Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

First-round picks

Of course I'll be entering a few of those online pools where you pick all the teams in your brackets right up until the final. But on here I want to go round-by-round as the games happen, just to be able to see how much difference there is in having the luxury of knowing the matchups each round.

My fiancee, who readers of this blog last heard from in January when she said of Nick Harper's wife, "You don't stab someone the day before a big game!" came up with another prescient point on Sunday night. She asked why all the pools require you to pick the entire tournament bracket at once, because "someone could get hurt or could get caught with a stripper" during the tournament.

Fair point. So in the event that an injury or an indiscretion hampers a team from playing at full strength, I'll present my picks for the first round only.

Washington Regional
UConn over Albany
Kentucky over UAB
Utah State over Washington
Illinois over Air Force
Michigan State over George Mason
North Carolina over Murray State
Wichita State over Seton Hall
Winthrop over Tennessee
Comments: I like Kentucky to get back at UAB for their early upset two years ago ... Utah State plays great defense and shoots the ball well ... Illinois and Michigan State get the nod against two of the shakiest at-large entries ... Seton Hall is too streaky to get by a solid Missouri Valley team ... By now, the Vols have to be incredibly upset to be hearing critics say they were seeded too high, but I don't like a team who plays mad ... UConn and UNC should roll.

Atlanta Regional
Duke over Southern
UNC-Wilmington over George Washington
Syracuse over Texas A&M
Iona over LSU
West Virginia over Southern Illinois
Iowa over Northwestern State
NC State over Cal
Texas over Penn
Comments: It's a far fall for the Colonials, but without a healthy Pops they're in trouble against a well-schooled Seahawks squad ... Syracuse won't go out in the first round two years in a row ... Every year someone's chic Final Four pick goes out early, and I'm picking it to be LSU in my upset special ... I'm sticking with WVU one more time but they've got a battle on their hands ... Northwestern State is a trendy pick but I think Iowa has the experience to go a long way ... Cal doesn't have a good nonconference win, and NC State plays very disciplined ... Duke and Texas are clear favorites.

Minneapolis Regional
Villanova over Monmouth
Wisconsin over Arizona
Montana over Nevada
BC over Pacific
UW-Milwaukee over Oklahoma
Florida over S. Alabama
Georgetown over Northern Iowa
Ohio State over Davidson
Comments: The hardest region to pick even in Round 1 ... See my NC State pick for the Wisconsin rationale ... Montana pulls the upset because I don't like Nick Fazekas' defensive play ... UWM has another upset in it, but that's all ... Florida vs. South Alabama is like looking in the mirror with their up-tempo styles and Kentucky-trained coaches ... Northern Iowa has great non-conference wins but Georgetown has the best of all (Duke) ... Villanova, BC and Ohio State stay true to form.

Oakland Regional
Memphis over Oral Roberts
Bucknell over Arkansas
Pitt over Kent State
Kansas over Bradley
San Diego State over Indiana
Xavier over Gonzaga
Marquette over Alabama
UCLA over Belmont
Comments: No, a No. 16 won't beat a No. 1 this year ... Bucknell's savvy overcomes the 'Hogs virtual home-court advantage ... Pitt and KU carry over momentum from conference tournaments ... SDSU is an underrated team and no one knows how Indiana will play in Coach Davis' final tournament with them ... Boy, have I fallen off the 'Zags bandwagon -- watch them make a huge run this year (if they can find a defense) ... Marquette and Alabama both played tough schedules, but I like Steve Novak to score big in this game ... UCLA should roll.

Full bracket predictions posted tomorrow, then round-by-round picks as the tournament goes on.



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