By JIMMY D / Jimmy looks to make racket in his bracket | Jimmy's archive
After winning his bracket contest two years running, Jimmy feels amply equipped to advise those college basketball newbies on how to best fill out that game sheet circulating around your office.
We’ll avoid the obvious stuff and handicap some of the tougher pairings.
The Big Ten wasn’t nearly as strong as years past, but Indiana boasted both the conference’s top scorer (freshman Eric Gordon) and its Player of the Year (senior D.J. White). The East’s No. 8 seed is super-talented, but also super-erratic and had the late-season coaching change debacle thrown into the mix.
Jimmy sees them handling Arkansas and giving UNC all it can handle in the second round.
There is a potential upset brewing with No. 10 Jacksonville State. They can be deadly from downtown and earned a tourney bid despite an early loss in the Sun Belt playdowns. They face a determined and well-coached Butler team that could win a couple of games, but their lack of athleticism makes them an upset possibility.
Safest non-obvious pick? No. 4 Washington State over No. 13 Winthrop.
No. 9 Kent State will handle undersized No. 8 UNLV. The Golden Flashes are fun to watch, but often running wildly out of control (more turnovers than assists on the season). They will boast a size and talent edge on Vegas and will win here.
Jimmy is nervous of USC at No. 6 here and he doesn’t feel that super-freshman O.J. Mayo will carry the Trojans past Kansas State, who boast possible No. 1 overall NBA pick Michael Beasley. Instead, we see unheralded Taj Gibson leading USC to the second round.
And for those looking for upsets, Jimmy has Davidson, led by Stephen Curry, at No. 10 taking out Gonzaga.
Safest non-obvious pick? No. 4 Vanderbilt over No. 13 Siena. * Ooops!
Mississippi State will advance as the No. 8 seed, led by junior Jamont Gordon. The Bulldogs play tenacious defense and boast shot-blocking stud Jarvis Varnado. They face Oregon, led by twirpy long bomber Tajuan Porter. Jimmy has the Bulldogs advancing here before getting wacked by Memphis in the second round.
If you believe in Madness pedigree at this time of year, you have an upset possibility in No. 11 Kentucky against No. 6 Marquette, which has lost in the first round the previous two Marches.
Another Jimmy upset call (although they failed to win the last time Jimmy picked them) is St. Mary’s at No. 10 over No. 7 Miami. While the Hurricanes upset Duke this, Jimmy was not impressed with them.
Safest non-obvious pick? No. 4 Pitt over No. 13 Oral Roberts.
Drake boasted a 21-game win streak this year and gets a favorable matchup with Western Kentucky. Jimmy has the Bulldogs advancing to the round of 16 by beating UConn (who will easily dispatch overmatched San Diego). * Oops.
The SEC champion is only a 14 seed? Yup, Georgia reeled off four straight upsets and withstood the tornadoes thrashing around Atlanta on the weekend to win the conference title. That’s the same crown Florida won the past two seasons en route to the national title.
But Georgia faces a tough and balanced Xavier team at No. 3 and Jimmy has the Musketeers advancing to the round of 16. For upset specialists, Jimmy sends Duke packing with West Virginia advancing in a surprise. * Bingo.
Safest non-obvious pick? No. 5 Drake over No. 12 Western Kentucky. * Oops.
Fives come alive?
It seems every year there is a No. 5 seed or two that falls in the first round to a mid-major No. 12. Is Notre Dame in danger against upset specialists George Mason? The Irish can rain three-pointers, but if they go cold, GMU could call on their 2005 Final Four Cinderella run for inspiration. The Irish were only favored by 6.5 points.
Clemson was Jimmy’s pick to cause trouble in the ACC tournament and they knocked off Duke, before losing to UNC in the final. In the Midwest, Jimmy sees them clobbering a youthful Villanova team (that will do more damage next year).
Michigan State is another supremely talented team that has failed to live up to the hype. They could be in trouble against No. 12 Temple, which has won seven straight.
Drake is the worst kind of opponent for Western Kentucky, a surprise winner in the Sun Belt and No. 12 seed in the West. Jimmy sees Drake winning easily here.
Temple is the best chance for a No. 12 advancing.
East – North Carolina, Washington State, Louisville, Tennessee
Midwest – Kansas, Clemson, USC, Georgetown
South – Memphis, Pitt, Texas, Marquette
West – UCLA, Drake, Xavier, West Virginia
Stay busy, stay lucky.