Weekly Bracketology Watch...
The warmth and sunshine of Florida's Gulf Coast is calling, but I had to get one last take in regarding my favorite non-golf time of year - March Madness. As we get closer and closer the big picture gets more clarity. The Big Ten has five in for sure with one on the bubble and another fading while on life support. Following is what Joe Lunardi has in store for our league as of Monday 2/20 followed by where I see the teams going.
- Ohio State is listed as a 2 seed, in the Atlanta bracket (playing in Dayton), slated to face IUPUI. The 7 seed for round two there is Washington, the 10 seed is Southern Illinois. The number one in the bracket is Duke. I see them as a 3 with a good chance to make the Sweet 16.
- Iowa is listed as a 3 seed, in the Oakland bracket (playing in Auburn Hills), slated to play Penn. The next round would be intriguing with 6 seed Oklahoma or 11 seed Arizona lying in wait. The number one in the bracket is Memphis. I see them as a 3 or 4, more likely a 4 and again, a dangerous team for the tournament due to senior leadership.
- Illinois is listed as a 3 seed, in the Washington D.C. bracket (playing in Auburn Hills), slated to play Northwestern State. The 6 seed is West Virginia a team I would not want to face. The 11 is an intriguing Colorado squad. The number one in the Washington D.C. bracket is UConn. I see Illinois as a 3, maybe sliding to a 4 if they are ousted early from the Big Ten Tourney. I also see them as a team to get upset early due to reliance on Brown and a stagnant offense of late.
- Michigan State is listed as a 4 seed, in the Minneapolis bracket (playing in Salt Lake City), slated to play Kent State. The 5 seed is UCLA. The number one in the bracket is Villanova. MSU plays extraordinarily well at home (11-0), horribly on the road (3-6), but good on neutral courts (5-1). I can see this team anywhere from a Sweet 16 team to a NCAA Finalist. I think they land as high as a 3, but more likely a 4 seed.
- Wisconsin is listed as a 5 seed, in the D.C. bracket (playing in Jacksonville), slated to play Western Kentucky. The 4 seed is N.C. State. The number one in the bracket is UConn. I see Wisconsin as a very dangerous 6 or 7 seed when Selection Sunday arrives. Think 2000 when the Badgers were a Final Four team as an 8 seed.
- Michigan is listed as an 11 seed, in the Minneapolis bracket (playing in Jacksonville), slated to play Marquette. The number one in the Minneapolis bracket is Villanova. The injury bug has bitten hard (Harris and Smith come back but Abram is still out and now Hunter is out) and M needs at least one regular season and tourney win to get in. If Michigan slides in, it will be in the 11 spot. The maize and blue are on the bubble, but that is better than Indiana who may miss even the NIT.
Check out the entire bracket breakdown.