» By DANIEL NEWTON – firstname.lastname@example.org
PICK: Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks have arguably the best 1-2 combination in the post with double-double machine Thomas Robinson and defense specialist Jeff Withey.
Combine that with guard Tyshawn Taylor who played like an All-American in conference play, and you have a balanced attack that will be unstoppable. The Jayhawks are paired in the same bracket as North Carolina, but expect them to handle the Tar Heels with their high-pressured defense and superior post play.
DARKHORSE: Murray State Racers. Going 30-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference may not seem like a big accomplishment, but remember who the runner-up has been the last two years: The Butler Bulldogs, a mid-major team who proved that fundamentals and teamwork can get you places.
Last year’s run by VCU should be further evidence of this. Murray State has a great point guard in Isaiah Canaan, but they have made their reputation this year by showing up to every game, playing to their potential and playing well as a team.
CINDERELLA: Harvard Crimson. Playing in their first tournament in over 50 years, look for the winner of the Ivy League to possibly make a run. Paired up with Vanderbilt in the first round, a team known for choking in the tournament, could be an advantage for Harvard. Plus the possibility of playing Wisconsin in the second round, a team known for a slower pace of play, may play right into Harvard’s hands.
Should they meet Syracuse in the sweet 16, do not be surprised if they slow the tempo of the game and break the Syracuse zone with quality outside shooting. Harvard has already defeated Florida State, the ACC tournament champs who just beat Duke and North Carolina on consecutive days earlier this year. They have proved they can show up for the big games. TAS