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NCAA Tournament Projections: 'Bracket Now' Commentary for January 11th, 2009

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Just when you think you have the bracket figured out, North Carolina starts the ACC campaign 0-2 and tied for last place. Who would have thought? Wake Forest knocked off the Tar Heels at home Sunday night catapulting them to a number one seed. The dilemma is that North Carolina is probably still a top four team in the nation, but they haven’t played like it lately and they are now a two seed, a spot I never expected to slot them in at any point in the season. Duke and Connecticut claim the other two one seeds. The other issue is that the only place to stick the Tar Heels is in the East with Connecticut. What a loaded region, and what an amazing elite eight game that would make.

The rest of the college basketball week was business as usual, well, as long as you don’t think too much about how Boston College fresh off their dethroning of number one North Carolina could lose to Harvard by double digits. Tommy Amaker’s dress down approach must have fooled the Eagles. Then, Maryland, a team with some nice early wins over Michigan State and Michigan, loses to Morgan State. Can anyone name the Morgan State nickname?

For the first time in school history, the Pitt Panthers are number one in the nation. By doing so, they earn the top spot in the bracket for the second straight week. The only question I have to the Pitt Panthers is, would you rather travel across the state of Ohio and play your first few games in Dayton, or would you like to stay in state, but have to go all the way to Philadelphia? Pittsburgh to Dayton is 258.91 miles, while Pittsburgh to Philadelphia is 304.75 miles. I chose Philly as their destination assuming that more Pitt alumni are in the city of brotherly love as opposed to Dayton.

I’m a little disappointed in Arkansas. First, they beat Oklahoma around the Holidays, then; they follow that up with a defeat of Texas. I was ready to anoint the Hogs with a 5 seed. Then they lose to Mississippi State. Let’s not also forget that Arkansas has a loss to Missouri State.

Not a whole lot of movement with the high seeds this week. Michigan State slides into the two seed spot in the Midwest thanks to their beat down of Kansas and perfect record in conference play thus far. What’s going on with Purdue? One of the favorites to win the Big Ten this year, they started 0-2 in conference play, including a loss to Penn State. Then they bounce back and throttle Wisconsin. I had indecision on what to do with them, so they ended up a six seed for now. I expect them to move up.

Any Clemson fans? They are undefeated, but still only a four seed. I need to see a good win or two before I can get them into that third or fourth spot. Right now, their best win is Illinois. Other nice wins include Temple and Miami (Fla). Please beat a Duke or North Carolina (Wake Forest will do as well) and then we can talk.

I’m unimpressed with the Missouri Valley Conference this year. Illinois State started 14-0, but has since lost two conference games. One of which was lowly Indiana State. Creighton was supposed to be the class of the league, but they have two conference losses as well. As of now, Bradley is on top, but these guys are going to beat each other up, and will probably only get one bid.

Based on the bracket I have produced this week, my final four selections would be: Pittsburgh, Texas, Arizona State, and North Carolina.


Karl Gustafson Staff Writer & 2009 NCAA Tournament Projections
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