John’s Sunday Picks

I’m still doing terribly. At this point, showcasing my picks next to Tim’s is starting to get ridiculous. His picks have been almost as good as mine have been bad. In fact, don’t even read this post. STOP! Go read Tim’s picks! These are completely, utterly useless!

8 Gonzaga vs. 1 Syracuse

Original Pick: Syracuse over Gonzaga

What I’ve Learned: Now that Kansas is gone (fittingly, my pick to win the whole thing was the first 1-seed knocked out), Syracuse is probably the favorite to win it all. Kentucky has been playing well, but Syracuse is a more mature team. Unlike Tim, I don’t think this game will be very close—which probably means it will go into several OTs.

The Pick: Syracuse

10 Georgia Tech vs. 2 Ohio State

Original Pick: Ohio State over Oklahoma State

What I’ve Learned: James Anderson is the worst basketball player in the history of the universe. Well, probably not. But he did turn in the Tournament’s most disappointing performance by somewhat not named Scottie Reynolds or Sherron Collins. I may not be right about much, but I was right about Evan Turner since the inaugural Double Bonus.

The Pick: Ohio State

5 Michigan State vs. 4 Maryland

Original Pick: Michigan State over Maryland

What I’ve Learned: MSU really got some lucky breaks in their win against New Mexico State in Round 1—mainly that freak lane violation call down the stretch (which was the right call, if not one you see made very often). I don’t think the Spartans are that good, but I also don’t think the Terps are that good either. And in situations like this, I’m going to pick Tom Izzo’s team over one coached by Gary Williams.

The Pick: MSU

10 Missouri vs. 2 West Virginia

Original Pick: West Virginia over Missouri

What I’ve Learned: First of all, can I point out that this is two in a row—and three of four—that I haven’t had to change at all? In a Tournament like this, that counts as success for me. I can see West Virginia losing this game, since they don’t have a real reliable point guard to deal with the Tigers’ press, but the Mountaineers played especially well on Friday.

The Pick: West Virginia

12 Cornell vs. 4 Wisconsin

Original Pick: Wisconsin over Temple

What I’ve Learned: Cornell grads get really annoying when their school wins one fucking game in the NCAA Tournament. Seriously, folks, big fucking deal. The Big Red fans—Cornell’s, I mean—got their one win, but that’s all they will get. And for an Ivy League team, that’s really enough.

The Pick: Wisconsin

6 Xavier vs. 3 Pittsburgh

Original Pick: Pitt over Xavier

What I’ve Learned: Another one I don’t have to change! When I originally picked this game, I thought the Panthers might struggle against Xavier, but Jamie Dixon’s team was surprisingly effective in Round 1—especially compared to the rest of their conference’s First Round performances. I’m sticking with Pitt, then, and I’m slightly more confident than I was two days ago.

The Pick: Pittsburgh

5 Texas A&M vs. 4 Purdue

Original Pick: Texas A&M over Siena

What I’ve Learned: Matt Painter is a pretty good coach. He managed to pull the Boilermakers together to avoid an upset that a lot of people were predicting. Even though I picked Siena, I was happy to see Purdue get a Tournament win without Robbie Hummel. But I don’t think they can do it again.

The Pick: Texas A&M

8 California vs. 1 Duke

Original Pick: Duke over Louisville

What I’ve Learned: The Pac-10 spent over four months planning an elaborate rope-a-dope just so its teams could exceed expectations in the NCAA Tournament. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for Washington getting to the Sweet 16 and for the Golden Bears’ rather easy dismissal of Louisville in the first round. In all honesty, Cal did play better than I expected, but this win didn’t shock me. I see the Bears hanging with Duke for the whole game, but not giving the Blue Devils a real scare.

The Pick: Duke

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