I watched the play-in game last night (and picked it correctly). North Carolina will kill Oakland. Expect career highs for Quentin Thomas across the board.
Iowa State is awfully mediocre and still clearly better than Minnesota. IOWA STATE +1.
I'm glad Villanova got paired against a good four seed. Florida's presence diminishes the Wildcats chances of advancing deep in the tournament. I see the prospects of this game as follows: Villanova wins by 1-10 points: 40%; Villanova wins by 11+ points: 25%; New Mexico wins: 35%.
Florida is playing really well. Ohio has poor defensive numbers for the season. This one could get out of hand.
Wisconsin plays good defense, but struggles to score against everyone other than Iowa. Northern Iowa is average at best defensively, but they've scored against everybody they've played. NORTHERN IOWA TO WIN AT +280 and OVER 126.
Bucknell won't manage 65 points against Kansas. It might be the last ugly win of the year for the Jayhawks.
NC State is bad defensively. Charlotte's worse. Potentially a rare low-possession yet high-scoring game.
UConn's strengths are field goal percentage defense and rebounding. They might not score enough to put Central Florida away early, but there's little danger they'll lose. CENTRAL FLORIDA +18.
Iowa State's matchup zone will slow North Carolina down but not enough to make a difference.
Before the season started Jay Wright might have made the short list of coaches I thought were even worse than Billy Donovan. Both have had good years, but Villanova has been maddeningly inconsistent. Florida may be the best defensive team in the tournament.
Kansas would have few problems with Wisconsin. Northern Iowa is dangerous, especially if Langford's mobility is seriously limited.
UConn will take NC State apart.
Okay, here's how it's going to work in Syracuse: CBS will hype the potential Kansas-North Carolina in an increasingly annoying passive-aggressive manner ("You don't want to look ahead this time of year, blah blah blah.") until neither team plays in the regional final then Nantz will beat us over the head (and ignore the Florida/UConn game) with this gem: "Who would have thought that neither Kansas or North Carolina would be in this game?" I did, Jim. I also believe you want to have sex with Fred Couples.
At the end of the day, in an extremely even matchup, I can't bring myself to pick Billy Donovan and Matt Walsh. UConn over Florida in the ugliest regional final since Kansas-Syracuse '96.