March 12, 2007 - Florida. UCLA. North Carolina. Texas A&M. That's my Final Four right there. Then again you're listening to perhaps the streakiest bracetologist in tournament history. One year I'm busting pools wide open and counting my money before the Finals even start (not that I condone gambling). The next year my brackets are so filled with red lines I need to burn my submission in the barbecue in order to exercise the demons (or Demon Deacons if the case may be).
This year? Florida is once again the team and if you look at their potential match-ups throughout the tournament I can't help but think that they have the easiest road to the Final Four. The toughest road for a number one? North Carolina is staring at potential games against Texas and a team I originally penciled down for the Finals but changed my mind (never a good thing and I'm sure I'll regret it later), Georgetown.
And while some might be surprised to see Texas A&M on my list, I have to admit, Acie Law is one of my favorite players to watch, and I think if he can heat up for the tournament, A&M can ride him all the way past an Elite Eight battle against Ohio State and into the Final Four.
Will it happen? Who knows but one of the reasons my brackets are fest or famine is I like to pick an underdog for the Finals. Since most pools are weighted by the round, if you have a year where everyone is taking Florida and UNC in the finals, one way to win is to pick a team like A&M all the way to the last round. When this technique works, it pays off big. When it fails, well, back to the barbecue (so incase you're wondering, I have Florida over A&M in the finals).
But why listen to me, especially when we can simulate the outcomes of the tournament in games like NCAA March Madness 07 and College Hoops 2K7. Science vs. intuition. Man vs. Machine.
The Tournament: In our NCAA March Madness 07 sim (check out Xbox Live Marketplace tonight for a huge update including seedings, ratings, and the Final Four court from the Georgia Dome...cost $3.13, AKA 250 MS Points), the number one seeds had a rough time as Kentucky knocked out Kansas early, Wisconsin knocked out Florida, and Texas upset North Carolina. Ohio State and Florida were the only two number one seeds to make the Elite Eight, and only Ohio State moved on to the Final Four. Upset teams to look out for early include Gonzaga (beat UCLA), and Kentucky who beat both Kansas and Virginia Tech.
The Final Four: Wisconsin beats Pittsburgh 90-72 and Texas (behind Kevin Durant who averages 27.5 ppg throughout the tournament) topples Ohio State
The Finals: It's Durant and Texas all the way as they annihilate Wisconsin 87-64. Is Durant the next Carmelo Anthony, a freshman who leads his team to a title and then bolts to the NBA? We'll find out next year if he's on the cover of March Madness 08.
The Tournament: Arizona beats Florida in the second round to start off a string of upsets including Xavier over Ohio State and Texas Tech over both Georgetown and Vanderbilt as Bobby Knight and crew advance to the Elite Eight. Oregon and Maryland also play strong while Kansas and North Carolina are the two number one seeds still standing when 65 melts down to 4.
The Final Four: Maryland pulls the upset over Kansas 64-61 while North Carolina takes out Texas A&M 77-73. Those Carolina kids are growing up before our eyes and with every game they play, they're looking more and more fierce, even in polygons.
The Finals: North Carolina, led by Tyler Hansbrough's 18.5 ppg in the tournament, defeat Maryland 83-80 in the finals to win the national championship. Ty Lawson also has a huge tournament, utilizing that 94 speed to lead the break and his team to the title.
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