Editor prognosticates tournament

The Butler Bulldogs were my dirty little secret until last season.

Zack McDermott, sports editor

 After watching Gordon Hayward and company drop a tough NCAA opening round game against the LSU Tigers in the 2008-09 season, I vowed that one day – when the team matured – that I would take a chance on them in my bracket.

Enter last year.

My prognostication of Butler crashing the Elite Eight – and possibly more – was met with incredulous looks.

Until they started winning. Then everyone and their brother said they knew the Bulldogs could do it – even though their brackets said otherwise.

So this year, in writing, are my [possibly] 100 percent correct, [maybe] dead on [luke-warm] stone cold predictions.

The Washington Huskies will make a run to the Elite Eight.

I’m all in on this Isaiah Thomas led team which is entering the field of 68 having won the Pac-10 tournament by defeating three teams – including No. 5 seed Arizona – in three days.  Their propensity to push the ball and routinely score 90 points will prove too much against first-round opponent Georgia.

A second-round matchup against No. 2 seed North Carolina will make for great TV. Both teams run the court well but the Huskies’ experience will win out in the end. A potential Sweet 16 matchup with the Syracuse Orange will be just what the doctor ordered. A 2-3 zone leaves 3-point shooters licking their chops – fortunately for Washington, it has six players that shoot 34 percent or better from behind the arc.

Take the Pittsburgh Panthers to the Final Four at your own risk.

This hurts to say. Being a supporter, I have my heart broken each March and this year will be no different.

It won’t matter that they finally have two scorers – guards Brad Wannamaker and Ashton Gibbs – to go along with their traditionally tough defense.

The NCAA tournament is called tighter than Big East contests and Pitt’s rough-and-tough play won’t fly with the zebras come St. Patrick’s Day.

Despite having an easier road to the Final Four than the 2010 Gannon women’s basketball team, foul trouble and offensive droughts will cause this Panther team to fall prey.

Kansas will choke – again. 

At this point, it’s nearly a fact of college basketball.

I don’t care how good they are or what seed the selection committee has bestowed on them, the Jayhawks will never – and I mean never – see the Elite Eight in any of my brackets again.

After first-round exits at the hands of vaunted programs such as Northern Iowa, Bucknell and Bradley in past years, supporting a Bill Self-coached team has become as risky as playing chicken on the autobahn.

It’s just a matter of picking who will upset a Kansas team that is not nearly as loaded with talent as last year’s squad. A defensively sound UNLV team or the battle-tested Louisville Cardinals could add to the Rock Chalk nation’s misery.

It’s easy to over think when picking the field of 68 – so don’t. Take my advice and maybe, just maybe, your bracket will look as nice as mine.


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