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NCAA Tournament Projections: 'Bracket Now' Commentary for January 18th, 2009

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This was not how the script was supposed to go. Pittsburgh was supposed to keep winning, stay undefeated and hold onto the overall top number one seed. Louisville took matters into their own hands after a disappointing (Cardinal standards) non-conference performance. The Cardinals are probably the biggest winners of the week as they jumped from a six seed to a three seed. Pittsburgh remains a one seed, but their room for error is nil. Freedom Hall is a tough place to play.

Wake Forest proved their win against the Tar Heels was no fluke as they rolled into Clemson and knocked off the Tigers with relative ease. For now, Wake Forest is undefeated and truly deserving of the top number one seed spot. Fellow ACC-er, Duke, just keeps winning and they find themselves moving up the rankings, but I had to ship them out West.

Should any of those one seeds slip up, including U. Conn., and you have North Carolina begging the committee for a second chance. Not only did they lose the top seed, they can no longer play in Greensboro because Wake Forest and Duke get that luxury for now. Although I don’t think you will find and Tar Heels complaining about the Miami draw.

Oklahoma is an interesting team. If the ACC and Big East weren’t so dominate, we would be talking about the Sooners as strong one seed. However, take a look at that Midwest region, packed with Pitt, Oklahoma, UCLA, and Memphis. I’ll admit; Clemson was probably under-seeded last week. Winning against Wake would have got them consideration for a one seed, certainly a two, so I figured a three was just about right.

It seems as if the Big Ten has Michigan State and then everyone else. Minnesota, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio State, and Michigan are all tournament worthy, but I wouldn’t be shocked if all six don’t make it past the first weekend.

Arizona State’s big win in Westwood over UCLA more than makes up for the slip up across town against the Trojans a few days earlier. The Sun Devils are a three seed and the Bruins have fallen to a four. Probably the strongest four seed ever I might add.

I need to skip through the mid-section of the bracket and get into bubble territory. Take my word for it when I say it was slim pickens when I got deep into the at-large births. Arkansas, Missouri, and Utah are not your prototypical NCAA Tournament teams. The Razorbacks are 0-3 in the very weak SEC, but have dominated the tough Big Twelve with wins against Texas and Oklahoma.

Take a look at the Bubble Busted teams and please make an argument for them. Good luck.

With this bracket I’ll go with Arizona State, Louisville, North Carolina, and Oklahoma in the Final Four.


Karl Gustafson Staff Writer & 2009 NCAA Tournament Projections
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