Thursday, April 4, 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2019 NCAA basketball tourney

March is probably my favorite month of the year.  All the St. Patrick's festivities, warm weather getting closer, and of course the
NCAA basketball tournament.  We have a lot of fun at the agency debating our favorite teams along with the possible winners and losers.  Of
course you must fill out a bracket to see how knowledgeable you actually are in the college basketball world.  I like to think I know a thing
or two about who is a favorite and who has no chance.  In reality, you can flip a coin on every game and probably do just as well as one of those
high paid pundits on ESPN or CBS.  Of course, like those TV pundits, I will throw in my two cents and give you who I think will be in the Final Four
come April.

     In the East bracket, I looked very closely to see if I could pick a team that could beat Duke.  There are many Duke haters out there, myself
included, but they also have their fans and I have to admit Duke is quite good this year.  They can be beaten though as I did watch Gonzaga beat them
back in the beginning of the season.  Top teams can hang with them but beating Duke is a tall order.  Zion Williamson, R.J Barret, and Cam Reddish pose
numerous problems to an opposing team.  Michigan St. is a possibility but I am going with Duke as the winner in the East Bracket.

    The West bracket has Gonzaga as the Number 1 seed but I don't thing they make it through.  Rob Griffith(my brother) is a big Syracuse fan and he thinks
they can take Gonzaga out in the second round(assuming they win their first round game).  I don't see that happening but I see Gonzaga going out in the
Sweet 16, possibly to Florida St. or possibly Murray St., a 12 seed.  Look out for Murray St. and also Buffalo, another small basketball school that had
a great year.  All that being said, I will go with Michigan to get to the Final Four.  My Villanova squad took them out last year in the 2018 Championship
Game(a great day) and I think they can get back there again.  Michigan is the choice in the East.

    The South bracket is interesting as I am having a real hard time picking a Final Four candidate.  I would love to pick my Villanova boys to get through
but I am trying to be objective and I don't think Villanova has enough this year.  They play for the most part 6 players and I just think they would be too
worn down to win the bracket.  I will be rooting for them of course but thinking it through I cannot predict that they will be the winner of this bracket.  The
problem is that I do not love the other possible teams.  Virginia, Tennessee, Purdue, and Kansas St. are the top 4 seeds and I don't trust any of them.  Those
that watch the tournament each year of course remember Virginia last year losing to a 16 seed.  This was the first time a 1 seed lost to a 16 seed so its hard
to have confidence in them.  I have to make a choice so I will go with Kansas State.  Also, look out for Cincinnati, they could do some damage.  This bracket
I am not confident in and I wish I had the guts to pick Villanova but Kansas St. is the pick.

    Finally, the Midwest where I have two possible choices and they are not the top 4 seeds.  I love Auburn and Iowa St.  Auburn is the 5 seed and Iowa St. is
the 6 seed.  This bracket is pretty stocked as North Carolina is playing well and Kentucky and Houston are very good teams.  Don't love Kansas at the 4 seed as
they were not great this year.  I am feeling like one of the higher seeds will make it through so I am going with Iowa St.  This could blow up in my face but it
is not unusual for a higher seeded team to make the final four.  Remember, Loyola-Chicago made it last year as a 11 seed.

   My final four picks:  Duke, Michigan, Kansas St., and Iowa St.  Michigan beats Duke in one semi-final, Iowa St. wins the other semi.  Michigan over Iowa St.
for the national championship.  Michigan comes back from a crushing loss to the great Villanova Wildcats in the 2018 final.  Michigan the 2019 national champion.

   I hope you liked the breakdown.  You can use my picks if you like, I do not mind, as a matter of fact I will be flattered.  You can also go against everything
I said.  It would hurt a little but I will be ok. Enjoy the next three weekends as it's always a lot of fun.  Nothing better than seeing a team hit a last second
shot to win a game.  You see both exilaration and well as heartbreak for the team that experienced that last second loss.  Enjoy the games and good luck with
your picks.