(SCSD now has multiple daily posts. Don't miss the others below.)
Hey dudes and dudettes: did you wake up this morning and find yourself without a bracket competition? Dying to get into a $10 pool? Let me know, there's still time. Send an e-mail to shane.spr8 at gmail.com, and we'll hook you up. 50 people in so far, big cash to be had.
Let's go west, young men. First, the top:
No huge surprises here, right? The toughest pick here was Gonzaga-FSU. I have no delusions about the ACC being a strong conference, but the Zags finished their season with a loss to St. Mary's, and back when Duke played them they looked pretty bad. It was tempting to pick Florida State, but in the end Mark Few has a lot of tourney experience, and I think their experience and discipline will result in a close win. I just have that gut feeling that FSU will have long periods where they can't score. Aaaahhh the more I talk about this game the more I want to pick them. Crap. Time to shut up.
In the second round, I have a strong Butler team kicking ass against Vandy and their weak SEC game, while Cuse annihilates Gonzaga and people start going "whoa, I forgot how good Syracuse is. I wish I didn't pick Butler to beat them in the Sweet 16."
In the bottom half, I think Minnesota over Xavier is a no-brainer. Which isn't to say that it will definitely happen, but why would you pick X? Sure, they're a solid-ish A-10 team, but Minnesota finished with a 7-2 run in a really tough conference. As every talking head on ESPN says, they 'pass the eye test.' Maybe I'm not respecting the A-10 enough, and if that's the case I'll eat crow, but I think this sets up as a Gopher win.
My other big surprise here is BYU over K-State in round 2. Back in my college football prediction glory days, I came up with a rule that you don't pick against schools that are either very religious or affiliated with the military unless you know they're totally outmatched. Those teams will be completely disciplined, if nothing else. And I don't think K-State outmatches BYU; they had 3 chances to look good against Kansas. On the road, they stunk. On a neutral floor, they stunk. And at home, they stunk less but still lost. They also lost to Oklahoma State and Iowa State at home. The Cougars, meanwhile, had some nice road wins over tournament teams, and all their losses were fairly close. They may get beat, but you know they won't quit. I'm all over this upset.
East is next.