Hi, I'm the Benster. Look, let me set it out for you. You don't need Joe Lunardi. Bracketologists? Psssh. If you've arrived here, you know what's coming.
That's right, old dude. I can do way more than pick college football, noob. Allow me to demonstrate my mad basketball picking skillz, because it's time for. . . BENSTEROLOGY!!!!!
Well, thanks for the warning.
You have a lot of wise guy remarks for a guy who needs to buy his Metamucil by the carload. But I'll let you offer your opinions, too, Decrepit. Because I need something to mock. Besides Tubby Smith, that is.
What's wrong with Tubby, young fella?
Somehow the Gophers are sitting at home. Meanwhile, Dan Freaking Monson has led Long Beach State to the NIT. If you can't even get invited to the Not Invited Tournament, you are in danger of being on the C-List.
C as in Crappy, of course!
Glad I asked.
I know I have to explain many, many things to you, Mr. Short-Term Memory Guy! But for now, it's time to pick some tournament stuff. Watch me work.
East Regional: I probably will never be welcome in the State of Ohio after this, but Ohio State will NOT make it to the Final Four. Yes, I said it. Deal with it. When I look at this bracket, I see teams that are dangerous, and Ohio State is very beatable. I recommend playing a matchup zone against Jared Sullinger to shut off his passing lanes. He likes to kick it out to the 3-point shooters, like Jon Diebler and William Buford. However shooters need to have the ball. So is there a team that can deny the shooters the ball? Yes. Do not overlook North Carolina, which has athletes galore, especially young Harrison Barnes, who somehow found his way out of Iowa and ended up in Carolina. What's up with that? I'm looking at you, Fran McCaffrey! I would also keep an eye out for Princeton, which could knock out Kentucky right away. My pick for the Final Four is the team with the masterful matchup zone that can take out Ohio State -- SYRACUSE.
One way that Ohio State could lose, in my view -- if they get in foul trouble in some game. They have very little depth beyond the 7 guys they play. All 7 guys are pretty good, though. I'm not so impressed with Syracuse myself, as they struggled down the stretch, but Carolina could be a tough out. My beloved Marquette Golden Eagles are here, but they'll have a tough time getting past the first weekend. I'm going with Ohio State.
West Regional: I find the West interesting because San Diego State is a pretty good team with something to prove. If the Aztecs get on a run, look out. However, San Diego State plays in the Mountain West, which is not a powerhouse conference by any means. In fact the Mountain West was very top heavy, with San Diego State, BYU and UNLV and not much else. So it's tough to know if San Diego State is the real deal or not. I've only seen them on television once and they were not as impressive as they seem on the ESPN highlights. I have to go with UCONN. They ran the gauntlet in the Big East tournament last week and if they aren't completely worn out from that experience, they are battle tested. So my pick is: UCONN!
Not much to say here. The most interesting team to me is Tennessee, which is enormously talented and dysfunctional as Bruce Pearl's godawful orange sport coat. They could get hot and really do some damage. I think Texas and Arizona are overrated, so my guess it that it will be between UConn and the Dukies. Duke is hard to pick against in the context, so I'll go with Duke. But I'm not confident about it.
Southwest Region: Let's give a shout-out to my favorite team in the tournament, the mighty Peacocks of St. Peter's College. They are the runaway winners of the wimpy mascot award and they won't be around long, because Boilermaker Pete holds the Hammer of the Gods! Whether that means that Purdue will win the region is another matter, though. I would keep an eye out for the Richmond Spiders, who have perfected the art of the early-round upset and have a less-than dominant Vanderbilt squad on the docket. Even though the Morris twins are two of a kind, I'm not sure that Kansas will be able to get through the region, because I predict the winner to be PURDUE. The Boilers have senior leadership, excellent coaching and the Hammer of the Gods! How are you going to stop that?
I think Kansas is overrated and I'm not convinced they have the guards to get to the Final Four. Notre Dame? Well, I oppose them on general principle. Purdue is not a bad pick for this region, but my thought is that the best team in the region is Louisville. Preston Knowles is an outstanding guard and they were very tough down the stretch. Pitino obviously has been there before, too. I think athleticism and depth will tell the tale here, so I'm going with Louisville.
Southeast Region: You have to believe in the Gospel according to Jimmer. That's right, it's Jimmer Fredette, the guy with the coolest/dorkiest name ever. I'm just not sure which. But he's got game, baby! Jimmer could score on anyone, even though he's not allowed to because of the BYU honor code. Did I say that? Yeah, I did. I'm 15 years old and my mind just works that way now. Deal with it. Anyway, back to basketball. I don't know that Jimmer and the rest of his BYU teammates have enough mojo to get through this region, because they have a tough road, beginning with mighty Wofford! We love us some Wofford around here, because they are a fun team filled with Minnesota dudes (Tubby? Where are you, Tubby? Earth to Tubby? Tubby, please pick up the white courtesy phone) and we love watching small schools get schooled. I'm probably going to get accused of favoritism for this pick, but I'm going with the BADGERS! They have had a few hiccups down the stretch, but this is a winnable region and no one should scare them after beating Ohio State. So yeah. I like the BADGERS. And I hope some day to have hair even half as epic as my boy Mike Brusewitz.
Yeah, I can see the love for Brusewitz's hair -- he's got that Simply Red/Johnny Whitaker thing going. And I think the Badgers do have a chance, since I'm not convinced that Pittsburgh is that good. But I have a feeling that there's a deep seed that could win this region. The question is whether it's Old Dominion, or Gonzaga, or Utah State. I think all three will win their first round games and it's possible that one of them could do much, much more. Then again, lurking on the other side of the bracket is underachieving Michigan State, which always seems to play well when they don't run into George Mason in the first round. In other words, I'm torn. I just can't pick the Badgers, because they are prone to a horrible shooting game that would doom them. So I'm gonna guess Pittsburgh, although my best guess for a dark horse is Old Dominion and I would not be surprised if they beat Pittsburgh in the round of 16.
So let's recap our picks.
Benster says: Syracuse, UConn, Purdue and Wisconsin
Decrepit says: Ohio State, Duke, Louisville and Pittsburgh
If you want to play against us, feel free to offer your lame commentary in the comments section. Just know that you are playing for second place as the Benster will rule. Ben out!