Bracket Breakdown: Kyle Isaacs’ edition
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 12:03
The moment after CBS finishes announcing the field for the NCAA Tournament, people across the nation offer their “analyses” of the entire bracket. Before you begin to worry, I have no plans of bombarding you with my thoughts and opinions. Rather, I am going to provide you with information on the various teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. [Note: the “Tournament Darling” is simply a quality team that many casual fans at Xavier can cheer on.]
- Fun Fact: The South Region includes the three teams from last season’s Final Four that made the 2012 Tournament [Kentucky, Connecticut, and VCU.]
- Top Seeds: Kentucky Wildcats and Duke Blue Devils. Kentucky has been one of the top teams all season and is one of the most popular picks to win the national title. Duke is very talented but is renowned for its struggles in the opening rounds of the tournament (except for the 2010 tournament).
- Surprise Teams: Connecticut Huskies and Indiana Hoosiers. Though the Huskies were supposed to continue their success after last year’s National Title, they struggled throughout the season and ended up squeezing into the field. On the other hand, few “experts” expected much from Indiana, but they shocked everyone throughout the season on their way to earning a No. 4 seed.
- “Tournament Darling”: Xavier Musketeers. Xavier faces Notre Dame in the South region, marking the second straight season that the Musketeers are in the same region as the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. With traditional blueblood powers like Kentucky, Duke, Connecticut and Indiana, the South region provides a daunting task for the Musketeers in their quest for the school’s first Final Four.
- Fun Fact: Davidson College must travel 2,800 miles to play its first round game against Louisville in Portland, Ore.
- Top Seeds: Michigan State Spartans and Missouri Tigers. The Spartans are led by do-everything senior Draymond Green and head coach Tom Izzo, who has taken the Spartans to the Final Four five times. The Missouri Tigers are a guard-oriented team that can create offense in a hurry and will be a difficult opponent for any team they face.
- Surprise Team: Murray State Racers. The Racers lost only one game all season on their way to a No. 6 seed, but the verdict is still out on whether this team can make a solid run in the tourney to complement their impressive regular season.
- “Tournament Darling”: New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos won their third Mountain West Conference title in three years but are looking to break through to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.
- Fun Fact: The Harvard Crimson is making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1946.
- Top Seeds: Syracuse Orange and Ohio State Buckeyes. Syracuse has incredible talent, has sat atop the polls all season and is another favorite to challenge for the title. Ohio State is still a young team that struggled down the stretch but if they start playing well, they could provide a tough challenge to any team.
- Surprise Team: Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles took down Duke and North Carolina four times this season on their way to an ACC Tournament title. Their impressive season landed them a No. 3 seed in the East region.
- “Tournament Darling”: Cincinnati Bearcats. Just kidding.
- Fun Fact: Kansas University currently has the most consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, making the field for the 22nd straight time.
- Top Seeds: North Carolina Tarheels and Kansas Jayhawks. The Tarheels boast one of the most talented rosters in the nation with sophomore Harrison Barnes and junior John Henson and have been rolling as of late. With Player of the Year candidate junior Thomas Robinson and the Sweet 16 in nearby St. Louis, Kansas is poised to make a deep run into the tournament.
- Surprise Team: Creighton Blue Jays. The Blue Jays took the nation by storm, led by the coach’s son Doug McDermott, one of the leading scorers in the nation. Their impressive season might be doomed thanks to a potential second round matchup with North Carolina.
- “Tournament Darling”: Temple Owls. The Owls, who are one of four Atlantic 10 teams to make the tournament, are the highest ranked team in our conference. While this is one of the last seasons that Temple is in the A-10, it is great to see fellow conference teams excel in the “Big Dance.”