A few brief explanations before you see the real goods:
EAST–I was back and forth with Buzz Williams having lots of familiarity with Wisconsin, when he was the coach of Marquette. But somehow, Wisconsin runs a more fluid offense with Ethan Happ, Bronson Koenig, and Nigel Hayes–I cannot see VT pulling this game out.
The USC in my bracket is for the University of South Carolina, not the USC residing in Lipstick City, Los Angeles. However, I do have the real Men of Troy winning their Opening Round contest on Wednesday night against Providence.
WEST- For Northwestern, self-billed simply as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team”, it is rather poetic justice that they will be playing on the same floor that “His Airness”, Michael Jordan hit his last shot as a member of the Chicago Bulls when his 19 foot jumper sailed through the outstretched arms of Byron Russell and the Utah Jazz in June 1998. Wonder what type of conversation that former coaches Homer Drew and Doug Collins will share prior to tip-off? Just fyi–nationally speaking, you might see the Wildcats commonly abbreviated as simply NU. However, I think NW should clear up a lot of confusion–at least IMHO.
The final games I was jockeying back-and-forth in my mind and after analyzing many key statistics found on ESPN, CBSSports.com, and SportingNews.com, I think “Dunk City” should get survive against the length and athleticism of Florida State in what should be a rather frenetic atmosphere in Orlando.
Meanwhile, my only other double digit Upset Specials resides in the Midwest Region R at the Sacramento pod. Rhode Island comes in hot and without Creighton having one of their key players injured, the Rams will probably run roughshod over the hapless Blue Jays similar to what they did to VCU in the Atlantic 10 final on Sunday.
Finally, in the South at Lucas Oil Stadium in the Indianapolis pod. Wichita State played like a team on a mission most of the season, and after skating by MVC rival Illinois State twice, they should be able to shoot their way past Dayton. A few years ago, Dayton seemed to have the edge on paper against Ohio State but Thad Matta’s game plan was played to near perfection and the first game of the day in the Buffalo pod resulted in a upset.
And so, without further adieu, presenting Big Z’s 2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket: