efforts.

    UCLA is going to lose to Gonzaga in the second round, and So. Illinois goes to the final four. Nice job by the NCAA giving Kansas the 1 seed in the West and making UCLA the two seed. That makes as much sense as putting Florida in the Midwest and Ohio St. in the South.

    I agree with your Georgetown choice. Who do you stop on that team? Everybody contributes. But I disagree with your assessment of UNC. The UNC – Georgetown matchup will be of epic proportions.

    Last, but not least I agree with Texas A&M.

    Wow, the Irish got maybe the worst draw possible. How is Winthrop an eleven seed? And if the Irish win, they get to play Oregon. That game would take place in the state of Washington. Last I checked Oregon is much closer to Washington than is South Bend.

    Note to Syracuse fans – maybe now your athletic department will consider playing a tougher pre-conference schedule. Yeah, you got a raw deal, but it’s been a long time coming.

    Georgetown beats A&M.
    Wisconsin beats So. Illinois
    The Hoyas win it all.

  2. Wally   March 13, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Paul — Your courage on that one side of the bracket is compelling … but foolish. As much as I like the “Hoosiers thing” they have going, Wisconsin is not the same team without Butch. Ya can’t conistently score in the high 40’s or low 50’s and get that far. Would love to see it, but …
    Would also love to see So.Ill do that well … it has a chance of happening … more than Wisconsin.

    Winthrop an 11 seed? Great question. Better Q is why is ND only a 6 seed??? They obviously should have been a firm 5. Yep … got screwed with the seed and location. Oh well … just gotta suck it up and play … and win. Hey … if ya can’t beat Winthrop, you’re not gonna go very far in this tourney anyway.

    Lastly, the Gators laugh at pressure. If they lose, it’ll be because somebody gets HOT and shoots 60+% for the game. Absent that, they’ll keep movin’ on.


  3. Casey   March 13, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Actually, I was thinking Winthrop is a pretty good 11 seed. Their four losses this year: by 7 @Chapel Hill, by 11 @ Maryland, by 3 @ Wisconsin, and a not so impressive loss at Texas A&M. I wouldn’t be surprised if Winthrop made it to the 16.

  4. Casey   March 13, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    By the way – while my picks may be ‘foolish’ as you say, at least people might not yawn while reading them. A 1 seed, two 2’s, and a 3. Yeah ya really went out on a limb there. People really needed that advice for their office picks. Puh-lease! You act like you possess the holy grail or something. Can you at least try and take a chance somewhere along the line. Yeah, you may be wrong, but your stale picks probably won’t be right either.

  5. Wally   March 14, 2007 at 1:31 am

    Paul — You’re ticked, so I’ve done my job. KIDDING! Actually wasn’t trying to piss you off, but I was just being blatantly honest. We’ll see who’s closer to being right in a couple weeks. Having said that, I truly hope you are closest to the pin … I’d love to see some of these underdogs like So.Ill make a big splash, and I don’t want to see Florida win it again. In my bracket pool in the office with a large number of entries, I’m going to have to be a bit creative … wonder if working Louisville into the mix might be the magic I need? They are playing “at home” for the first two games. Just a hunch. They were damned good down the stretch, save for that last BE game.

    Georgetown is a popular pick. Wonder if JT Jr’s “inexperience” in big games might catch up with them before the final? UNC is so talented and very well coached by one of the best.

    Lighten up!


  6. Wally   March 14, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Maybe the Irish can …


  7. Aaron   March 14, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Okay ladies, keep the fighting in the bedroom. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the best part about March Madness is that chances are we are inevitably wrong about who we pick for the Final Four.. except me.

    That being said, nothing was going to get in the way of posting my Final Four to this blog. Not even an impending trip to Hawaii for work (oh darn), not even food poisoning from over the weekend (lost a much needed 10 lbs in 48 hrs), and chest cold that just won’t quit. I did nothing but watch college basketball over the weekend and I loved it.. I’m ready for more!!

    That being said, if I had a choice, I would let Kansas, Texas and the rest of their conference (is the Big 10 or Big 12 ? it gets confusing afer awhile) play for the tournament championship. Some of the best basketball games have been played in that conference this year, and the Texas/Kansas game on Sunday was no different.

    As for the brackets..It saddens me to pick it, but I think Duke is out after the first round. VCU is the type of team that has been giving them problems all season and they are ripe for an upset. Note to Coach K: no more geeky athletes!! I don’t think Florida is getting through.. Arizona does weird things in the tournament and they could just have one of those games knocking Florida off.. Plus they have to get by Butler and Maryland before having to face either Oregon or Wisconsin. That bullseye will get bigger and bigger. As for S. Illinois.. I like them. In fact, I have a tough time not picking them, but something is telling me not to.. As for the Tar Heels.. Yeah, I think they are coming in as the favorite, but my instincts tell me that they aren’t going to make it – because of one player – Kevin Durant. This is his coming out party.. Coming out in the Celtic green that is. Sidenote: For as good a coach as Roy Williams is, is he capable of winning another championship? All those good Kansas teams and he couldn’t win. His only championship was with Matt Doherty’s players.. I will put him up there in the upper echelon of coaches if he can win another..

    With all of that.. Here is my Final Four:

    Texas beats Texas A&M
    Kansas beats Wisconsin

    The rubber match:
    Texas beats Kansas

    Not even Rick Barnes can screw this up…


  8. Aaron   March 15, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Okay, let’s try this again. I posted a long post to this and it never showed.. Good stuff too. It went a little like this..

    Okay ladies leaving the bickering in the bedroom. The best thing about March Madness is that everyone can have an opinion and inevitably everyone is wrong. Expect the unexpected, yet who will it be? And while my picks are probably not right – right now they are perfect and right now I like them.. And let me tell you, it has been tough bringing my picks to you.. Not even an impending trip to Hawaii for work could stop me( I know twist my arm). Not even food poisoning ( lost a much need 10 lbs in about 48 hours) could stop me. Not even a chest cold that just won’t quit (whoever is standing on my chest, please get off) could stop me…So without wasting another moment, here they are:

    First some quick thoughts:

    1. After watching basketball All weekend, last weekend, I was tempted to petition the NCAA to let Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M and the rest of conference, duke it out for the National Championship. I am hooked on the Big 12 (or is the Big 10? I get confused).. Some of the best games this year came out of that conference.. There is a theme here.

    2. Florida won’t make it .. Sorry Wally, I am in agreement with Casey. Bullseye will get bigger and bigger. Arizona tends to do weird things in the tournament.. mainly implode. Could this be the year Lute’s boys turn the table with a second round upset? If not, the Gators have to get by Maryland, Butler, and probably Oregon or Wisconsin.. They will be taking everyone’s best shot. I just don’t see them getting there.

    3. I like S. Illinois. I want to pick them, but they scare me. I am not good at picking Cinderellas. So at the risk of not jinxing them – I am not going to pick them.

    4. It is a sad year for me.. I am picking Duke to be bounced in the first round. No confidence in the boys and they are going up against the type of team (VCU) that has given them problems all year. Note to Coach K: Pure athele, no more geeky athlete.. Note to Josh McRoberts: think 4 years big guy.

    5. I think it is a shame that people in Kentucky are ready to run Tubby Smith out of there.

    6. I look at Illinois, and Villanova and I am asking how Syracuse didn’t make it in..

    7. Tar Heels – makes me sick to say but I think they are the favorites. But they are not going to make it.. Nope and because of two words – Kevin Durant. This is his coming out party – coming out in Celtic green that is. Side note: weird feeling in Boston right now. Fans were angry this morning that the Celtics WON…

    Final Four

    Texas A&M

    Texas knocks off A&M
    Kansas over Wisconsin

    Rubber match:
    Texas knocks off Kansas

    Not even Rick Barnes can screw this up…


  9. Aaron   March 15, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I think something is wrong.. I have posted something 2 different times and they are not showing up..

    This is a test.

  10. Aaron   March 15, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Of course, now my little blog shows up.. Very disappointing. I really liked what I wrote.. Now the Cliff note version.

    1. Ladies, stop bickering
    2. My favorite conference this year is Big 12.. I can watch Kansas and Texas duke it out at least 3 or 4 more times.
    3. Florida is not going to make. Weird feeling tells me Arizona is going to do something strange and get hot – knock off Florida and then lose by 40 the next game. That being said – they have to get by Maryland, Butler, Notre Dame, Oregon and Wisconsin.. Don’t think it is going to happen
    4. Tar Heels should be the favorite, but the Kevin Durant show is going to stop them..
    5. Sad year.. I have actually write down that Duke is going out in the first round. They have problems with athletic backcourts and that is what VCU is. Upset waiting to happen. Note to Coach K: recruit athletes!! Note to Josh McRoberts : think 4 years big guy.
    6. Can Roy Williams win another title? All those great Kansas team and nothing to show. Won with Matt Doherty’s players, can he win with his own? I’ll put him in the upper echelon if he does.
    7. Who is the Cinderella? S. Illinois? Maybe.. But I am terrible at picking the Cinderella. So to avoid jinxing anyone, I am not picking a Cinderella.

    At last, here are my picks:

    Final Four
    Texas A&M

    Texas over Texas A&M
    Kansas over Wisconsin

    Texas over Kansas

    The Kevin Durant coming out party begins!! Coming out into a Celtic uniform that is..

  11. Casey   March 15, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Maybe we can clear the air here. I don’t recall being ‘ticked’ during my recent response. I don’t think I was partaking in any ‘bickering’. But as having admin privileges to this page I am looking at the high number of views on this site – for example at least 12 views today to this article alone. I am wondering if there are readers out there who would like to respond, but don’t want to worry about a potential beatdown regarding their ideas. Kinda like if someone wants to discuss NASCAR in this area go ahead and do it. I probably won’t participate ’cause I have no interest. I would hope that our goal wouldn’t be to anger others. Rather it would be nice to create an opportunity for others to express their ideas.

  12. Casey   March 16, 2007 at 6:07 am

    Your posts were routed to the spam bin. Don’t know why.

  13. Casey   March 16, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Is So. Illinois really a cinderella? They are ranked 7th for the RPI and 30th for strength of schedule. In comparison Florida is ranked 6th on the RPI and 37th for strength of schedule.

  14. Casey   March 16, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Were those Daugherty’s players or UNC recruits? Sean May was going to play for the Tar Heels not to be coached by Daugherty.

    Roy Williams has turned the UNC attitude around. How do you cheer against them? Just like his kids in Kansas these Tar Heels play a team game. Except – now, in Chapel Hill, he can recruit better athletes.

    Let’s not forget – Dean Smith managed two national titles in 30 something years. Roy already has one.

  15. Wally   March 16, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Other than North Carolina, pretty much any school that starts with a compass direction is an underdog/cinderella, so yes, Southern Illinois is one of those.

    I still think Wisconsin is going down relatively early. Too offensively constipated. Hope I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings with that opinion.


  16. Casey   March 16, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Yeah, you’re right… Jimmy V’s Wolf Pack from NORTH Carolina State was a cinderella. Of course, Skywalker Thompson’s group was not a cinderella. You’re right. If the Gamecocks turned it around they would wear the slipper. And oh yeah Tim Floyd’s group…they would be a cinderalla team.

  17. Casey   March 16, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Oh yeah, almost forgot about WEST Virginia.

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