The 2005 Brackets have been announced. My breakdown of each region can be found at my SPORTZ NCAA TOURNAMENT HEADQUARTERS. Here is my overall take on the tourny bracket.
THE NUMBER ONE SEEDS
No surprise with Illinois or North Carolina. Duke earned their top seed by winning the ACC tournament [however, dodging Wake Forest and North Carolina in the process] along with other teams losing. However, I was fairly surprised that Washington gained the last #1 seed. Nothing against the Huskies....but I figured that either Wake Forest or Oklahoma State would get it. Coming into the week, Washington was ranked 14th in the AP poll...yet jumped to the 4th best team in a week by, basically, winning one game [the Pac-10 finale against Arizona]? I mean, Louisville, Gonzaga and Oklahoma State, who were ranked higher, won their conference tournaments as well. Sure, RPI ratings did hold weight and UW is rated #3. But Kansas, despite it's losses, has been at or near the top RPI rating all season long! And Wake Forest was rated 2nd!! It isn't THAT big of an issue since both Wake and Washington were placed in the same regional.
WHO GOT SCREWED?
Louisville. I think they were completely screwed. How can they be a #4 seed?? How?? How?? How??? Heck, they came into Tournament Week ranked #6 in the AP poll. They won the Conference USA tournament [in which they faced only tourny bound UAB].
WHO GOT A NICE LIFT?
WHO GOT LEFT OUT?
I know Dickie and Digger are crying about Notre Dame [I mean, Digger only coached there and Dickie V's kids go there]....but the only team that I had in there that didn't go was Buffalo. I do agree with Dick Vitale that the MAC was overlooked. But, instead of Miami-OH...I would have put Buffalo in there.
WHO SHOULDN'T BE THERE?
Honestly, everyone in the tournament should be there. The only team that I didn't have in there was Northern Iowa...but I had them right behind UAB and Buffalo in my Bracketology.
THE COMMITTEE'S WORST FOLLY
I thought the entire point of these pods was to place teams closer to home? They didn't do a good job really. Yes, Illinois, UNC, Duke and Washington got what they wanted. But how does #2 Wake Forest go to Cleveland and not Nashville???? How are Pittsburgh and Nevada both #9 seeds....yet Pitt goes to Boise and Nevada goes to Indianapolis??
BEST POD RACE #1
Charlotte. Half of the people there will be wearing Duke blue....the other half, Carolina blue. Both Duke and North Carolina will invade Charlotte Coliseum this weekend....yet they won't get to play each other. I will tell you this. Delaware State and Oakland/Alabama A&M won't believe how many fans they'll have at their games!
BEST POD RACE #2
How about the Indianapolis pod in the Austin Region? You have Kentucky playing Eastern Kentucky. EKU is coached by former Kentucky Wildcat Travis Ford and will be looking to knock off his alma mater. In the other game it is Cincinnati vs Iowa. Iowa has played very well of late. But, if Cincinnati advances to play Kentucky....it will be a battle that many people in the Cincinnati metro area have been waiting a looooong time for.
MY FINAL FOUR PICKS AT A GLANCE
I'm typing this before I get too in depth with the tournament....so I may change my tune later tonight. But, at a glance....I have Oklahoma State coming out of the Chicago Region. I think they have the defense and toughness to match Illinois'. I have Syracuse coming out of the Austin Region. Coming into the season, Syracuse was the much better team that Duke or Kentucky...and they've played like it lately. I think that Kentucky is overrated [they are really inexperienced] and Duke is foul trouble to Williams or a Redick off night away from getting upset somewhere. Syracuse is the most steady team. I have Wake Forest coming out of the Albuquerque Region. They are the best team in that region and should be the #1. It is a shame that the fact that Chris Paul's suspension, in essence, cost the Deacs a top seed...and that kind of motivation could carry them along. For the Syracuse Region....I wrote this Sunday Night..."I have Kansas coming out of the Syracuse Region. My heart and mind say North Carolina. But Kansas has two things going for them in a matchup with UNC. First, they have the size and quickness to match up with the Heels. They should because Roy Williams recruited them. And that brings me to the second point. A UNC-KU game would really be emotional to both Roy Williams and the Kansas kids. And I think that fact will lift them over the Heels." I've changed my mind. North Carolina will come out of the Syracuse bracket. I don't think Kansas will get past UConn...and I think UNC can get past the Huskies.