17 March 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament: First Four Predictions

The 2014 NCAA Tournament kicks off on Tuesday night in Dayton with the First Four. Now we all know that calling this the first round of the tournament is ridiculous, but alas that is the world we live in. We have got four games over two nights with eight teams playing a de facto play-in games, and we have seen teams play in these games and then go on a run. But first, they have to win on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Here are my 2014 First Four predictions.

Bracket

Tuesday, March 18th
#16 Mount St. Mary's vs. #16 Albany - truTV, 6:30
A couple of medium seeds that won their conference tournaments, neither of which are really all that good, but both played well enough down the stretch to get to the NCAA's. It should be an interesting matchup considering the Great Danes are bad offensively but solid defensively, while the Mountaineers are solid offensively but atrocious on defense, ranking 334th in the country in points allowed. I think that their shoddy defense will be a key reason why Albany will advance.
Pick: Albany

#12 Xavier vs. #12 NC State - truTV, 9:00
I think the committee made a mistake in putting NC State into the tournament as I felt that their resume was not all that strong, with perhaps Mike Krzyzewski's comments on ACC bubble teams making a difference.  Beyond that I don't think they are that good, they will have to play a Musketeers squad that not only is strong offensively, but will be playing what is essentially a home game. Give me Xavier.
Pick: Xavier

Wednesday, March 19th
#16 Texas Southern vs. #16 Cal Poly - truTV, 6:30
The Mustangs are certainly the worst team involved in March Madness. After all, they were only the seventh seed in their conference tournament and come to Dayton with a hearty 13-19 record. By all accounts, Texas Southern, with a tournament winning coach in Mike Davis, should win this game. But I think that a Cal Poly team that is on a roll will win.
Pick: Cal Poly

#11 Tennessee vs. #11 Iowa - truTV, 9:00
Tennessee is an underrated club that has the ability to make some waves in this tournament. They can score well, they play strong defense and they are strong and physical on the interior. They will get a favorable matchup in an Iowa team that is sinking like a lead balloon having lost six of their last seven with the sole winner coming against a mediocre Purdue club at home. The Vols will move on.
Pick: Tennessee

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