2009 NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
This regional plays out well for Louisville, who faces Morehead State in the first round, and the winner of Ohio State/Siena in the second round. The fact the games are in Dayton, could give some assistance to Ohio State who should be able to push past the Saints in the opener, but in the end the Cardinals will be too strong for the Buckeyes, as they advance to the Sweet 16. Also reaching the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis, will be Wake Forest was should have no problem beating Cleveland State, before facing Utah in the second round after the Utes bounce Arizona, the least deserving team in the tournament. In the bottom half of the draw, Michigan State should cruise to the Sweet 16 playing in Minneapolis, as they face Robert Morris and Boston College, who will knock off USC in the 7-10 match up. The Trojans who needed to win the Pac 10 Tournament to reach the Big Dance will symbolize the Pac 10 struggles as that conference makes a rapid exit from the tournament. Elsewhere West Virginia is the region's spoiler as they will continue their solid play from the Big East Tourney, by reaching the Sweet 16, over North Dakota State who will deliver the first rounds biggest upset when they knock off defending champion Kansas, as their fans travel the short trip from Fargo to Minneapolis.
Regionals @ Indianapolis, IN
Louisville, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Michigan State
Wake Forest should provide the biggest road block to the Cardinals march to Detroit, as they have shown they are capable of beating the best teams in the country as shown by their upset wins over Duke and North Carolina during the season. While the Mountaineers of West Virginia will make it an all Big Regional Final, by ending the Spartans dreams of playing the Final Four in Motown. In the end it will be Louisville as the best team in the Big East all season continues their quiet efficiency by reaching the Final Four.
The focus here is on the potential match up of #1 seed UConn and #2 Memphis in the regional finals, as both teams feel they deserved top seeds, and feel they can potential win the entire tournament. You know so many times when a match up is assumed at the start of the tournament it just never happens as one or both lose on the road to the Elite Eight. That will be the case this time, as Maryland stuns Memphis is a second round match up in Kansas City, as Maryland should have no problem beating back Cal. Elsewhere look for form to hold out as Missouri and Marquette will waltz trough their first round games, before meeting in the second round in Boise, there it will be the Tigers who show their claws as they continue to roll off their Big XII Tournament Championship. While in the top half of the draw UConn will reach the Sweet 16, unlike Memphis, as they should easily beat Texas A&M, while Purdue beats Northern Iowa on the way to beating Washington in the second round, as all Pac 10 teams will be eliminated before the first weekend is over.
Regionals @ Glenndale, AZ
UConn, Purdue, Missouri, Maryland
In the Sweet 16 round, UConn will finally feel the loss of Jerome Dyson, as Prudue ends the Huskies dreams of repeating the Women's/Men's double, as the Lady Huskies are a virtual lock to win the Women's Final Four. Meanwhile the Terrapins Cinderella dreams come to an end as the Missouri Tigers continue to roll, reaching the Elite Eight, as they only region where both the top seeds are eliminated bring us a great finals of Missouri against Purdue. This is where the Tigers will shine, as the Big XII is a better overall league then the Big 10, and Missouri by winning their Conference Tournament are already tested, as they reach the Final Four.
This is Pittsburgh's region to lose as the Panthers who have long been a serious contender, enter the tournament with a top seed. Look for these Panthers to get hot fast as their smothering defense should crush East Tennessee State and Tennessee on the way to the Sweet 16. Meanwhile Florida State, who stunned North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, continues to play well reaching Boston by beating a tough Wisconsin team and Portland State, who will stun Xavier in the first round. UCLA should be able to save the Pac 10 from a complete embarrassment in the first round, but in the end they won't be able to get past Villanova, who will be playing the first two rounds at home in Philadelphia. Speaking about playing at home look for the Dukies, to rule Greensboro as they waltz past Binghamton and Minnesota, after the Gophers led by Tubby Smith beats Texas in the 7-10 game.
Regionals @ Boston, MA
Pittsburgh, Florida State, Villanova, Duke
Unlike the Western Regional where a potential 1 vs. 2 match up has fans salivating only to be disappointed the Blue Devils and Panthers should have no problem reaching their final, as both Florida State, and Villanova do not match up well with either of the top two teams. This is where the all eyes will be in the Elite Eight, as Duke and Pittsburgh should be a great game. In the end its Pitt's turn as they final reach the Final Four by beating Duke in a close defensive battle in Boston.
At the start of the season, people seriously were asking seriously if North Carolina could go undefeated. While the Tar Heels, did suffer four losses they are still the overwhelming favorite of this tournament, as Tyler Hansbrough in his senior season has Detroit or Bust written across his forehead. Look for Carolina Blue to reach the Sweet 16 easily as neither Radford or LSU should provide any serious challenge in the first two rounds in Greensboro. Gonzaga, who was once the Cinderelle draling in the tournament, themselves will taste the bitter sting of defeat was Western Kentucky gets back to back upset wins over Illinois and the Zags to reach the Sweet 16. Arizona State will be another Pac-10 bust as they get tripped up by Temple in the first round, as Syracuse continues their strong play by reaching the Sweet 16. Elsewhere Clemson, will make Michigan's first visit to the Tournament in a decade as the Wolverinees go home after the first round, while Oklahoma reaches the Sweet 16 by beating Clemson and Morgan State.
Regionals @ Memphis, TN
North Carolina, Western Kentucky, Syracuse, Oklahoma
Ty Lawson's toe may limit him in the first two rounds, but by the Sweet 16 he should be back in the Tar Heels lineup as Midnight strikes for the Cinderella Hill Toppers, elsewhere Syracuse, and the Oklahoma battle in what could be the best game of the Sweet 16. Look for the Orange to find a way to win another overtime game, as Syracuse who beat UConn in a classic six overtime game, continues their manic March by reaching the Elite Eight. However, in the end it's North Carolina, as the team who entered the season as the prohibitive favorite reaches the Final Four.
Final Four-Detroit, Ml
Louisville, Missouri, Pittsburgh, North Carolina
With three number one seeds in the Final Four, Missouri will seem like the odd team out and will be the first team out, as they will see their run come to an end against Louisville, as Rick Pitino leading his third different team to the Final Four reaches the Final game with a solid win over the Tigers. In the other semifinal, look for the Tar Heels to continue their mission to cut down the nets as they survive a tight battle against the Panthers stifling defense. In the Final it will be Tyler Hansborugh and Roy Williams cutting down the nets as Carolina's big man in the middle give the Tar Heels the long anticipated one shining moment in Detroit.
Predictions Made March 19, 2009 at 12:00 AM ET