Did you hear?
The NCAA Tournament started last night.
Oakland (from Michigan, not California) defeated Alabama A&M 79-69 in the Opening Round Game, which pits the 64th and 65th best teams in the tournament against each other. Woo hoo, right?
Not so much.
However, it does mean that it's arrived. The NCAA Tournament is here. March Madness. We'll fill out brackets, make expert analysis at the water cooler, and inevitably be wrong the whole time. But that's OK, it's fun.
Speaking of not-so-expert-analysis, I'm prepared to give mine. But first, you need to see a bracket. OK, now I start.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions of Sam do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the world at large or of any sane person. Therefore, those people whose opinions match Sam's are probably insane. Maybe not, but probably.
Round 1 winners: Illinois, Nevada, Alabama, BC, LSU, Arizona, S. Illinois, Oklahoma State
Note: Alabama will beat Wisconsin - Milwaukee, no matter what everyone thinks. They have the most talented roster of the 5-seeds, and would have been a four had they beaten Florida in the SEC Tournament. Pick another 12 to beat a 5, not this one. (Yes, I am an Alabama fan. I do see Milwaukee as a good team. It will be a good game, but Alabama should win.)
Round 2: Illinois, Alabama, Arizona, Oklahoma State
Sweet 16: Illinois, Oklahoma State
Region Champion: Illinois
Round 1: Washington, Pacific, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Wake Forest
Round 2: Washington, Georgia Tech, Gonzaga, Wake Forest
Sweet 16: Georgia Tech, Gonzaga
Note: Tech and Gonzaga? Yes, that's right. Georgia Tech is playing tremendous basketball right now, and Wake Forest isn't. That's a recipe for two minor upsets, and for our first one-seed to fall. Sorry Washington. I just don't buy the Pac-10 as a power conference, and I see them as a two or three seed, not a one. Therefore, like Stanford last year, it will be an early exit for the Pac-10 champ.
Region Champion: Gonzaga
Round 1: UNC, Minnesota, New Mexico, Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas, NC State, UConn
Note: New Mexico will beat Villanova. Book it.
Round 2: UNC, Florida, Kansas, UConn
Sweet 16: UNC, UConn
Region Champion: UNC
Round 1: Duke, Stanford, Michigan St, Syracuse, Utah, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kentucky
Round 2: Duke, Syracuse, Utah, Kentucky
Sweet 16: Duke, Kentucky
Region Champion: Duke
Illinois def. Gonzaga
Duke def. North Carolina
Illinois def. Duke
So there you have it. Illinois will be your NCAA Champion. Or not. It's just my opinion. And I'm insane, remember?