So, it’s finally here! Since only Temple qualified out of the City 6, the six college basketball writers will be doing a unique bracket analysis! Here is the full bracket (thanks to ESPN):
*Notes (Cinderella must be double-digit seeds, One and Done is 12-16 seed with first-round upset but nothing else, Dark Horse is 6-9 seed that will do surprisingly well, Early Out is 1-3 seed that will be out in rounds 1 or 2, “1R MM” is 1st Round Marquee Matchup, “PTW” is Player to Watch, Snub Sneed is team that should be higher, and Bad Seed is team that is too high)
|Cinderella||#11 N.C. State||#14 Iona||#13 NMSU||#14 Belmont||#12 LBSU|
|DarkHorse||#6 Murray St.||#6 UNLV||#9 St. Louis||#7 St. Mary’s||#6 Cincy|
|Early Out||#3 G’Town||#3 Baylor||#3 G’Town||#3 G’Town||#3 G’Town|
|1&Done||#14 Belmont||#13 NMSU||#12 LBSU||#12 LBSU||#14 Belmont|
|1R MM||#3 G’Town v #14 BEL||#3 FSU v #14 SBON||#6 SDSU v #11 NCST||#3 FSU v #14 SBON||#5 WSU v #12 VCU|
|Snub Seed||#8 Creighton||#6 Murray State||#2 Missouri||#8 Memphis||#11 N.C. State|
|Bad Seed||#5 Temple||#4 Louisville||#3 G’Town||#3 Marquette||#3 G’Town|
|PTW (E)||Nicholson (SBON)||A. Nicholson (SBON)||Nicholson (SBON)||Nicholson (SBON)||Sullinger (OSU)|
|PTW (S)||A. Davis (Kentucky)||T. Holloway (Xavier)||J. Lamb (UConn)||C. Zeller (Indiana)||P. Jones (Baylor)|
|PTW (MW)||McDermott (Creighton)||McDermott (Creighton)||T. Burke (Michigan)||H. Barnes (UNC)||Robinson (Kansas)|
|PTW||D. Green (MSU)||P. Siva (L’Ville)||M Denmon (MIZZ)||D. Green (MSU)||D. Green (MSU)|
|Final 4||FSU, KAN, DUKE, MIZ||FSU, KAN, KEN, MSU||FSU, UNC, KEN, MIZ||FSU, NC, BAY, MIZ||FSU, UNC, BAY, MIZ|
There are several clear conclusions can be drawn from these predictions. First off, Bonnies forward Andrew Nicholson is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves. Four out of our five experts weighed in, saying he was the “Player to Watch” in the East bracket. Nicholson averaged 18.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game on his way to receiving Atlantic 10 POY honors.
Another major trend was Georgetown’s early upset possibilities as they face Belmont and then possibly upset-minded NC State/SDSU. With Belmont being the upset favorites for the last two years, even with two losses, they always have an opportunity to compete with the big boys, and 4 out of our 5 writers predict that Georgetown won’t be in the tournament very long.
Finally, by a unanimous vote, our writers have Florida State, a #3 seed, in the Final Four. This is unusual, as most people predict a #1 or #2 seed to make it to the F4, but this seems to be a testament to the Seminoles’ recent big wins (over #1 seed UNC and #2 seed Duke), and their suffocating defense. It also goes to show a lack of confidence in Ohio State, and how Syracuse’s loss to Cincinnati in the Big East Tournament might have shaken some people’s views of them as well.