The NCAA Tournament: One Man’s Bracket

By Tony McClean
Updated: March 15, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Finally, no more Barry Bonds exposes. No more cat fights between “Starbury” and Larry Brown. No more updates on Pedro’s toe. It’s finally the time for two of the best words in college sports: March Madness.

Yeah, I know Cincy should be in the dance, Syracuse and Tennessee are seeded too high, and Billy Packer can be a pompous ass, but you and I both know where we’ll be around 12:30 Eastern time Thursday.
For the second straight year, BASN has asked yours truly to bear his soul (and my NCAA bracket) for your humble perusal. As some of you can attest from my weekly NFL picks, I have no shame.
Last year, our Final Four was Illinois, Wake Forest, UConn, and Oklahoma with the Illini defeating UConn in the title game. Well, at least we had one of the finalists. If we can improve a bit on last year, the BASN editors will allow me to have solid foods until the football season starts.
So, lets go!
First Round Upsets
(9) UNC-Wilmington over (8) George Washington: Karl Hobbs has done a great job with GW, but losing C Pops Mensah-Bonsu will be too much to overcome.
(12) Texas A&M over (5) Syracuse: The Orangemen squeezed all they could to get here, but I think they get squeezed back by the Aggies.
(1) Duke over (4) LSU; (7) California over (3) Iowa.
Duke over California: The Pac-10 team that everyone keeps forgetting about will give the Dukies a good battle, but Coach K will find a way to win this. It’s Duke’s way of breaking the “curse” of Jason Kidd, who helped the Bears eliminate the Devils a few years back..
First Round Upsets
(9) Bucknell over (8) Arkansas: The Bison won’t sneak up on folks like last year. They don’t need to this time — they’re just that good.
(12) Kent State over (5) Pittsburgh: I just didn’t like the way Pitt ended the regular season (1-3 in last 4 games).
(1) Memphis over (12) Kent State; (6) Indiana over (2) UCLA.
Indiana over Memphis: There’s always an unexpected team at the NCAA ball. Mike Davis gets out of Dodge with a trip to the Final Four
First Round Upsets
(9) UAB over (8) Kentucky: It pains me to pick against Tubby Smith, a good tournament coach. But the Wildcats have been too inconsistent this season.
(10) Seton Hall over (7) Wichita State: Despite limping down the the stretch (SHU: 2-4 in last 6), I think the Pirates match up well against the Shockers.
(1) UConn over (5) Washington; (3) North Carolina over (10) Seton Hall.
North Carolina over UConn: This will be one of the best games of the tournament. Especially since the champs will get a chance to defend their crown.
First Round Upsets
(9) Wisconsin over (8) Arkansas: It really wasn’t my design to pick all of the nine seeds to win. I think it shows just how balanced this year’s field is.
(1) Villanova over (4) Boston College; (7) Georgetown over (6) Oklahoma.
Georgetown over Villanova: Welcome to Back To The Future, Part One. Somewhere in Houston, Patrick Ewing will grab a cold one and say “Now I Can Die In Peace”.
UNC over Georgetown: Back To The Future, Part Two (That was quick, huh??). Only this time, Freddie Brown doesn’t throw the damn ball to James Worthy (No, I’m not still bitter).
Duke over Indiana: Mr. Davis’ excellent adventure ends after the Hoosiers scare the hell out of the Devils.
UNC over Duke: A great tournament ends with a great rubber match. The Williams gang will show that their win at Cameron wasn’t a fluke.